The state's public universities and their partners are already taking action.
Mary Walker, Director, University of Maine School of Nursing, said "Maine is experiencing a shortfall in nurses that is going to deepen across the next five years until there are about 3,200 nurses short of what we need to be able to deliver the care that we are delivering now."
In some places that shortage in even worse. Walker said "In counties like Hancock and Washington County 48 percent of the nurses are over the age of 55 and are expected to retire in the next 10 years which means the shortage is going to continue to deepen."
The University of Maine and it's partners held a summit on the issue last October. They wasted no time coming up with a plan. The university has already increased enrollment in it's nursing program. "We are on target to admit another 115 first time nursing students in the fall and we will continue to do that in our effort to address the continuing shortage." said Walker.
They are working with the Machias campus on a fast track program for people that already have a bachelors degree and want to go into nursing.they are also working with their partners to find ways to train more people and get them experience in rural areas.
Walker concluded "In order to meet the current shortage this means effectively that for 10 years the State of Maine is going to have to prepare 400 more new nurses than it's preparing now and that is the level of the challenge we are facing. So it's going to take every school of nursing in the state and every credible committed partner we can find to help us address the shortage."