Officials at Maine Veterans’ Homes - South Paris, like officials at many long term care facilities across the United States, want to play a part in how nurses and CNAs are trained. This is an ongoing effort to increase the workforce of healthcare staff.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of nurses that has increased as more Baby Boomers age. In turn, the RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.9 million in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow at a faster rate (15 percent) than all other occupations during the same time period.
Working With Community To Benefit Veterans
Brad Peck, administrator at MVH South Paris, wanted to be proactive when it came to how staff was recruited. The home already has partnerships with Oxford Hills Adult Education and with the area high school to train Certified Nursing Assistants. A partnership with the nursing department at Central Maine Community College in Auburn was the next step.
Peck connected with the chairman of the school’s nursing program and the idea was born that MVH South Paris would afford their RN students their first experiences working with patients.
“It’s huge,” Peck said. “It’s not only an opportunity for students to get their feet wet working directly with patients, but with our nation’s Veterans; students in other nursing schools won’t have that practice.”
Students Get Hands-On Experience
The relationship will allow students to see how MVH’s experienced nurses interact with the Veteran population and learn helpful tips regarding how they handle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and past trauma in patients.
“This nursing specialty is something they’ll learn about in their second clinical rotation with us,” Peck added.
The first clinical rotation began in September with seven nursing students. Amanda Dumont, director of nursing at MVH South Paris, oversees the home’s portion of the program and said during the first semester, during fall 2019, students visited the home once a week to focus on basic patient care and assessment skills. It also included an orientation with students to learn about Maine Veterans’ Homes policies and procedures, including learning about its six Core Values:
Honesty and integrity. First and foremost, we must always strive to do what is right and in the best interest of our residents.
Veterans are Unique. We must recognize the special sacrifice that our Veterans and family members have made in service to our nation and that they are most deserving of our best efforts to meet their needs.
Respect. We must respect and preserve the dignity of each person — whether a resident, family, visitor, volunteer or employee.
Excellence. We must strive to attain the highest level of quality and satisfaction in delivering person-centered care with competence, compassion and commitment.
Teamwork. We must understand that only through teamwork, communication and cooperation will we achieve our goals.
Lead the Way. We must continue to lead the way among the nation’s state veterans’ homes by shaping the future of long term care and rehabilitative services.
“Learning our policies and procedures gives students a leg up if they choose to seek employment at Maine Veterans’ Homes upon their graduation of nursing school,” Dumont said.
“We want to be the first place they think of for employment when they graduate nursing school.”
Who Benefits More?
During the program’s second semester students visited twice weekly with residents to learn how to dispense medication, charting and more.
While students of course benefit by working directly with residents, Dumont said it’s the residents who perhaps benefit the most.
“During the first semester each student would work one-on-one with the same resident every Friday, all day. The residents just loved it,” she said, adding that when students came back during the second semester, they again worked with the same residents they had already formed relationships with.
Anyone interested in applying to nursing school through Central Maine Community College and learning under the partnership with MVH South Paris should contact the Office of Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 755-5273.
About Maine Veterans’ Homes
Maine Veterans’ Homes is a nonprofit organization that cares for Veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents at six homes throughout the state. We believe it is an honor and our privilege to care for those who served our country and their families. We strive to be a Veteran Advocate, Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice to those who seek to care for our nation’s heroes. To see employment opportunities at Maine Veterans'Homes, visit www.MaineVets.org/employment.