CoxHealth seeks help from college, high school students amid COVID-19 surge

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 11:40 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2022 at 10:30 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - CoxHealth is calling for help from college and high school students amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The health system is now offering temporary support positions designed for college students in health care programs, in addition to various work opportunities for high school students.

Temporary positions may include responsibilities such as passing food trays, answering call lights, taking vital signs and ambulating patients.

CoxHealth says the roles will offer the chance for students to get paid experience in health care while filling critical clinical and non-clinical support positions amid pandemic-related staffing concerns.

“We are experiencing high volumes at all of our campuses due to COVID-19, and these student positions will provide support to our staff as they continue to care for our patients,” says Andrew Hedgpeth, VP of Human Resources. “Students will have the opportunity to gain experience while caring for our community during this urgent time of need.”

The opportunities will also help take some workload off of workers who are exhausted.

“We have a number of employees that have been working really hard hours for us for quite some time and the opportunity arose to create some new positions that would essentially support our caregivers,” said Hedgpeth. “It really gives them a golden opportunity to get a foot in the door for a great employer who is doing great things for our community.”

As of Friday, CoxHealth hospitals were treating 140 COVID-19 patients. The health system has reported seven deaths over the last seven days and hospitalizations have more than doubled over the last four weeks.

During previous surges, like one CoxHealth experienced last summer from the Delta variant, hospitals received help from traveling physicians. However, CEO Steve Edwards says that is no longer an option since Missouri ended its pandemic-related state of emergency declaration at the end of 2021.

Last weekend, Edwards noted that CoxHealth hospitals are bracing for another wave of COVID-19 patients over the next 4-6 weeks. He projects the health system could see anywhere from 220-320 patients at the peak of this current surge.

The health care student support roles are temporary support positions designed for health care students in an effort to combat such trends. Students will receive specialized training related to their responsibilities.

Positions with various shifts and flexible scheduling are available at all of CoxHealth’s hospital campuses in Springfield, Branson, Monett and Lamar.

College students can CLICK HERE or text “student” to 417-269-5627 for more information on temporary roles.

High school students can CLICK HERE or text “unit” to 417-269-5627 for more information on temporary roles.

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