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Projected nursing shortage drops as nursing leaders and AARP support passage of Question 4

The Maine Nursing Action Coalition (MeNAC) announced Oct. 24 an update to its nursing workforce forecast that reflects an increase in the number of new license-eligible students graduating from the state’s nursing education programs.  The increase in nursing graduates reduces the projected shortage of RNs in Maine from 3,200 to 2,700 by the year 2025.

Maine’s nursing programs were producing 650 new license-eligible nursing students when MeNAC produced its first nursing workforce forecast. To overcome projected shortages the state’s healthcare leaders set a goal of increasing license-eligible graduates by 400 annually.  The 800 graduates produced by the state’s nursing programs last year is an increase of 150 graduates, 38% of the goal of graduating 400 more license-eligible nurses annually.  

“Through hard work and partnership with our universities, colleges, and healthcare providers we are making good progress toward our nursing education goals,” said Lisa Harvey-McPherson, Co-Chair of the Maine Nursing Action Coalition.  “The response has been excellent but we still must innovate and invest to make sure Maine has the nursing workforce we need to care for our aging population.”

Follow this link for more details on the MeNAC nursing workforce projections.

The University of Maine System has been a leader in addressing the state’s nursing cliff and unveiled the Maine University Nursing Workforce Plan in September of 2018 that commits to doubling nursing enrollment, expanding nursing programs into high-need regions, and providing free nursing education (tuition and mandatory fees covered) to qualifying students with the greatest financial need.  

“In close consultation with our healthcare partners and our nursing faculty Maine’s universities have developed a nursing workforce plan that will establish a coordinated, statewide continuum of nursing education and student support,” said Glenn Cummings, President of the University of Southern Maine.  “Working together we are expanding access and educating the nurses our communities need to preserve quality healthcare throughout the state.”

The plan includes $12 million in investments pending passage of Question 4, the University Workforce Bond, this November.  Nursing industry leaders and AARP Maine took part in the announcement updating the nursing forecast to urge passage of Question 4 to continue Maine’s progress to meeting its nursing workforce needs.

“Maine’s nursing leaders have been working closely with our public universities to increase access to nursing education,” said Peggy McRae, President of OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine.  “We strongly support the Maine University Nursing Workforce Plan and endorse the proposed investments in Question 4.”   

“The American Nurses Association-Maine represents more than 25,000 nurses across the state who share a commitment to delivering high quality care to the people of Maine,” said Catherine Snow, President of ANA-Maine. “We must grow our numbers to replace the wave of nurses approaching retirement and to meet the growing demand for care.  We enthusiastically support and fully endorse the innovations and investments in the university nursing plan and urge the people of Maine to vote yes on Question 4!”

“As our population ages and requires more complex healthcare, we are facing an alarming nursing shortage,” said Amy Gallant, Advocacy Director of AARP Maine.  “We thank the University of Maine System for its leadership on the nursing crisis and urge our 230,000 members and all Maine voters to support Question 4 on the November ballot.”