New York awards 1,000 nursing scholarships in effort to boost healthcare workforce

New York awards 1,000 nursing scholarships in effort to boost healthcare workforce


ALBANY — Being pregnant during a pandemic gave Tanaya England a new respect for nurses.

Now, she’s on her way to joining their ranks thanks to a scholarship program designed to recruit and train nurses in New York as the state faces a health care worker shortage in the wake of the COVID crisis.

“Everyday you see these nurses and these frontline workers out there and they’re still trying to provide comfort and assistance and I definitely wanted to be a part of that community,” England told the Daily News.

The Manhattan mom, who went to school for social work and is currently a staffer with the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, is one of 1,000 winners of Gov. Hochul’s “Nurses for Our Future” scholarship program.

England and the others, chosen via lottery, will receive full tuition at a SUNY or CUNY school of their choice to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

More than 63,000 people applied for the program, which is being funded by more than $15 million in federal COVID money, the governor said during a Manhattan press conference on Wednesday.

“New York is proud of our nurses, and this scholarship will go a long way in strengthening the workforce with individuals who are ready to begin their education and training,” Hochul said.

While England was able to work from home during much of the pandemic, complications while she was pregnant with her daughter meant she spent a lot of time at Mt. Sinai West where the care and kindness of the nurses left a lasting impression and reignited a desire to do more.

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Relieving the financial burden of going back to school was the boost that the 38-year-old needed to make her dream a reality — and to join her sister, who is currently going to school for nursing as well.

“Everybody wants to win the lottery,” she said. “This is the lottery I won and I am definitely grateful for it.”

England said she is considering Lehman College, her alma mater, or Hunter College for her nursing degree. Winners of the scholarship must agree to work within New York for at least two years after graduating.

At the moment, there are 9,300 openings for nurses across the state, Hochul noted as she hinted that the program may be expanded in the near future.

Additionally, the governor announced Wednesday that the state is launching the Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus program, which will see $1.3 billion in federal COVID funds used for recruitment and retention bonuses for health care workers.

The incentive, approved in this year’s state budget, will be awarded to eligible workers who make less than $125,000 annually and remain in their positions for at least six months.

The amounts will depend on the number of hours worked and duration of service within designated vesting periods up to a total of $3,000 per employee.

Hochul’s goal is to increase the state’s health care workforce by 20% over the next five years.

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“Health care workers are the foundation of our medical system, and we need to acknowledge the sacrifices they have made to bring us through these challenging times,” the governor said. “Our bonus program is about more than just thanks, this is an investment in health care and with it we will retain, rebuild, and grow our health care workforce and ensure we deliver the highest quality care for New Yorkers.”



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