ST. LOUIS — Staff at Total Access Urgent Care saw 616,000 patients last year. They'd like to see more, but one thing is holding them back: a national staffing shortage.
"I think health care is something that it's just in your blood," Director of Clinical Operations Kelly Baynes said.
A former EMT herself, Baynes now works closely with TAUC's solution for the staff shortage: a new EMT school.
"For somebody to want to come in and into the health care field during a pandemic, you have to really want to help somebody and make a difference."
"I would recommend it to anyone," recent graduate Rachel Brown said.
Another grad, Angela Quinn, said the pandemic did give her pause.
"COVID hit, and I thought 'well, I can't do that quite yet,'" she said with a laugh. "Anybody who knows me would be like 'what are you doing?' because I was so petrified of that. But, in the grand scheme of things, it's about helping people who may be in the situation that I was in."
Baynes said long-standing shortages have been compounded by the pandemic. Now, record positivity rates in the omicron spike are forcing current staff to quarantine.
"We're up to 36.5% [positivity]," she explained. "Our highest rate last year was 35.1%. We have already superseded that [number] for this year. It's definitely a big increase over the past three weeks or so."
Both former TAUC patients, Brown and Quinn are now graduate looking forward to the next transition: employees.
"I'm really excited to get in there and just start helping people, Quinn said.
TUAC is offering full reimbursement on its $1,200 tuition for students who stay on after graduation.