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UMMS launches $5.1M initiative to recruit nurses, other staff

The University of Maryland Medical System Monday announced a $5.1 million commitment to recruit registered nurses and other clinical bedside experts from the state’s community colleges. The program marks the first “One UMMS” unified effort to target new
graduates from the state’s two-year schools and will be effective with graduates beginning in December.

The announcement comes as Maryland and much of the nation grapples with a nursing shortage that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UMMS Community College Tuition Assistance Incentive Program includes 600 openings — 300 for registered nurses and 300 for other specific clinical positions such as licensed practical nurses, surgical techs, radiographers, respiratory therapists, certified nursing assistants and patient care techs.

The program grants RN new hires $12,000 and non-RN new hires in select clinical roles $5,000 post-graduation; both are based upon successful completion of hospital orientation and specific licensure exams, tests or required certifications.

Nurse recipients are required to commit to two years of full-time employment with their UMMS member organization following completion of orientation; non-RN recipients have a one-year requirement.

A team comprised of leaders from clinical care services, human resources and finance at each site will review applications and select awardees.

While some of the system’s hospitals had existing relationships with community colleges in their counties, UMMS previously did not have a comprehensive partnership strategy with community colleges.

“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,” said Lisa Rowen, UMMS senior vice president and chief nurse executive. “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.”

Community college partner institutions for this initiative include: Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore City Community College, Cecil College, Chesapeake College, College of Southern Maryland, Community College of Baltimore County, Harford Community College, Howard Community College, Montgomery College, Prince George’s Community College, Wor-Wic Community College and Delaware Technical Community College.