The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) today announced a $5.1 million commitment to recruit registered nurses and other clinical bedside experts from Maryland’s community colleges. This initiative marks the System’s first-ever “One UMMS” unified effort to target new graduates from the state’s two-year schools and will be effective with graduates beginning in December.
“As a System, we are committed to improving health outcomes for the communities that we serve,” said Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, UMMS Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive. “And 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.”The UMMS Community College Tuition Assistance Incentive Program includes 600 openings, 300 for registered nurses (RNs) and 300 for other specific clinical positions such as licensed practical nurses (LPNs), 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, prior to this initiative, UMMS did not have a comprehensive and unified 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,” Dr. Rowen added. “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.”
The UMMS Community College Tuition Assistance Incentive Program is part of a holistic commitment made by UMMS over the past 18 months in support of, and investment in, its workforce, including an increase to a $15 minimum wage for all team members, waiving Paid Time Off (PTO) maximum accruals during the COVID pandemic response, offering PTO buyback programs, and implementing other new premium pay and incentive programs such as hourly increases for nurses and respiratory therapists, two roles disproportionately affected by pandemic-related staffing deficiencies.
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.