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Governor Sununu Proposes $24 Million to Boost N.H.'s Healthcare Workforce

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Governor Sununu unveiled a $24 million plan on Tuesday to tackle New Hampshire's nursing shortage.

The Governor says he expects a major surplus in state funds this year and that the majority of it should go to expanding college nursing programs.

His proposal sends $9 million each to Plymouth State University and University of New Hampshire to double their nursing programs, and $6 million to Keene State College to expand its STEM and nursing facilities. 

It also calls for resurrecting the Lisenced Practical Nursing programs at River Valley Community College and Lakes Region Community College, which shut down after declining student interest. 

With higher salaries in nearby states luring many nursing students after graduation, New Hampshire hospitals and nursing homes are facing a major healthcare workforce shortage.

Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
Manchester Community College nursing students listen to Governor Sununu's proposal to expand programs nursing programs at N.H. universities.

Governor Sununu says his plan should help fix this.

“There are 1,300 available positions right now to be filled with nurses, and we expect that trend to tick upward in the next five to seven years. It’s going to keep growing," Sununu says. 

"So one thing we’re trying to do is not just make investments for the short term, but really think strategically about making investments in the long term.”

The Governor notes that the proposed $24 million is a "one-time investment" for facility upgrades; the ongoing costs of expansion will be covered by student tuition.

He says the changes should not lead to tuition increases for nursing students.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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