HOUSTON (May 07, 2024)

Memorial Hermann Health System and Houston Community College (HCC) have partnered on a new pilot program that is giving Memorial Hermann employees a chance to attend nursing school full-time, work full-time, keep their benefits, and still have one to two days off each week.

“Many times, full-time employees enroll in nursing school and then life gets in the way,” said Bryan Sisk, senior vice president and chief nursing executive for Memorial Hermann Health System. “It’s nearly impossible for them to go to school four days a week, work three 12-hour days, take care of their children and have any kind of a life. The success rate of this is almost zero. We believe this program gives them the flexibility that they need.”

The 10 employees will participate in a 12-month pilot program, which will take part within the hospital where they already know the rules, regulations, and policies. In addition, the participants will be able to test out of a basic skills course, allowing them to earn college credit. This reduces time needed in a lengthier course and gives them the opportunity to earn their certification quicker. Students receive a stipend through Memorial Hermann’s Learn Well Program to pay for tuition and so they can take part in nursing clinical rotations. Employees who complete the program will also be given a chance to work as a nurse in a Memorial Hermann facility.

“If an employee has to drop out of nursing school for one reason or another, they cannot go back and pick up where they left off. They have to start all over again,” Sisk said. “By removing some of the barriers for a working adult to become a licensed nurse, they will have a better chance to succeed. This program not only addresses workforce challenges, but it can also be life-changing for the participants and their families.”

Sisk believes this program is a creative and innovative way to generate people in the health care pipeline and put a dent in the massive nursing shortage projected to reach more than 50,000 by 2032. Partnering with HCC and other institutions on nursing programs supports a pathway for employees to bolster their professional growth and advance their careers while providing them with opportunities that otherwise might not be possible.

“It really does take a village, and the support our employees taking part in this program have received from the nurses they work with on the unit has been nothing short of amazing. Many have said they will do whatever they can to make sure their colleagues succeed,” Sisk said. “This is an amazing opportunity for our valued staff to help us realize our vision to create healthier communities, now and for generations to come.”