The use of health apprenticeships has increased in recent years, alongside the recruitment of traveling nurses, to deal with a chronic shortage of medical personnel.
Taking this approach to a deeper level is an initiative launched Thursday between Forsyth Technical Community College, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and Novant Health Inc.
The groups collaborate on apprenticeships to train magnetic resonance imaging personnel.
Forsyth Tech was chosen because it offers the only registered MRI apprenticeship in the state, as well as the only MRI simulator in the nation.
“We know that this extra layer of training and hands-on learning is essential for healthcare workers,” said Forsyth Tech President Janet Spriggs.
“It’s critical to prepare them for the vital work they will do every day in their careers…and now to work with our employer partners, which now include Novant and Atrium.”
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Meanwhile, Davidson-Davie Community College on Tuesday announced the expansion of its healthcare apprenticeship program, with Baptist agreeing to be the first healthcare partner under the new agreement.
DDCC students will be able to work in a healthcare profession at Davie or Lexington Medical Centers while taking courses related to their career goals.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been exhausting for our nurses and all of our staff, so this program will serve as a direct pipeline to support our incredibly dedicated healthcare staff in our community,” said Clyde Bristow, chief nursing officer at Lexington Medical Center. .
“In addition, lifelong learning is fundamental to the training of our apprentices and their future careers as nurses. They therefore have the opportunity to participate in evidence-based practices and performance improvement projects within our hospitals.
Deb Harding, regional chief nursing officer at Baptist, said “staffing shortages exist in all disciplines and ancillary support roles.”
“The Apprenticeship Program with Davidson-Davie” is a great example of the new and innovative strategies needed to begin the important work of rebuilding our workforce.
Forsyth Tech Initiative
Apprenticeships are part of Forsyth Tech’s Learn and Earn apprenticeship program, which allows students to receive a full-time salary while graduating.
The program also includes: students matched with a mentor at their employer; receive state and national Companion degrees upon completion of the program; and get pay raises throughout the program as they learn new skills.
LEAP at Forsyth Tech has 30 employer partners. It offers more healthcare programs than any other community college in the state.
“Our students have benefited for many years from being able to hold their clinical labs with (Baptist and Forsyth Medical Center),” said Danielle Rose, director of experiential learning at Forsyth Tech.
“Thanks to the dedication of our partners and the help of ApprenticeshipNC, we are now able to offer even more educational and professional pathways with hands-on learning for our students.”
ApprenticeshipNC is an offshoot of ApprenticeshipGov, where healthcare is one of nine featured industries, along with advanced manufacturing, construction, energy, financial services, hospitality, information technology, telecommunications and transport.
The high demand groups of healthcare personnel highlighted by ApprenticeshipGov are Dental Assistants, Emergency Medical Technicians/Paramedics, Medical Coders, Certified Nursing Assistants, Pharmacist Assistants and Long-Term Care Nurse Managers duration.
“In collaboration with the Urban Institute, we offer national frameworks for occupations in this industry that are consensus-based, meaning they are written in cooperation with employers, educators and other experts in hand working and in training,” according to the ApprenticeshipGov website.
“Employers and companies can use these frameworks to accelerate the development of their recorded learnings.”
ApprenticeshipGov said learning frameworks “are skill-based rather than time-based, which means abilities are prioritized over memorized knowledge or skills.”
The ApprenticeshipNC program is offered by the NC Community College System Office. It combines a paid work-based learning experience with in-class academics leading to national certification.
“Combining related classroom instruction with on-the-job learning benefits all parties and will help Wake Forest Baptist develop a skilled and experienced talent bank of much-needed healthcare workers,” said Bruce Mack, Vice -Chair of Economic Development at NCCCS. .
Another example of a triad involves the first youth apprenticeship program for registered nurses in North Carolina, which will culminate in June 2021 with 10 high school girls assigned to Northern Regional Hospital in Mount Airy.
These students will receive free tuition for the associate degree program in nursing at a North Carolina community college to become registered nurses.
“The partnership that Surry-Yadkin Works has established with Northern Regional Hospital is incredibly exciting for our local students, as they are connected early in their educational journey at the hospital so they can explore career paths,” said Crystal Folger-Hawks, program director. of Surry-Yadkin Works.
“If it suits them, students can continue to work at the Northern Regional Hospital, while their college education is paid for by the ApprenticeshipNC program.
“It’s a win-win for the company and the students.”
The partnership between Davidson-Davie and Baptist targets the following healthcare professions: medical assisting; medical laboratory technology; feeding with milk; licensed practical nursing; pharmaceutical technology; centralized sterile processing; surgical technology; and nursing assistant.
Davidson-Davie said he plans to work with other health care partners to establish health information technology, paramedic and paramedic apprenticeships.
Holly Myers, dean of health sciences at Davidson-Davie, said the partnership makes available “an incredible array of opportunities in the health sector, through which they can follow an educational path towards the career of their choice while with a stable income”.
“We support healthcare workers and the communities we live in by training new professionals to fill much-needed jobs.”
This partnership builds on the success of the 2021 collaboration between Davidson-Davie and Baptist that launched the state’s first registered nurse apprenticeship program involving Baptist-affiliated Davie and Lexington Medical Centers.
The RN program allows aspiring nurses who graduate from Davidson-Davie with their LPN certification to receive their RN degree in 24 months. The process usually takes 36 months.
Although Davidson-Davie said the number of places available for apprentices is limited, there are plans to increase the number of places available over the next few years.
“As the region’s only academic learning healthcare system, a big part of our mission is to help train the next generation of healthcare professionals,” said Kimberly Stanbery, chief nursing officer at Davie Medical Center and at the Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating on such an important program and empowering members of our community with the education and skills to fulfill a wide variety of healthcare roles. »
National point of view
According to the National Healthcareer Association’s Learning and Leading blog published in August, the healthcare workforce problem “is not due to a lack of interest in the profession.”
Mark Beaufait, director of learning at the Healthcare Apprenticeship Consortium in Washington, reportedly said there are barriers preventing interested individuals from getting the training and certification they need to start a career as a physician assistant.
“There are a lot of qualified people who are not trained,” Beaufait said. “They’re interested in paid jobs, but just don’t have the training…and they’re not necessarily able to get the training if they have to take a year or two off to go to college. school.
“As adult learners, many of these candidates have financial obligations – such as living expenses and dependents/children – that prevent them from getting the education they need for the career. they wish.”
Recorded apprenticeships, like those offered at Forsyth Tech and Davidson-Davie, “help break down these barriers by providing students with the opportunity to earn while they learn,” according to the association.
“Because many healthcare organizations struggle with retention, reduced turnover is one of the most attractive benefits of apprenticeship programs,” the association said.
“Many studies conclude that retention is higher among apprentices because they develop a sense of loyalty to their employer. This is especially true for health care.
“While this requires an initial investment of time (training) and money (depending on sponsorship/grant/funding obtained), the improved productivity and tax credits achieved through recorded learnings can translate into a positive return on investment for employers. »