With a nationwide health care worker shortage, Upstate Medical University is trying to help with its Jump Into Healthcare program.

“I’m just trying to get me a good career in health care honestly," said Courtney Everson, a student in the Jump Into Healthcare program. 

As she pursues a career in health care, she says her passion for it wouldn’t exist without her mom.

“She passed away eight years ago from lung cancer, but she always was a giving person or always helping people, whether it was feeding them or stuff like that," she said.

During a devastating time, Everson says her mom’s health care group made a big impact on her.

“They would come to the waiting room, try to make us comfortable, and make my mother comfortable," said Everson. "That kind of added to my want to be in health care. I want to do it for somebody else.”

But she’s torn between two different careers.

“I want to be able to do all type of imaging," she said. "So x-rays, MRIs, CTs, but I did another emergent program with Upstate and OCC in February. And it kind of got me interested in respiratory therapy. So I’m rocking back and forth."

Respiratory therapy brings Everson closer to her mom, but medical imaging is astonishing to her.

“[There were] a lot of respiratory therapists that had to deal with my mother," Everson said. "Obviously it was breathing issues, she had a collapsed lung. Medical imaging, I love the imaging. I just like the way it look how you can see inside the body, it’s just awesome and I just want a part of it."

As the head of the program, Katherine Beissner hopes to inspire students by showing them all sorts of healthcare careers. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges the United States projects to face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034.

“This is really intended specifically to address the workforce challenge and to broaden interest across the entire scope of health professions," said Beissner. "What we do is we expose them to these different professions in context. So in the context of how they would encounter these professions over the course of the patient's experience in a hospital or other clinical setting.”

As Everson keeps her mom’s legacy going, this program gets her one step closer to her goal while strengthening the workforce.

“Yeah I think this is great," she said. "At some point, we’re all going to be in some department of health care and we need it all across the board.”