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When looking to begin a career as a nurse, it’s helpful to understand some of the issues different medical services face. Depending on the type of medical facilities available in their jurisdiction, nurses can find themselves surrounded by varying levels of external support.
With a baby born every four minutes in Ohio’s medical system, exploring how to become a neonatal nurse is a fantastic way to give back to the community, and to support the Ohio medical system. Let’s explore this vital piece of Cleveland infrastructure, and how it supports the nearly twelve million residents that call Ohio home.
How Big is Ohio’s Medical System?
As the seventh most populous state in the United States, Ohio has an extensive healthcare system. According to information provided by the Ohio Hospital Association, there are more than 230 hospitals and 14 health systems across Ohio.
Of these hospitals, there are approximately 30 separate neonatal units, each having the specialist equipment and staff to take care of babies that are ill, or born prematurely. Each neonatal ward is classified, from Level I to Level IV, based on the age and health of babies born.
Most Ohio neonatal wards offer Level III care - with the capacity for intensive care for babies born up to ten weeks premature, up to those that are born healthy. In Ohio’s medical system, this means that most Ohio neonatal wards can offer respiratory support for babies that are born very early, and for the most part, babies don’t need to be transferred between facilities.
However, should the case arise that there are complex additional needs for an infant - that being they were born up to four months premature or were incredibly small babies. Ohio does have several Level IV NICU facilities that can provide extraordinary levels of care when required.
What Are The Strengths of Ohio’s Medical System?
There are a number of strengths to Ohio’s medical system. With a wide catchment area and a range of hospitals, there are a large number of facilities available for the care of complex and difficult health conditions.
Some of the benefits of the Ohio medical system include:
- Improvements in the mental health care space: An increase in the supply of mental health care providers in recent years has improved the capability of state-based facilities to help when Ohioans are experiencing mental distress.
- Improvements in food insecurity levels over the past decade: with programs such as the Dublin Food Pantry and Children’s Hunger Alliance, Ohio has made headways in ensuring all Ohioans have a full belly and enough to eat.
- A low proportion of households experiencing severe housing distress: recent studies by the Joint Centre for Housing Studies, of Harvard University, found that there was a lower proportion of Ohioan households experience housing distress than most other US states.
What Are The Key Health Challenges in Ohio?
That being said, while there have been many successes in the healthcare system in Ohio, significant challenges still remain, many of which can have impacts on the neonatal nursing space. Some of these include:
- High rates of multiple chronic conditions: With more than one million people diagnosed with diabetes in Ohio, and an obesity rate rushing towards 50%, it’s becoming increasingly rare that expectant parents in Ohio hospital wards are entirely condition-free. It’s important to consider the impacts of complications on the potential health of a newborn - and ensure parents and carers know who to call when help is required.
- High prevalence of cigarette smoking: With an adult smoking rate approaching 19%, and nearly 4% above the national average, it’s clear that smoking has a significant impact on the lives of Ohioans, whether or not they smoke themselves. With smoking raising the likelihood of defects such as a cleft palate at birth, smoking remains a challenge for the neonatal nursing wards of Ohio.
Ohio: Investing in The Future of Healthcare
While conditions may seem grim, Ohio is doing a lot to improve the quality of its healthcare - in particular, making strident steps to invest in future technologies to drive innovation in the Ohio healthcare sector.
In recent years, Ohio has led the Midwest in capital investment in healthcare - in fact, many leading companies in the industry have significant operational capacity in the state, including companies such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Abbott.
With Ohio’s highly rated hospital system, and an industry that thrives on entrepreneurialism and getting towards the cutting edge of medical technology, Ohio is positioning itself as a current and future leader in healthcare in the United States.
Additionally, Ohio finds itself well supported with investment by both governments and the private sector towards new and improved hospital developments. These include projects such as investing $400 million into the expansion of Grant Medical Centre, as well as an investment of $90 million to help enhance medical health and addiction facility support.
No matter whether you’re looking to become a nurse, or just live in Ohio, it’s a fascinating time to be an Ohioan in today’s rapidly growing healthcare sector.