Like many post-pandemic professions, one of the most honored and respected, and yes, underappreciated, is facing labor shortages at alarming levels.

In what we hope is a positive step forward to address Montana's crisis, UM News Service tells us that the University of Montana recently secured $3.6 million from the Health Resource and Service Administration to bolster the nursing workforce across the state. A trifecta of the university organizations stand to be the beneficiaries.

UM News Service says the federal grant will fund a new training program implemented by  the Office of Health Research and Partnership, the Missoula College Nursing Program and the Center for Children, Families and Workforce Development. The Office of Health Research's director, Lily Apedaile, was quoted as saying, “This new nurse training program developed at Missoula College will create a pathway for licensed practical nurses in Montana to quickly upskill to become registered nurses.

“We see this program as a key part of addressing the nursing shortage by developing a needed step in the nursing career pathway.”

One of the key features, the Licensed Practical Nurse-to-Registered Nurse Program, will use an online, accelerated training model for LPNs to become RNs. Prior learning can potentially grant credit for experience LPNs have gained in their current roles, which will allow them to bypass certain courses.

Rural Montana is particularly feeling the effects of the shortage. Another key component of the grant will be working with rural communities. The LPN-to-RN Bridge Program will partner with rural Montana healthcare facilities to support their efforts in designing career pathways for employees.

We wish the University of Montana nothing but phenomenal success during this worthwhile endeavor. More information about the program can be obtained here.

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