Nurses are a crucial component of our healthcare system, and they make up the largest occupation in the field. However, the nursing profession has also continued to make up the majority of healthcare job openings. The U.S. has experienced a rise in the shortage of nurses, and COVID-19 has exacerbated it as 1 in 5 nurses say it’s “not at all likely” they’ll still be working in their field in five to 10 years. This has become a national health issue of heightened concern. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency over the nursing shortage in his state. In response to the shortage, Louisville-based Norton Healthcare started taking new steps to make it easier to become a nurse. The company has increased tuition assistance for students looking to pursue a degree in registered nursing, respiratory therapy, or laboratory therapy, offering them up to $40,000 in financial aid. Norton has teamed up with local Kentucky institutions such as Bellarmine University and Galen School of Nursing on the initiative, which removed financial barriers to entering the profession and enables aspiring workers to achieve their career goals. 

Norton is also investing in longevity in the healthcare field by offering resources such as coaching, interview training, and resume writing to ensure that their scholarship recipients are well equipped to enter their fields after graduation. “A lot of our alums come back, and a lot of our graduate students come back to be clinical instructors,” said Christy Kane, dean of Bellarmine’s Donna and Allan Lansing school of nursing and clinical sciences. 

Norton Healthcare is creating innovative solutions to support hospitals, and they aren’t the only ones. Healthcare staffing companies are taking on the intense recruiting and organization required to find well-qualified travel and foreign-educated nurses, and connect them with the facilities most in need of the labor. For the U.S. to address the nursing shortage, organizations like Norton and staffing companies will need to continue coming up with creative solutions.