Nursing apprenticeship program offers new options for nurses in training

Program aims to get nurses to work more quickly, help ease nursing shortage

Alabama’s community colleges have long been educating nurses in programs like this at Reid State Technical College.

A new apprenticeship program will allow prospective nurses a new avenue to begin their training and also help meet the demand for nurses.

The Alabama Community College System, in conjunction with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, is offering a program that allows health care employees to transition into an apprenticeship agreement with a community college.

Those who are accepted will apprentice alongside experienced nurses as they work toward National Council of Licensure Examination certification.

The program kicks off this summer at Coastal Alabama and Gadsden State community colleges.

“This is another way we’ve aligned the training and education offered by Alabama’s community colleges to meet the state’s workforce needs,” said Jimmy Baker, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. “You’ll see the need for superb medical care within communities of all sizes in Alabama, and in those areas is also a community college that trains students to help meet those healthcare needs. Our colleges continue to build trust with every business and industry sector to secure and create opportunities for students to gain real-life work experience. This nursing apprenticeship is another means for employers who look to our colleges to gain willing employees who will be well-trained, both before and after completing a college program.”

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The Alabama Hospital Association welcomed the news.

“Alabama’s hospitals are grateful to Alabama’s community colleges and the Alabama Board of Nursing for their efforts to help meet a significant need for additional hospital nurses,” said Donald Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “Our hospitals look forward to working with their local colleges to provide hands-on experience and mentoring for these future nurses.”

Josh Laney, director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, added, “The opportunity for nurse apprentices to earn while they learn, to continue applying skills learned in class in a real work environment, and to extend time spent working with their preceptors, will positively impact the nursing industry’s critical needs for recruitment and retention of highly prepared nurses.”

Nursing programs are offered at 21 of the state’s 24 community colleges.

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