Seward said he was happy to speak with the 27-student class about rural healthcare and the unique challenges it entails. He said he spoke about some of the recent initiatives that have helped improve healthcare in the community and other rural healthcare topics. These include a Telemedicine and Mobile Health Technology Fund Initiative that recently received grant funding, school-based healthcare centers, critical access hospitals and a greater use of nurse practitioners in the area, he said.
Turick-Gibson said Seward mentioned the healthcare-provider shortage in the area, asking ‘how can we get them here?’ and ‘how can we get them to stay here?”
Seward said he was encouraged by the class overall and the enthusiasm of the students.
“We’re fortunate in this area to have several great hospitals,” Seward said. “Hopefully some of the students I spoke to will choose to stay around this area and practice. There is a lot of opportunity, as nurses are so critical to healthcare, whether it’s in a hospital or at-home care.”
Turick-Gibson said at least a quarter of her class, made up primarily of juniors, is from the local area, with the remainder hailing from the Albany region and New Jersey. Hartwick nursing graduates often stay in the area because they like the region, Turick-Gibson said, and work at Bassett Medical Center because they are familiar with the system.
Turick-Gibson, who is from downstate, said wherever her students end up, they will likely have patients from rural areas. She said she once had a Roscoe woman get treatment at a facility downstate where she worked.
“You need to understand the patterns, backgrounds and beliefs of a culture before you can treat them,” Turick-Gibson said. “It is important to have that perspective.”