CRMC launches new program for current staff in hopes of addressing nursing shortage

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Saturday, January 13, 2024
CRMC launches new program in hopes of of addressing nursing shortage
The Community Health System is making it a little easier for staff to get their nursing degree amid a staffing shortage.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The need for nurses continues, for years nursing staff shortages have been reported, only made worse by the Covid pandemic. To address the issue, Community Health System is making it a little easier for staff to get their nursing degree.

Friday was the first day of a long-awaited dream for 25 staff members of Community Health System as they started their journey to become a nurse.

"I've always wanted to be a nurse, I thought this was my time to do it, and I applied, did my test, and I got accepted," said Matilda Reyna, nursing student. "This was my first time trying and I got in, so I knew this was a sign."

Matilda Reyna works as a patient care coordinator with Community Health Partners. When she heard it was offering a nursing school program in partnership with Unitek Learning Nursing School she jumped at the opportunity.

Program leaders said limited seats in nursing programs and lack of accessibility often prevent people from pursuing their degree this program is designed to ease those burdens.

"With the partnership with Community the students are getting scholarships, tuition reimbursement and it makes a program that they can afford to get into that is flexible with their lives, their work schedules their school schedules, their family schedules," said Dr. Alexis Ramirez, Unitek Learning.

On Friday morning, Reyna and her classmates gathered for orientation at CRMC's East Medical Plaza to prepare for Tuesday's first day of classes. Reyna said she's already feeling overwhelming support.

"I think that with being with Community it will be easier to do my classes, I know my job is supportive, my manager is very supportive of me doing it," said Reyna.

Right now the program is only open to Community Health System employees, with plans to enroll new cohorts every six months, and eventually open the program to the public.

The hope is when Reyna and her classmates graduate in three years they will easily move into the workforce.

"They actually have a preceptorship as part of the program, so we're helping them to enter into the workforce confident and competent," said Dr. Ramirez. "So we're hoping to just smoothly transition them as they finish nursing, graduate, take their boards, and begin their nursing practice."

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