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State tries to lure nurses


Carroll County General Hospital's efforts to recruit and retain nurses got a shot in the arm when it was awarded $75,000 from the state's Health Services Cost Review Commission.

Awards totaling $1.7 million were given to 17 hospitals through the commission's Nursing Support Program to fight the nursing shortage.

Leslie Simmons, vice president of patient care services at CCGH, said the hospital would use the money to help defray the costs of two mentors for 12 graduate nurses being hired this year.

"The mentor is a full-time person on that shift who would check in with the new nurse to see how things are going, and the nurse could go to if they have a problem or concern," she said.

"It's just something to take care of them and nurture them through their first year of employment while making the transition from student to active, functioning nurse," Simmons said.

She said the $75,000 is an initial award and the hospital hopes more money will be available later in the year.

Applications from hospitals for the money were reviewed by an evaluation committee consisting of hospital and commission representatives.

Among uses the hospitals suggested for the funds were nursing scholarships, improved hospital recruitment and retention of nurses, and hospital support, such as the mentor program at CCGH.

The Nursing Support Program began in December to encourage and implement hospital-based programs to increase the number of nurses caring for patients.

The nursing shortage in Maryland is so severe that the General Assembly formed a Maryland Commission on the Crisis in Nursing last year to create recruitment and retention programs.

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