Cheshire Medical Center to hire New England College nursing students while they complete their nursing degree

nursing students
During a training at Cheshire, Emergency Department Supervisor Justin Lyons set a scenario of an unresponsive patient in the Sim Lab. The nurses are responding with the crash cart and preparing to begin CPR.

The innovation and flexibility of the NEC program creates opportunities previously not available in this area, especially for current employees who plan to continue working full time during their program.

Cheshire’s Chief Nursing Officer Anne E. Tyrol, MHA, MSN

Cheshire Medical Center, a member of Dartmouth Health, announces a new affiliation with New England College (NEC) in Henniker, NH, which promises to create a pipeline for new nurses by giving students valuable experience and college credits toward their nursing degree while filling hospital staffing needs for licensed nursing assistants (LNAs).

“I am thrilled to be working with NEC administrators, faculty and students to grow the healthcare workforce while developing nurses who will serve our community for years to come,” said Cheshire’s Chief Nursing Officer Anne E. Tyrol, MHA, MSN. “The innovation and flexibility of the NEC program creates opportunities previously not available in this area, especially for current employees who plan to continue working full time during their program. Our Cheshire nursing team is very excited to welcome our first cohort of students in 2024.”

This fall, up to 12 students will be selected to be the first group to receive their cooperative clinical experience at Cheshire. They will begin their clinical training and paid employment in the summer of 2024.

“Cheshire’s new affiliation with NEC is an innovative model that pairs core nursing education with on-the-job learning and employment throughout the program,” said Carolyn Isabelle, director of workforce development at Dartmouth Health. “Dartmouth Health has a commitment to nursing education across the health system, supporting both those starting out in the field and those who want to develop their skills over time.”

Students enrolled in NEC’s three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program are paired with an employer to complete their 14-week cooperative clinical experience each year, in addition to their coursework. During their clinical experience, students will earn credits toward their degree while they work as LNAs and earn a salary from Cheshire.

“NEC is excited to team up with Dartmouth Health and Cheshire Medical Center,” said Angie McPhee-Smith, DPN, RN, dean of NEC’s Division of Nursing and Health Professions. “Our innovative nursing education model was built considering two major goals: to mitigate healthcare workforce challenges now and into the future and to prepare and graduate well-rounded new nurses prepared for the realities of 21st-century healthcare. Through academic-practice collaborations like ours, students gain an authentic clinical nursing perspective through clinical immersion experiences. Together, we will cultivate an exceptional nursing workforce for the New Hampshire communities we serve.”

Nurses make up a significant portion of a hospital’s healthcare workforce, but staffing shortages nationwide have made it difficult to fill key vacancies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the nursing workforce will grow by only 6% over the next decade, which is insufficient to fill an estimated 203,200 openings for RNs each year between 2021 and 2031. Dartmouth Health has established key relationships with educational institutions such as its longstanding partnership with Colby-Sawyer College in New London, and the new affiliation with NEC, to make professional development opportunities available to current employees and to establish a pipeline for new healthcare workers. Dartmouth Health’s Workforce Readiness Institute (WRI), a licensed career school, also offers earn-while-you-learn opportunities for nursing and medical assistants, ophthalmic assistants, phlebotomists, pharmacy technicians and surgical technologists. Trainees earn wages and benefits while they work, and graduates transition to full-time roles in the Dartmouth Health system.

About Cheshire Medical Center

Cheshire Medical Center (Cheshire) is a Dartmouth Health member providing the communities in the Greater Monadnock Region a continuum of care spanning primary care and specialty medicine, to surgical services and acute inpatient care. For more than 130 years, Cheshire has been a key contributor to the health and vitality of the Monadnock Region. As a not-for-profit community medical center, Cheshire is deeply committed to delivering excellent care in a safe and welcoming environment. Cheshire is dedicated to being a great neighbor and serves as an integral community resource. Cheshire is the area's largest healthcare provider and leading employer. Along with the services delivered on their Keene campus and satellite locations, the Medical Center partners with local organizations to provide vital services and programs throughout the region. To learn more, call 603-354-5400 or visit the Cheshire Medical Center website.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.