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Report finds projected nursing shortage in Maine has been cut by more than half

Virus Outbreak
Ted S. Warren
Ray Hoffman, right, who is immune-compromised, talks with Jose Lazaro, left, a medical assistant at a University of Washington Medicine clinic in Seattle, and Cynde Wiederhold, second from left, a nurse, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, before being given a two-shot dose of AstraZeneca's Evusheld — the first set of antibodies grown in a lab to prevent COVID-19.

The projected shortage of nurses in Maine has been cut in half, according to a new report commissioned by the Maine Nursing Action Coalition and the Maine Hospital Association.

The Coalition's Lisa Harvey-McPherson says it had been projected that by 2025 Maine would have a shortage of 3,200 nurses. But the updated report predicts the shortage will be 1,450.

"I want people to understand if that had been the first number we ever produced, that would have been a big number," says McPherson. "It's just that our first number was so big, it really served as a call to action."

McPherson says Maine has been able to improve the numbers through expanding nursing education programs. But now they're at capacity, and she says a proposed $2.5 million investment for community colleges in Gov. Janet Mills' supplemental budget would double nursing graduate numbers.