USM graduates helping reduce Maine's nursing shortage

More USM nursing graduates is reducing Maine's projected shortage, but officials said more has to be done.

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Maine is facing a severe shortage of nurses, but the gap is getting smaller thanks to local students ready to go.

The University of Southern Maine said a recent increase in license eligible graduates will close the gap by at least 200 nurses.

The Maine Nursing Action Coalition predicted the gap would reach more than 3,000 by 2025.

Recent USM graduates, thanks in part of expanding USM's enrollment and using financial aid, has pulled the number down to 2,800 nurses.

Maine's nursing shortage is due to the state's aging population, officials said.

"That presents a significant demand on our nursing homes, home care programs, all of our hospitals. Every setting in which a patient receives care will be impacted by our workforce shortage," said Lisa Harvey-McPherson of the coalition.

Nursing officials lobbied for passage of Question 4 next month, a $12 million bond intended to boost programs and further address the nursing shortage.

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