Citing a Statewide Shortage, Baltimore County Plans to Fund Community College Tuition For Certified Nursing Assistants

Hospital staff at the St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson pose for a photo. Screenshot via @building_for_god on Instagram.

What’s happening?

Baltimore County leaders announced Monday that Baltimore County and the University of Maryland Medical System will offer to pay the tuition for 30 community college students to study as certified nursing assistants with the goal of becoming licensed practical nurses, John Lee reports for WYPR. Students participating in the program will be offered employment with St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, as well as a $1,000 monthly stipend. 

Why are Baltimore County leaders proposing this initiative?

The program announcement comes as hospitals nationally and across the state are experiencing nursing staffing shortages. In August, the Maryland Hospital Association released its 2022 State of Maryland’s Health Care Workforce Report, which found that one of every four nursing positions in the state were vacant, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. The report identified some of the most populated regions of the state as those with the highest nursing vacancy rates, including Central Maryland—which encompasses Baltimore and the Washington D.C. suburbs—with a vacancy rate over 26%. 

Chief nursing officer of St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Nicole Beeson, attributes the shortage to a high turnover of nurses working “at the bedside,” particularly due to taxing working conditions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The high turnover rate also means that hospitals are largely filling those spots with newer, recently graduated nurses, so the staffing challenges also extend to a lack of experience. 

“In the end we are humans taking care of humans in a very complex environment,” said the president of the University of Maryland’s St. Joseph Medical Center, Dr. Tom Smyth, at a news conference on Monday. “We need to replenish our workforce, to bring reinforcements to support our beleaguered teams.”

Anything else I should know? 

Baltimore County will fund the initiative with $1.2 million from federal relief allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act and an additional $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said he plans to announce financial eligibility requirements and the start of the application process in the beginning of 2023 with training scheduled to begin in the summer. 

You can read more here. 

13 thoughts on “Citing a Statewide Shortage, Baltimore County Plans to Fund Community College Tuition For Certified Nursing Assistants”

  1. I have literally been looking to do this but having a hard time getting in the right direction. I want to either work and earn me cna or go to class and get certified but either way I wanna be a nurse

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