The Maine Action Coalition is working to create innovative solutions where nurses are leading the way to address Maine’s health challenges. We are partnering with diverse stakeholders to plan for a workforce to meet the health care needs of our citizens.




In Maine, nursing faculty represents the oldest group of nurses in the state (64.5% over age 51), there are no PhD programs in Maine to replenish retiring faculty and a majority of Maine’s nurses are prepared only at the associate degree level.

Maine is exploring opportunities to create a PhD program at the flagship campus at the University of Maine in an attempt to advance opportunities to respond to the faculty challenges.  The Maine Partners in Practice and Education Collaborative has been able to extend their work to increase numbers of clinical rotations for students with the integration of the student “passport” software clinical opportunities for student nurses. MAC will begin discussions to work toward seamless pathways to achieve higher levels of education and training through improved seamless academic progression from associate to baccalaureate and master's degree level.  Work is also beginning to develop a statewide undergraduate curriculum with core competencies to be included in every program.


Nurses bring a unique, important perspective to health care, higher education, business and policy discussions. Maine’s significant health care challenges coupled with a high number of asscociate degree nurses in the workforce makes leadership a high priority for us.  



We understand that communicating the value of nursing leadership and building allies are critical to providing opportunities for nurses to take on leadership roles. At the same time nurses must develop leadership competencies, and identify opportunities to lend their voice to addressing the challenges we face. We will engage Maine’s nurses at all levels to train and provide them with opportunities to lead.  The Organization of Maine Nurse Executives (OMNE, Nurse Leaders of Maine)  annual meeting which was held on October 18-19 in Freeport, ME.  provided the first opportunity to present an academic/professional action program for the nurse leaders and rising nurse leaders in Maine. Maria Williams-O'Rourke Ph.D. of the University of California and the consulting firm Onsomble demonstrated her model of professional practice which was titled, "Today's Nurses, Tomorrows Leaders: Role Based Practice Accountability. Dr. O'Rourke stresses the professionalism of nurses in a manner that is energizing and exciting. She has spurred us on to greater challenges and projects within the state especially in relation to the founding of a Center of Nursing Excellence for the State of Maine. Dr. O'Rourke's notes from the keynote may be viewed at
Also presenting at the conference was the (superb) AARP Educational Expert team of Drs. Maureen Scrozinski and Eieene Shake from the Northeast and Southease regions of the Futures of Nursing national educational team. Their outline of opportunities within the IOM report as well as the progress made by the Robert Wood Johnson/ AARP collaborative gave us a glimpse at the state level of our potential as professionals and nurses. It was and is an exciting time for nurse leaders as we formulate programs to keep us in tune with national trends and local needs.



Maine’s population is aging.  Demand for primary care providers is increasing, yet there is a shortage of providers. Maine nurse practitioners can practice independently after two years of physician supervision. There are only five nurse practitioner programs in the state. 

To ensure adequate care for the aging population in Maine, geriatric care is also being considered a core competency for undergraduate programs through the efforts of the Maine Partners in Practice and Education grant work. 

Interprofessional Collaboration

To ensure high quality, patient-centered care, nurses, physicians and other health professionals must collaborate in education and practice, and across all health care settings. To date initiatives have been fragmented , much effort is needed to align these efforts.


We are building partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including physicians, hospital CEOs and other health providers, to support, spread and implement models of interprofessional collaboration in education and practice.


Maine’s population is becoming increasingly more diverse, and many residents have unique health care needs. The nursing workforce must evolve to reflect these changing dynamics. 


We will work with our colleagues throughout the state to communicate the value of diversifying the nursing workforce to reflect the state’s population, while also looking to other successful programs as models for implementation. 


Maine has attempted to collect data through our state board of nursing with support for HRSA,  but process has been voluntary with a low response rate and an inability to merge supply data with licensing data. 


Effective deployment and development of the health care workforce requires information – data to tell us what kind of health providers we will need and with what skills.  We are exploring partnerships and examining models from other states to develop a plan for data collection in our state. Once developed, we will work to promote data-driven policy decisions that improve health care for patients and families in Maine. Our state board of nursing is redesigning renewal process that will require candidates to complete data survey to get their license.



Donna Deblois, President, MENAC, co-lead

Lynn Turnball, Vice President of Nursing Services, The Aroostook Medical Center, co-lead

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