As we’re quickly approaching two years since the pandemic hit southwest Oklahoma, hospitals across the nation are still dealing with the virus daily, and that’s taking a toll, causing a nursing shortage.

Melissa Alvillar, Chief Nursing Officer at CCMH, said they’re holding a job fair on Thursday so they can hopefully get more nurses.

“We need to get out there and really start gathering people up that are interested in health care and aren’t sure what they want to do when they grow up,” Alvillar said.

Heather Love, Administrative Director of Quality, Safety, Risk, and Education at CCMH, said the job fair is for new graduates, those who’ve been out of health care and want to come back, and those who want to learn about getting into the industry.

“What we’re trying to do is bring people awareness about all the different jobs and career opportunities that are available in health care,” Love said. “And they can actually come this Thursday, March 3rd, 4-6, and they can actually do an on-the-spot job interview if they’d like to.”

Each department at CCMH will have booths set up so people can come and talk directly to those who work in the unit.

“And they will be able to share with the individual what that unit does,” Love said. “So, for an example, if it’s 2 South, they would be able to share that’s a medical-surgical floor. Also, an oncology floor. So, they’d be able to give them particular information about the positions that are open at that unit.”

Alvillar said you don’t have to be a nurse or enrolled in a nursing program to come because they have other positions available as well.

“There is a lot of opportunities to start out your career in health care,” Alvillar said. “And then our hope, our goal, is to help grow you into the different levels. Into the LPN program, into the RN program, into a bachelors degree and so on and so forth.”

She said she knows what it’s like to slowly work your way up and continue your education as she started as a CNA and is now the Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital.

“It’s taken time,” Alvillar said. “And I’d say I’ve taken the long road, but I’ve had good support along the way, and that is what CCMH is here to do. To support you to meet your goals and your dreams.”

Alvillar encourages people to come to the job fair and learn about the different support opportunities they offer to help you continue to get your education. Again, it’s happening this Thursday, March 3, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lawton.