Public-private partnership will double nursing program capacity
AUGUSTA, ME – Maine’s community colleges are adding new night and weekend nursing programs, expanding the number of seats available, and ultimately doubling the number of nursing graduates, thanks to $2.5 million in new state funding that is being matched by the state’s two largest healthcare providers.
The new state allocation was included in the supplemental budget signed by Governor Janet Mills on April 20.
“Some of our nursing programs have hundreds of applicants that are turned away because classes are full. At the same time, demand for nurses is at a crisis level. This expansion is key to increasing the number of skilled nurses in Maine,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System (MCCS). “We are so grateful for the state’s investment in nursing, and to our longtime, valued partners, MaineHealth and Northern Light Health.”
The $2.5 million, matched by the healthcare providers, allows Maines’ community colleges to double the number of nursing program graduates from approximately 240 people per year to 480 per year.
Northern Light Health and MaineHealth are matching the state’s $2.5 million.
“Northern Light Health welcomes partnering with the Maine community college nursing programs along with MaineHealth to increase the number of nursing graduates,” Northern Light Health President and CEO Tim Dentry said. “While Maine has made progress increasing nursing education capacity, we continue to be challenged by a shortage of nurses who are needed to meet patient care needs throughout Maine. This immediate action will show results; the most exciting thing is this will open doors to the great profession of nursing to so many people.”
MaineHealth Chief Executive Officer Andy Mueller, M.D., agreed the effort would help.
“These funds to expand the nursing programs in the Maine Community College System are a significant investment in addressing the nursing shortage in our state. Training the next generation of nurses and providing the educational support to help them succeed in this important career path is a win-win for everyone,” Mueller said.
Among the highlights of the planned nursing expansion:
- Central Maine Community College: Adding 40 new nursing students annually, by using the existing lab space on nights and weekends. Hiring eight new nursing faculty, simulation tech and simulation coordinator positions.
- Eastern Maine Community College: Adding 12 new students at WCCC, up to 12 new students at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, and another 24 new students in expanded summer start and evening programs. Hiring two full-time faculty, two adjunct faculty, and simulation lab staff. Purchasing equipment.
- Kennebec Valley Community College: Adding eight new students in fall 2022, and an additional eight students in fall 2023, for a total of 56 seats. Hiring additional faculty and a clinical coordinator.
- Northern Maine Community College: Adding eight new students in 2022-2023, and an additional eight students in 2023-2024, for a total of 48 seats. Hiring additional nursing faculty members, a simulation operations specialist, and purchasing additional equipment for the simulation laboratory. Adding support for students to increase retention.
- Southern Maine Community College: Adding 42 new students in a new evening nursing program at the South Portland campus, and hiring six new nursing instructors. Doubling nursing capacity at the Midcoast Campus in Brunswick, with a new nursing cohort starting every year instead of every other year.
- Washington County Community College: Building a new WCCC nursing program while partnering with EMCC to provide an opportunity for a cohort of 12 students starting next academic year. Hiring at least two new nursing instructors, and immediately adding a new health occupational certificate program to prepare future nursing students to enter the new WCCC program. The new nursing program anticipated launch date is 2023 at the Calais location.
- York County Community College: Launching new nursing program with 32 seats in fall 2022. Hiring four full-time faculty. The nursing programs at Maine’s community colleges are top-ranked, with EMCC recently ranked as #2 in the Northeast for two-year nursing programs by NursingProcess.org. Our colleges consistently post among the highest pass rates on the NCLEX, the national licensing exam. The seven colleges also offer many other healthcare programs, training medical assistants, physical therapy assistants, community mental health workers, child care and gerontology specialists, front-office staff, and more.
The nursing programs at Maine’s community colleges are top-ranked, with EMCC recently ranked as #2 in the Northeast for two-year nursing programs by NursingProcess.org. Our colleges consistently post among the highest pass rates on the NCLEX, the national licensing exam. The seven colleges also offer many other healthcare programs, training medical assistants, physical therapy assistants, community mental health workers, child care and gerontology specialists, front-office staff, and more.