The demand for nurses is at an all-time high and the number of open nursing positions in the healthcare field is growing rapidly. Mapping nursing career paths, providing learning and training while also a living wage to students is the newest strategy to deliver qualified nurses into the workforce.
The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship has partnered with the Alabama Board of Nursing and the Alabama Community College System to develop the state’s first nursing registered apprenticeship program.
What does a nursing apprenticeship program in Alabama mean? It means that students accepted into their local community college’s practical or registered nursing apprenticeship program get classroom instruction and on-the-job learning but at the same time, they are earning progressive wages. Students will actually work as a hospital employee, earning pay for program clinical and practicum hours. After successful completion of the program and the passage of the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), the student transitions to full-time employment at the hospital where they were an apprentice.
Josh Laney, Director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, said “the opportunity for nurse apprentices to earn while they learn, to continue applying skills learned in class in a real work environment, and to extend the time spent working with their preceptors, will positively impact the nursing industry’s critical needs for recruitment and retention of highly prepared nurses.”
The rules from the administrative code go into effect on March 17, 2022. The initial cohort of nursing apprentices will launch this summer, and it will be open to other interested employers and training providers in the fall.
The new nursing apprenticeship program is just one way that the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship is working to remove barriers to entry for students wanting to enter high-demand occupations while also helping to meet Governor Ivey’s Success Plus Goal of adding 500,000 credentialed workers to the workforce by 2025.