In last Friday's editorial, we wrote about the holes in Payson's economic engine -- namely the need for training of skilled employees and the creation of high-paying jobs that offer opportunities for career advancement.
While mentioning this need, it would be remiss of us not to mention the steps our local health care industry has already taken to do both.
In honor of National Nurses Week, the Payson Regional Medical Center has been collecting nominations from patients for Nurse of the Year. The award will be given on Thursday at the hospital and will be recognized nationally by the main office. Patient Choice nomination forms are available year-round at the hospital.
And there is no better time than the present. Officially, May 6 through May 12 is National Nurses Week. The week begins annually on May 6, known as National Nurses Day, and continues through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale -- the founder of nursing, as we know it today.
During this week, Gila Community College will graduate its first class of nurses on Wednesday.
With that graduation, seven qualified nurses will enter the local work force in a necessary profession, in one of the fastest-growing industries in our area -- health care.
We would like to take a moment, during National Nurses Week, to commend the college for its efforts in the creation of this program.
The culmination of the college's efforts coincides with the grand opening of the Gracie Lee Haught Education Resource Center of Payson Regional Medical Center.
On April 25, a ribbon was cut and the doors to the health care education center were opened to the public.
The center was built in a former doctor's office, at 803 S. Ponderosa, near the hospital.
The walls are painted with colorful, uplifting murals and the rooms are each equipped with state-of-the-art training equipment.
A nursing student can practice everything from performing tracheotomies, to the installation of stomach feeding tubes, to placing a catheter in the fully functioning mannequins.
The center also has an equally advanced baby mannequin for pediatric nurses in training.
For a town this size to have such a facility is something in which we should all take pride.
The Gracie Lee Haught Education Resource Center is not just for nursing students. There are also meeting rooms, built for the purpose of community education on subjects of health.
There is a nationwide nursing shortage.
Hospitals everywhere are struggling to meet a need. Our community can be held up as an example of a town solving its own problems.
The college and hospital is a leader, both as an example for small towns across the United States who are struggling to find enough nurses and for other local industries who lack a skilled work force.
Anyone interested in more information about a career in nursing should call Lynn Sommars at (928) 472-1256.