The University of Maryland Medical System on Monday said it launched a $5.1 million recruitment effort to attract nurses and other bedside staff as the pandemic continues to put pressure on medical staffing.
The campaign, called UMMS Community College Tuition Assistance Incentive Program, began in December and is targeted at recent graduate from two-year state schools, the system said in a news release.
"In the spirit of community, we have enhanced our partnerships with community colleges whose health professions programs are an excellent workforce resource. including schools across Maryland and with Delaware Technical Community College," Lisa Rowen, a registered nurse and UMMS senior vice president and chief nurse executive, said in a news release.
Through the program, 300 registered nurses and 300 other clinical positions, like licensed practical nurses, surgical technicians, radiographers, respiratory therapists, certified nursing assistants and patient care technicians, will receive $12,000 and $5,000, respectively, after graduation. To receive the funds, graduates will need to complete hospital orientation, pass applicable licensure tests and agree to stay with the health system for a set period of time: two years for registered nurses and one year for those in other roles, the news release said.
"The demand to fill skilled clinical positions is at an all-time high, and we want to be the employer of choice for community college graduates seeking employment in health professions," Rowen said in the news release. "We are hopeful that these funds will help the graduates cover much of their educational expenses and further differentiate UMMS from other health care employers."
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Over the past year-and-a-half, the University of Maryland Medical System raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour, waived limits on paid time off accruals during the pandemic, offered paid time off buybacks, and increased hourly rates for short-staffed positions like nurses and respiratory therapists, the news release said.
Healthcare providers across the country have been in need of nurses and other patient care positions as workers have left the field or taken on higher paying travel positions. Many systems have offered hiring incentives or retention bonuses to attract and retain workers, some as high as $25,000.