BANGOR – Penobscot Community Health Care is partnering with the University of Maine School of Nursing, Harrington Family Health Care and Hometown Health Care to help fill the shortage of nurse practitioners in Maine.
They have received a grant to create a nurse practitioner residency program for students.
“The nurse practitioners can come to a clinical site, start to see patients, have a patient panel, as they would as a primary care practitioner but probably less than half of a normal panel with lots of support,” said Lori Dwyer, president and CEO of PCHC.
The $1.7 million grant comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Dwyer said they used to have a similar program but through partnerships they are making it happen again.
“Everything is about collaboration,” said Dwyer. “It’s really the way we’re going to make things in health care sustainable.”
Students in their final year of the University of Maine graduate program can apply to complete their clinical rotations at PCHC and enter the residency program when they graduate.
Dwyer said the goal is to bridge the gap between education and clinical practice for students with a year of intensive and supportive training.
“This program will ensure they have a better transition from academia to practice and they will also receive robust specialized training in key areas that affect the health needs of Mainers,” said Kelley Strout, an assistant professor at the University of Maine School of Nursing.
Dwyer said nurse practitioners are an important part of solving the challenges that come from the shortage of primary care providers.
“Our patients most importantly are going to benefit in the long term from additional training, bringing people to this community who will stay in this community and continue to work here, and continue to provide services to the members of this community,” said Dwyer.