Valley Regional CEO Addresses CTE Advisory Board

by Ronnie Zamora/LFCISD

The need for health care workers has become critical, Valley Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Art Garza told the Los Fresnos CISD Career and Technical Education Advisory Board Tuesday.

CE Director Ronnie Rodriguez gave the board an update about the internship program, classes with Texas Southmost College, the JET Grant, and CTE on Tour at Olmito Elementary School.

The CTE Advisory Board is made up of business partners in the Los Fresnos and Brownsville areas, Los Fresnos High School teachers and administrators, and three students from each of nine CTE programs at LFHS.

Garza, who has been CEO of VRMC since 2015, received his associate degree in radiologic technology at Texas Southmost College in 1990. He later earned his Bachelor of Science degree at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston which helped him moved up the health care ladder.

“I am the most determined person any of you will ever meet,” Garza said, directing his comments to the students.

“I do not know how to give up. You will have the same adversity. You must be persistent. You are here right now because you are a leader in the student body. There’s no reason that you can’t do what you want to do unless you stop yourself.”

He provided some bold statistics regarding the shortage of health care workers in the U.S. by the year 2025:

Home health aides: 446,300

Medical and lab technologists and technicians: 98,700

Nursing assistants: 95,000

Nurse practitioners: 29,400

“These facts are very sobering, Garza said. “We’re going to need so many more health care workers.”

Garza told the group that the U.S. will need to hire 2.3 million new health care workers by 2025 to adequately take care of its aging population.

“Physicians and surgeons are already stretched thin. By 2025, there will be nearly 103,000 new openings for these positions and a shortage of 11,000 skilled professionals for these roles.”

Garza provided a survey of annual wages for registered nurses in the Gulf Coast region which showed the following salaries:

Entry-level RNs: $59,509

Median: $76,190

Experienced: $86,133

“All of these positions are in demand,” Garza said.

“I knew that if I landed a job in health care, I would never be jobless or never be hungry. We’re at a huge crisis. The fact that there are not enough nurses or techs, or therapists, pharmacists or doctors for that matter, affect the way we do business.”

Garza had some words of advice for the students in the audience: “Sometimes there are no instructional manuals. Set your moral compass and don’t stray. Who you are today isn’t who you will be tomorrow.”

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