Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH, has had an increasing need for clinical practice support in the form of Medical Assistants (MA). To address this gap in care, a team comprised of members from clinical education, talent acquisition, primary care, and human resources at Memorial convened to evaluate the local market for MA programs and candidates, as well as looked at what other MaineHealth local health systems were doing to recruit and retain MAs.

The team at Memorial found that the local MA programs were not producing enough MAs to meet their staffing needs for a variety of reasons including cost and time commitment. The team found that several MaineHealth local health systems were partnering with programs to offer MA apprenticeships for newly graduated MAs, but there was no formal commitment from MAs apprenticing at a local health system to stay within the MaineHealth system.

With these barriers identified, the team started taking a look at what they could do to offer a shorter MA program that still offered students a degree from an accredited institution, a pathway to MA certification, and a potential pipeline for MAs at Memorial Hospital. They began working with White Mountains Community College to design a new workforce development model for those hoping to enter the healthcare industry.

With funding from the 40th Annual Memorial Hospital Golf Tournament, Memorial developed a novel workforce development solution: The Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program at Memorial Hospital. This program offers a paid, credit-bearing apprenticeship program for those looking to enter the healthcare field. The program offers current Memorial employees and others an opportunity to learn the skills needed for a high-demand position, with no required prior experience. The nine-month program offers students an opportunity to rotate through multiple specialty practices including family medicine, cardiology, diabetes, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, urology, and orthopedics.

Success:  Memorial Hospital has eight open MA positions to fill, and has identified 8 students to participate in this pilot program! Six of the students are internal Memorial Hospital employees who are looking for ways to advance their careers. Some of the internal candidates for the program started as vaccine clinic staff and have decided to continue to develop their careers in healthcare.

TEAM:

Marta Ramsey, Clinical Educator, Memorial Hospital, MaineHealth
William Owen, Manager-Clinical Education & Emergency Management, Memorial Hospital, MaineHealth
Betsy Koplin, Manager-Clinical Manager Primary Care, Memorial Hospital, MaineHealth
Elizabeth Carpenter, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, MaineHealth
Susan Edminster, Director-Human Resources, Memorial Hospital, MaineHealth

COLLABORATORS:

White Mountains Community College, Memorial Hospital Open Golf Tournament