Freeport family targets nursing shortage with large donation to CMCC

Freeport resident John Boyne and his family have worked for years to be part of the solution to the state’s problematic nursing shortage, which the Maine Department of Labor says will grow to 3,200 registered nurses by 2025.

Last month Boyne and his wife Candy donated $ 500,000 to the Southern Maine Community College Foundation to fund an additional nursing professor position, the latest in a series of cash donations the family has made. ever since Boyne’s father established a nursing scholarship foundation decades ago.

The need is even more complex now, Boyne said.

Candy and John Boyne from Freeport at a donation ceremony last month at Southern Maine Community College. Contribution / Southern Maine Community College

“There are so many challenges to overcome at the same time,” Boyne said. “Anything we can do to facilitate the training of young people who wish to enter this program and enter the nursing field, this is where we thought our efforts would be appreciated. “

In discussions with his daughter Sarah, a nurse practitioner in Maine, he learned how the pandemic exacerbated the problem, Boyne said, including labor shortages and burnout. Additionally, in Maine, which has the oldest population in the country, many nurses have reached or are approaching retirement age.

Maine’s largest healthcare provider, MaineHealth, which includes Maine Medical Center, has 790 vacancies for registered nurses, compared to March 2020, before the pandemic, when it had 271 positions, according to the door. -says John Porter.

As COVID-19 vaccination requirements for healthcare workers create a short-term problem for the workforce, Maine Health said in a press release, a more complicated workforce shortage and long-term impact on healthcare organizations across the state.

Northern Light Health, which operates Mercy Hospital in Portland and a number of small hospitals in the state, has 450 vacant nursing positions, up from 300 before the pandemic, according to spokesperson Karen Cashman.

“We have many creative solutions in place and recognize that developing our own in the state and making nursing opportunities as accessible as possible is a key part of an overall strategy to ensure we have a workforce. solid nursing work, ”Cashman said in a writing. declaration.

The Boyne family has a personal connection to the nursing shortage. When Boyne’s mother fell ill, her father, Philip Boyne, an oral surgeon and naval officer, struggled to find a certified nursing assistant to come to their home to help care for her. Troubled by this, his father created a foundation to fund nursing scholarships. After his father’s death in 2008, Boyne and his sister decided to continue the foundation. They split the foundation’s $ 2 million in half. He would use his half to donate to nursing programs in Maine and his sister would focus on nursing programs in the South.

The Boyne family has donated to the CMCC and the University of Southern Maine Nursing Program since 2010, including a $ 500,000 donation to the CMCC in 2016. The donation they made last month will fund a post of professor of nursing to be named Boyne Family Endowed Nursing Faculty. . Approximately 200 students are enrolled in the SMCC nursing program.

“Their donation comes at a time when the demand for nurses has never been greater. As Maine faces an expected shortage of thousands of nurses in the years to come, it is imperative that we expand our training opportunities for people to become nurses. This gift allows us to do just that, ”said Michael Nozdrovicky, chair of the CMCC nursing program, in a prepared statement.

Boyne said the CMCC nursing program is the exact type of program his father created his foundation for 15 years ago. Boyne also said that the affordability of SMCC tuition compared to four-year schools was also an important aspect in their decision.

“I have been a member of the CMCC’s Foundation Board for several years. I just found out how important the community college program is in the state of Maine, ”Boyne said.

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