To help meet the demand for nurses in Lincoln County, the Central Maine Community College/LincolnHealth Nursing School has expanded.
“There is a shortage of nurses in Maine and throughout the country,” said registered nurse Christine Anderson, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer of LincolnHealth. “When we found out there were nearly 140 people aspiring to be registered nurses on a wait list at Central Maine Community College, we knew we needed to open our doors to more students.”
By adding an additional clinical nurse educator, registered nurse Sandy Fuller, the program could accept six additional students, for a total of 14 students. In addition to the critical shortage of nurses in Maine, there is also a shortage of nurse educators.
“I have always been interested in being a nurse educator,” said Fuller, who has worked in LincolnHealth’s intensive care unit for the past 10 years and taught advanced cardiac life support to her peers for several years. “I am honored to help teach these students and share my passion for nursing with them.”
Nursing school is not easy, Fuller noted. “Balancing school, work, and a home life is a challenge for most students,” she said. “I hope to ease fears while preparing these students to be the most compassionate, patient-centered nurses possible.”
For nursing school student Shannon McCoy, of Rockport, this opportunity was a reason to move back to Maine. “I grew up in Maine, but had been living out of state for seven years pursing a degree in a different field,” McCoy said. “As a child, I had health problems and remember how one nurse can make a huge difference. I want to be able to build those relationships and make a difference for my future patients.”
Nursing school student Melissa Baker was on a 1 ½-year-long wait list for two nursing schools. When she got a call saying there was an open spot in Damariscotta, she was willing to move from Portland.
“I found my interest in a health care career when I was spending a lot of time at Maine Medical Center comforting a sick family member,” Baker said. “I ended up enrolling in the free certified nursing assistant class through Maine Medical Center, and had a job in the intensive care unit as soon as I graduated. While working as a CNA, I began taking general education classes and applying for nursing programs. I am so thankful to be enrolled in the Central Maine Community College/LincolnHealth Nursing School.”