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Husson University offers online nursing program to help address Maine's health care needs

"Husson is really putting all their resources into nursing education right now," Husson's chief nursing administrator said.

BANGOR, Maine — Husson University is taking a different approach for one of its nursing programs, now offering an online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program for working nurses and students.

The idea is to help registered nurses stay on the job, while conveniently earning the credits they need for a degree.

"Wherever they live and work is where we're gonna be doing clinicals with them," Husson's chief nursing administrator, Dr. Valerie Sauda, said.

The new online nursing program is intended to boost and maintain Maine's nursing workforce while also training those who will teach the state's future nurses.

"People like myself, I see the retirement coming, so it's important that we have enough nurses to fill not only the bedside and the direct care needs of the state, but we also have a significant shortage of educators," Sauda explained.

Hospitals across the country, as well as across Maine, are struggling to find the nurses they need. In 2025, Maine is projected to be short 1,450 registered nurses, according to a report from the Maine Nursing Action Coalition and the Maine Hospital Association.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has closed beds due to short staffing, according to Chris Laird, EMMC's associate vice president for nursing operations.

Laird said he believes Husson's new, more flexible online program is a step in the right direction to address the state's needs.

"Being able to recruit staff and make sure that we have those beds available for people to come in so that we can help support the community, I think that's one of our big missions," Laird said. "Being able to recruit more and bring more nurses into the profession is something that will help us."

In an effort to make the online degree affordable, nurses who work and live in Maine will get a $338 per credit hour tuition rate. That's in comparison to $398, the standard online course cost.

Sauda said applications for the program are now open, and the courses will begin at the start of the spring semester in January.

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