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Sponsorship program pays nurses to go to school

Northern Light EMMC taking applications now.
Nursing students get help while learning.
Nursing students get help while learning.
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 3:55 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Maine has a need for nurses that’s only going to grow in the years ahead.

In an effort to reverse that trend, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has launched a program that makes finishing your education much easier.

“We’ve known for a little while here that Maine was going to face a shortage of nurses, so we’ve been trying to attack that from every angle possible,” explained V.P. of Human Resources, Ali Worster.

One angle is their RN Sponsorship program, that has weekly requirements.

“It pays for 24 hours of time for the individual to go to school and to study and to really immerse themselves in their studies as well as a full scholarship for those last two years,” said Worster. “And then they work for us for 16 hours so they have full-time employment, full-time benefits, and they are only committed to working for us for those 16 hours for the last two years of nursing school.”

You have to already be enrolled in a nursing program and within two years of graduating. You also have to commit to working for Northern Light for five years.

“I do have a family at home and bills to pay,” said Morgan Russell, who just finished the program. “The clinical hours is a lot to try to fill on top of working full-time, so I figured I might as well try my best and apply to the sponsorship. It has been such a great opportunity for me since. It is so worth the five year commitment. There are a lot of smaller hospitals around our area, but for the experience you get at Eastern Maine, it’s definitely worth the five years. I already worked there five years as a CNA, and it’s gone by so fast, so definitely apply to the sponsorship.”

They want to educate and keep good people. It’s estimated that by 2025, Maine will have a shortage of more than three thousand nurses.

“3,000 nurses just for reference would be the total amount of nurses that work at Eastern Maine Medical Center and Maine Med put together,” said Worster. “That’s a lot when you look at two of the biggest hospitals in the state. If you didn’t have any of those nurses, that’s the deficit that you were looking at. That’s huge. We have an aging population, and we definitely have an increasing demand for care in a higher acuity of our patients, so we need dedicated bedside nurses.”

There are 10 open spots each spring and fall.

They are accepting applications for the fall now.

You can find more information here.

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