The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the need for nurses in hospitals across the country.
To help the shortage locally, Missouri State University’s School of Nursing is piloting a Mercy Hospital Springfield program called “Earn as You Learn.”
“The nursing shortage is currently great,” said Monika Feeney, interim director of the School of Nursing. “The program allows students the opportunity to earn money while completing clinical time and evaluate if they would like to work at Mercy post-graduation. It also allows the hospital to evaluate if they are interested in hiring the student.”
In the program, nursing students are compensated for clinical hours as Mercy co-workers. They can also work additional hours as an aide or a sitter.
“This program will enable our current nurses to invest in the next generation by showing them the ropes before they graduate from nursing school,” said Chelsea Pliler, clinical student coordinator at Mercy. “Not only will nursing students get real-world experience, they will be earning money they can put toward their education. The experience they will gain from this program will help them confidently transition from student to RN and decrease their orientation time.”
The program pilot begins fall 2021. By spring 2022, nursing students at the senior clinical level will have the opportunity to participate in Earn as You Learn.
“It is a wonderful collaboration that we are very excited about. It is beneficial for the students, the clinical site and the university,” Feeney said.
If successful, Mercy plans to open the program to more nursing schools.