Building a strong foundation at PDCCC

Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There will be, perhaps, no better time to be in the health care field than during the next few decades. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, the Baby Boomer population is set to have another significant impact on the nation’s demographics during that period.

By the year 2030, the population of Americans aged 65 or older will increase to 72.1 million, more than twice the number in 2000. That age group will represent 19 percent of the population then, compared to 12.9 percent in 2009. Even more significant, from a public health standpoint, is the prediction that the number of Americans aged 80 and older will more than double from its 2000 level, to 19.5 million in 2030.

As expected lifespans continue to increase through that period, the need for quality medical care will grow, as well. That fact makes quality medical training more important than it has ever been in modern times, as more health care professionals will be needed to care for an aging population. Considering the need for well-trained medical professionals, this year’s announcement of the end of the Obici Hospital School of Practical Nursing was especially painful for Suffolk and the rest of Western Tidewater.

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But officials at Paul D. Camp Community College are working to fill the gap. The college is well on the way toward realizing a plan to open a new school of practical nursing on its Suffolk and Franklin campuses. The college has received $129,000 from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to begin planning an LPN program.

The process is a long one, and there are many hurdles yet to cross — it will require a new curriculum and approvals from a variety of college and medical boards, for instance. Still, people in Western Tidewater who want to find a convenient place to learn the skills they will need to participate in the coming health care boom now have good reason to hope for help.

And the program will lay yet another brick in the foundation of quality education that Paul D. Camp Community College provides to this community.