Nurses are essential to the care provided by Maine Medical Center (MMC) — without enough of these trained professionals, the healthcare system would come to a standstill.
Only a few years from now, Maine is projected to be short 3,200 registered nurses. We are already feeling the pinch of this shortage at MMC, primarily in more specialized roles like labor and delivery, the intensive care unit, operating rooms, and the emergency department.
The causes of the shortage are complex:
- A surge of demand caused by our aging population and the prevalence of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease
- A greater focus on preventive and primary care
- The approaching retirement of nurses, the limited supply of nursing faculty, and fewer new nurses graduating
Reimagining nursing education
Maine Medical Center is actively engaged in tackling the state’s nursing shortage with a multi-pronged strategy:
- Facilitating increased nursing school enrollment
- Recruiting new nurses
- Retaining and advancing our current caregivers through awarding nursing scholarships.
One example of partnering with nursing schools is through St. Joseph’s College, where we are increasing their capacity by overseeing the entire curriculum for cohorts of students. In return, MMC employees can earn their nursing degree on an accelerated timeline and at significantly reduced tuition — paying about 30% of a regular student’s total cost per year.
Senior nurses at MMC are encouraged to dually serve as clinical faculty members, spending half their time treating patients and half their time teaching the next generation of caregivers.
Focusing on higher-end specialties in undergraduate training creates nurses who are ready to work as soon as they graduate.
Offering premier clinical training here in Maine
Clinical placements are essential: they provide the opportunity for students to gain practical experiences with patients of all ages and acuities. Small groups of nursing students complete clinical rotations under the instruction of a clinical faculty member. By their senior year, students complete an intensive 200-hour practicum requirement mentored one-on-one by a nursing preceptor.
MMC’s clinical training partnerships are essential to sustaining the nursing education ecosystem here in Maine and northern New England. Our established nurses can grow professionally and serve as faculty and clinical preceptors — and we can attract and recruit stellar graduates to begin their careers right here at MMC.
Deepening our commitment to nursing scholarships
Our nursing scholarship program is crucial to ensure that Maine Medical Center is fully staffed with qualified nurses in order to provide excellent health care for our community. A nursing degree – even with reduced tuition – remains a daunting sum for entry-level clinical employees on modest salaries. That’s why we continue to expand our nursing scholarship program to help defray these costs. The easier it is for a member of our cleaning staff to become a certified nursing assistant, for a CNA to become a nurse, and for a nurse to become a graduate-level trained nurse practitioner or a nursing educator, the better it will be for patients at Maine Medical Center.
To support these sustainable approaches to address Maine’s healthcare workforce shortage and protect the quality of care patients deserve, please contact us today.