Education Opportunities

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center recognizes that nurses are lifelong learners. We support their continued growth through education and research because we know that it results in better patient care. This is accomplished by creating an atmosphere that stimulates learning and by testing new ideas for the improvement of nursing practice.

Our Education and Training Center provides ongoing in-house education and facilitates numerous conferences and seminars. The Bangor area features a number of colleges and universities. Financial aid in the form of tuition reimbursement or loans may be available to regular full-time or regular part-time employees (after one year of continuous service).

As a teaching medical center, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is affiliated with several educational institutions. We offer a variety of clinical sites and experiences, including core clinical rotations for students from the University of Maine, Husson University, Eastern Maine Community College, and St. Joseph’s at both undergrad and graduate level.

We also partner with Kaplan University to provide continuing education opportunities to nurses interested in furthering their education.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center supports nurses in their journey to pursue a BSN by partnering with local colleges and universities to offer a free course. This opportunity is geared toward nurses who may find it challenging to take the first step toward earning a four year degree. Nurses can continue their education at the institution where they take the free course or at another local college or university. We also offer loan repayment programs to practicing nurses at our Medical Center.

In order to continue to meet the needs of our patients in our region, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has created educational partnership with the University of Maine, Husson University, and Eastern Maine Community College to connect with students in nursing school and prepare them for a future in direct patient care.

We offer nursing clinical rotations through a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) where student nurses are immersed in real life clinical care scenarios. They receive a high quality learning experience, and have mentors to help guide them as they care for patients.

On floors where we offer the DEU, staff nurses may become preceptors and have the opportunity to take students on. This provides an enhanced educational opportunity for the nurses who guide the students in their clinical work.

Although it is early in our DEU program, we look forward to taking the best practices learned and roll the program out throughout the hospital.

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Anticipating the needs of a patient whose health is rapidly declining can be frightening for some nurses. At the Northern Light Health Simulation Lab, conveniently located at our main hospital campus, nurses strengthen their skills in a safe learning environment by practicing scenarios that require sound critical thinking and clinical management they would not be able to test elsewhere.

Through the use of high fidelity mannequins which have human body functions and responses, nurses can practice care for patients who are clinically unstable utilizing real equipment they use every day. There is also opportunity for nurses to collaborate in a multidisciplinary approach to increase understanding of team member’s roles and improve team dynamics to positively impact safe patient care.

As a tertiary care center, we leverage the knowledge of clinical experts throughout the Medical Center to develop in-depth best practice simulations that improve nurses’ competencies in a variety of areas. Some of the areas include obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatology, trauma, cardiology, and oncology. Many specialized services also engage in simulation to refine their team care of our sickest patients.

Our board-certified simulation specialists construct a variety of educational activities for nurses at every level of professional practice in one of our five spacious simulation bays. Our educational learning lab includes rooms allowing for streaming live video and debriefings with video playback after each simulation.

By discussing lessons learned, nurses increase their education, collaboration, and communication among all care team members. After a simulation experience, nurses often comment on their increased confidence, and greater satisfaction in their careers, which translates to a more positive environment for everyone.

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Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center offers a paid Student Nurse Externship Program for nursing students. As a student nurse extern, nursing students are introduced to an environment that fosters excellence in all areas of nursing.

This ten-week summer extern program provides nursing students with educational opportunities to improve their nursing skills in a collegial relationship with RNs while providing summer employment. It is an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the professional practice of nursing in the clinical setting.

Under the direction and supervision of a registered nurse, nurse externs provide direct patient care, gain hands-on experience, and enhance their assessment skills. Externs are introduced to various specialties of interest through a clinical rotation model. Examples of areas of interest include operating room, PACU, and critical care.

This program helps students develop organizational and time management skills. Nurse externs have the opportunity to attend the committees governed by Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s nurses.

Educational in-services are presented throughout the ten-week program to further supplement the learning process. In addition, externs are involved in community events such as Camp Survivor and assist with duties at the Ronald McDonald House.

Successful completion provides an opportunity for those externs that excel to be awarded scholarships for their senior year in college if there is a commitment to practice at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center after graduation.

Erin F. Ross BSN RN - Staff Developer, Clinical Education

Sandy Benton, MSN, RN - Manager, Clinical Education

Sohonnel Thompson, MHA, BSN, RN - Associate Vice President, Patient Care Services


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Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is committed to helping newly graduated nurses succeed in their careers. All nurses hired with less than one year of nursing experience will participate in our Nurse Residency Program.

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Imagine going to work each day knowing you’re making a real difference in the lives of patients and families. Imagine a rewarding career, with thorough training, competitive pay, and full benefits. Interested in a new career as a CNA? This is for you.

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We know life can get busy, and with work and family pulling you in a lot of directions, it can be hard for staff to advance their education and careers. Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has launched a Work to Grow program for nursing and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

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