University expands nursing program to combat shortage in Maine

The Biddeford, Maine-based University of New England plans to address Maine's nursing shortage by expanding its nursing department into the new School of Nursing and Population Health, according to CBS affiliate WGME.

To expand the department, UNE added an accelerated nursing program, which increased enrollment by 50 percent and allowed nurses to start practicing after just two years. Thirty nurses graduated from UNE in 2011 compared to 125 expected graduates in 2019. A record 98 percent passed the certification exam in 2018.

Although the Maine Department of Labor estimates the state will be short 3,200 nurses by 2025, UNE's reported graduation and exam numbers suggest that number could change.

Still, the program suffers from a faculty shortage despite its students' success. Federal funding has helped UNE combat the problem by offering loan forgiveness programs for faculty members who come to the university to teach.

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