Apprenticeship Program for Nursing Shortages


53.3% of South Carolina is considered rural, with much of that area coming under the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation. Recruitment is a constant struggle as the majority of healthcare providers are increasingly concentrated in metropolitan areas.

Specifically for Self Regional Healthcare, it has been especially difficult to hire and retain nurses and nursing assistants to fully staff the hospital.

The Goal:

To create a technical college scholarship program that would serve as a recruitment and retention mechanism to better staff the hospital. 

Method & Implementation:

Recognizing the difficulties of the field, Self Regional decided to bolster their number of Certified Nursing Assistants by creating a program that would preemptively hire students for specific roles in the hospital and then provide a scholarship for their Certified Nursing Assistant classes at Piedmont Technical while paying them at the same time. 

The students began orientation at the hospital before completing four weeks of classes and then performing a couple of more weeks of training in-hospital. After the initial pilot group, the hospital began to take advantage of an Apprenticeship South Carolina™ program which paid the tuition and fees for students who are doing on-the-job training. 


While Self Regional is still in the early stages of expanding this program hospital-wide, they’ve had successfully staffing their night and day shifts on the telemetry unit using a 1 nurse: 1 CNA model. While there was some initial concern that the program was replacing RNs with CNAs, the changes (and full staffing) was positively received by existing employees. Self Regional plans to expand their approach to other service areas in the hospital.

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