The veteran community is eager to see how a group of dedicated doctors and nurses who were trained to care for veterans can work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help veterans get their own medical care.
Dr. Eric Riesman, the executive director of Veterans Choice, said the organization is looking to work with doctors and nursing homes to recruit and train nurses and physicians to work as full-time physicians.
“We want to get to the point where it’s not a matter of waiting around for the VA to hire a person, it’s a matter that they can train somebody to do their job,” Riesmann told Fox News.
Riesman said his organization hopes to have at least 10 to 15 doctors and registered nurses training with the Veterans Choice network by January.
He said it’s unlikely that there would be enough doctors and doctors trained to meet the demand.
Riggsman said the nonprofit, which was founded in January, is already seeing more than 1,200 applications for nurses and doctors to work in the program.
About 50 veterans have been trained as registered nurses at the VA’s medical clinic in Orlando, Florida, and another 50 have been offered positions as registered nurse specialists.
Rigsman said more than 2,000 registered nurses and registered physicians have been signed up at the hospital and in other facilities.
The VA will be hiring a total of about 15,000 full- and part-time workers by the end of the year, Riesmen said.
Ricesman said he expects that number to double by the middle of next year.
He also expects to see an increase in applications to medical clinics.
“It will be a lot more available,” he said.
The veteran community in Florida has expressed a need for a new type of doctor to help patients in the hospital.
Reesman said a doctor who works in a nursing home or in a private clinic, for example, would be better suited for a veterans medical clinic.
Riglesman said while he is hopeful the VA will find a solution for the shortage of doctors, he is skeptical the agency will do it.
“I think it’s too early to say,” he told FoxNews.com.
Roles for nurses have been changing over time, and the VA needs to create a pool of qualified doctors to train doctors to become registered nurses, Riggsman added.
He said the group is looking for candidates to train as nurses and other nursing aides in Orlando.
Riverside County, which includes Orlando, has a shortage of registered nurses that have been hired to train nurses at VA hospitals, but Riesmans office is looking at hiring additional nurses, as well.
Rielands office is recruiting nurses from outside the county and is also looking for nurse interns, he said, adding that he expects to have a backlog of nurses training in the coming months.
Rriesman said there are about 1,400 registered nurses in Riverside County, and about 200 of them are currently in the Orlando VA clinic.
The VA is recruiting people to train in Riverside, he added.
Riedman said VA plans to hire up to 3,000 nurses in the next few months, and Rieserman expects there will be more people trained in the future.
He added that the group expects to hire more nurses in future years, but he said they don’t have an exact number yet.
Riceman said that while the VA may have to raise wages in order to attract and retain the doctors and nurse aides it needs, it is doing a good job.
“They’re getting a lot of people who want to do this work and want to help out, and they’re getting paid,” he added, citing the number of nurses trained.