Carson Tahoe Health expands nursing program amidst nationwide nursing staff shortages | Carson Tahoe Health

Carson Tahoe Health expands nursing program amidst nationwide nursing staff shortages

Carson Tahoe Health (CTH) has announced an expansion of its Nurse Apprentice Program (NAP) which allows students enrolled in nursing programs an opportunity to get ‘real-world’ experience while working alongside hospital staff. The expansion, which was made possible through the recent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant, will allow CTH to have 40 apprentices at all times.

“This program allows our nurse apprentices the chance to get hands-on experience and be compensated for their work while they complete their education,” said Cindy Kuperus MBA, RN, associate chief nursing officer at Carson Tahoe Health. “As a result, they are well-prepared to enter the workforce and more likely to find a field within nursing they are passionate about.”

As one of several hospitals in Nevada who participate in the program, CTH provides students the ability to experience different units and specialties before graduating as a nurse.  This allows students to find an area they enjoy, increasing the likelihood of retention amidst a state and nationwide nursing shortage. The NAP program has been in place since 2006 and, in the last six years alone, it has allowed CTH to hire nearly 100 nurse apprentices.

“Having personally started in the program as Carson Tahoe Healths’s first OR nurse apprentice in 2006, this program gave me the opportunity to solidify my choice of becoming an OR nurse and has allowed me to stay and grow within the healthcare field ever since,” said Agatha Gentile, BSN, RN, CNOR, CTH’s main operating room day charge.  

According to Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, a student can become a nurse apprentice as long as they are enrolled in a pre-licensure registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) program. They also must meet the Nevada State Board of Nursing approved skills list before being hired as a nurse apprentice. Once hired, they will help provide nursing care at participating healthcare facilities, including Carson Tahoe Health. Apprentices can participate in the program until they graduate, or up to 18 months.

For more information about the Nurse Apprentice Program, visit the NAP website.