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Northern Light Health program pays nurses for school to combat the shortage

Northern Light EMMC in Bangor's RN Sponsorship Program helps pay for last 2 years of nursing school with the commitment of working for the hospital upon graduation

BANGOR, Maine — In an effort to help fill the gap of nurses throughout the state, one hospital in Bangor found a way to help nursing students finish their careers and immediately get a job upon graduating.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor recently graduated nine nurses from its RN Sponsorship Program.

The hospital is using the program as an incentive to help pay for the last two years of nursing school but also as a way to recruit more nurses and help combat the shortage. Upon graduating, students are committed to working for the hospital in Bangor for at least five years.

The program accepts 10 nurses every six months.

"Not only do we help pay for tuition for the last two years of nursing school for these students to help alleviate that financial piece of it, but we also give them real-life work experience to get a position here at the medical center with benefits," said Stacey Coventry, director of volunteer and community development services at the hospital.

Aspiring nurse Moriah Bragg recently graduated from Eastern Maine Community College through the hospital's RN Sponsorship Program.

"It was great having the opportunity to work as well as taking what I'm having in class and being able to put it in perspective," Bragg said. "It made it possible for me to be able to take classes, prepare, and do my homework as well as take care of my family."

In order to qualify:

  • Nursing students need to be enrolled in an accredited nursing program
  • Students must be in their last two years of school
  • Have and keep at 3.0 GPA
  • Have references
  • Submit a cover letter
  • A statement of financial impact that the sponsorship would have for the student

According to Vice President of Nursing and Patient Care Services at Eastern Maine Medical Center Deb Sanford, one of the most important requirements to have is personality, kindness, and compassion.

"It really is vital to make sure that we not only have enough nurses to meet the demand of the patients, but we want to be able to give good quality care," she Coventry.

One of the board members of the Maine State Nurses Association tells NEWS CENTER Maine there is not really a shortage of registered nurses but there is a shortage of nurses who are willing to work under the current conditions hospitals are in. 

Many claim they don't have the tools and resources needed to safely and effectively take care of the number of patients given to them.

For information about the RN Sponsorship Program, call Stacey Coventry at 207-973-7851.