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Beal College Mitigates Healthcare Crisis with New Nursing Program

It is very clear the Maine is in need of registered nurses (RNs). The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that the need for skilled nurses will grow exponentially in the next several years. Already, some Maine healthcare organizations have tried attracting nurses through unconventional means, such as bringing in nurses from other countries or utilizing military veterans’ experience in lieu of regular nursing coursework. We are facing a crisis that only a new generation of healthcare workers can solve.

Beal College, located in Bangor, ME, recently stepped up their efforts to solve our community’s healthcare dilemma. They saw a need and put in the work: they opened a new nursing program.

Details About the Nursing Program

Beal College’s 20-month nursing program will prepare students to become skilled and compassionate Registered Nurses. These students will graduate as entry-level Associate’s Degree practitioners able to provide holistic nursing care to a range of patients and their families. These RNs will be trained in a variety of acute care, long-term care, and community health general knowledge.

According to Beal College’s website, their Nursing Associate’s Degree program is designed to foster the clinical reasoning, problem-solving, compassionate understanding, and lifelong-learning skills nurses need to thrive in today’s medical climate. Students will enroll in both nursing-specific and general education courses to provide a solid foundation of skills to use during the course of their careers. Courses include:

  • Introduction to Foundational Nursing Concepts
  • Pharmacology
  • Introduction to Maternal-Child Nursing Concepts
  • Nursing Concepts Across the Life Span
  • Introduction to Mental Health Nursing Concepts
  • AND Transition to Nursing PRactice
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology

If you are interested in seeing if Beal’s nursing program is a good personal fit, consider booking a tour at their Bangor campus.

Setting a Standard

While many Maine colleges and universities offer healthcare professional degrees, there are still many that do not. Beal College is setting an important standard in the push for more healthcare professionals in the Pine Tree State. Nurses who complete training from Beal College’s program can work in a range of specializations, including critical care, emergency, gerontology, hospice, pediatrics, neonatology, psychiatry, community health, and more, providing critical support to any range of Maine healthcare providers. We can only hope that additional higher education institutions follow suit.

Additional Maine Health Resource Organizations

There are a lot of strategies out there for addressing our state’s healthcare crisis. We can provide incentives for healthcare professionals to live here. We can fund new nursing programs. But the first step toward helping Maine meet its health workforce needs is to promote the organizations that already exist. These development nonprofits and parts of the government are already doing the work. If you can, consider supporting any of these organizations, either through financial donations or vounteer work.

Maine Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration – Established in the 1960’s, this professional organization is devoted to the continuing development of healthcare human resource managers and workers. They participate in statewide initiatives that plan and address healthcare workforce shortage and collaborate with others organizations to advocate on both state and national levels. The MSHHRA also provides joint educational programming with other professional organizations.

Maine Public Health Association – This organization is devoted to healthcare professional development. Through periodic webinars, conferences, and online professional and personal resources, the MPHA supports Maine’s healthcare workers through advocacy and continuing education. This is also a great resource for those who want to begin a career in healthcare but don’t know which Maine colleges and universities provide public health degrees.

Maine Behavioral Health Workforce Development Collaborative – The MBHWDC connects Maine’s mental healthcare professionals with future career opportunities. Their goal is to help mental health professional enhance their skills and knowledge to better serve the residents and people of Maine. They offer educational programs, both in-person and online, and partnerships with other organizations.

Maine’s Department of Labor Workforce Development Initiative – The state’s Department of Labor is helping improve opportunities for workers through workforce development. This is an excellent place to start if you are considering a career in healthcare. The DoL website provides resources for on-the-job training, policy initiatives, and information about accessing higher education opportunities.

MaineHealth – A non-profit organization, MaineHealth is recognized as one of the nation’s top integrated healthcare delivery networks. They maintain a Center for Workforce Development, which works to strength the state’s healthcare community while creating opportunities for employment and growth. The initiative provides educational opportunities, forges career paths for young people, and promotes employment opportunities within the Maine communities they serve.

Maine Hospital Association – The MHA provides healthcare leadership through advocacy, information, and education to support its members. Importantly, they understand the current qualified staff shortage, pointing out that the shortages are particularly acute in clinical staff. The organization is working to identify and address the nature and severity of these shortages. Their plan is to create a concrete, targeted response to the healthcare crisis through workforce initiatives.

Welcome to the New Maine Health Workforce Forum

The Maine Health Workforce Forum is an effort to continue the dialogue initiated by the Maine legislature. Back in 2005, the state established this organization to evaluate and make policy recommendations due to the projected labor shortage of qualified health professionals. Flash forward to 2019 and this role has reverted back to Maine’s Department of Labor Workforce Development. That doesn’t mean the need for dedicated efforts toward the state’s healthcare workforce has vanished. The projected shortage in the state’s health workforce has, indeed, come to fruition and doesn’t look any better five, ten, twenty years into the future.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the healthcare industry as a whole has found a way to get more productivity out of our health workforce through upgrades to recordkeeping, medical supply and technology, and other infrastructure—while reducing dependence on hospital facilities. These gains, though important, can’t continue forever. At some point, we really are going to have to find a way to get more people into the state’s health workforce or else we face serious deficits in our standard of care. Things that patients currently expect will become inaccessible. Serious, even deadly, consequences are inevitable.

We’ll lose lives. Our health will suffer. Doctors and nurses will be put in increasingly impossible situations. Some of this is likely inevitable, but it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. It could be better, but it could be worse. The Maine Health Workforce Forum is back in a new form and ready to figure out what we can do to make things better.

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