One partnership is working to bring more nurses into the field

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - With all types of jobs facing shortages throughout the pandemic, one healthcare provider and one nursing school have been making some changes.

Northern Light Health and the University of Maine’s nursing school have partnered up to help nursing students find jobs after school.

UMaine noticed a trend where many nursing students were being considered through a rigid admissions process, so this partnership is helping to change that.

“Our concern was that we were blocking opportunities with this very rigid, archaic admission criteria to students across our state, especially students from rural areas or students who are the first students in their family to go to college. So, we were awarded a $1.7 million HERSA grant in collaboration with Northern Light Health, to diversify our student population,” said Kelley Strout, director of UMaine’s School of Nursing.

In addition to diversifying the student population, the program is seeing students to the graduation stage through an immersive process including peer support, focus on health and well-being, learning stress-reducing techniques.

“If you bring in a more diverse student body, you really have to think long term about how you’re supporting your success. So, with this grant, and along with another grant, we were awarded in 2022 to reduce burnout in nursing students, faculty and staff and increased resilience. We have created a comprehensive program that supports students from the second they walked through the door, and we found that this program has significantly reduced perceived stress increased satisfaction with life, and increased mindfulness and among our students and staff,” Kelley added.

Nicholas Powers is a Millinocket native, who graduated from UMaine’s nursing school about a year ago and is now a registered nurse in Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Working closely with Northern Light Health throughout his time at UMaine made his transition to a career a smooth one.

“I felt very supported, definitely. I could rely on my professors at the university to help me and figure out where I wanted to go with my career and the team at Northern Light, especially in the NICU is like, fabulous. It’s the best environment that I’ve been in. I’ve been in a bunch of different clinical settings, but this is definitely the most supportive and welcoming,” Powers said.