Lehman, LaGuardia colleges to train 20 immigrant nurses in effort to buoy city’s depleted nursing workforce

A pre-omicron industry poll by KFF/Washington Post shows that 3 in 10 healthcare workers and two-thirds of acute and critical care nurses are considering leaving their professions altogether.

From high levels of burnout to low pay, New York City finds itself in a nursing staffing shortage amid a marathon COVID-19 pandemic.

By 2030, there is a projected shortage of more than 39,000 registered nurses in New York, according to a recent report by the New York State Department of Health. One solution, developed by the city’s Department of Small Businesses Services (SBS) — in collaboration with Lehman and LaGuardia colleges — is to train internationally educated nurses to buoy the city’s ailing workforce.

In May, Lehman College will launch a new cohort of the NCLEX-RN Training Program, beginning with an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Bridge for 25 participants. The educational program will assist internationally trained nurses with improving their English language skills, and obtaining licensure and employment as registered nurses in New York City.

SBS and the NYC Welcome Back Center at LaGuardia Community College have offered the NCLEX-RN Training Program in partnership since 2011. For the first time, the program will allow participants schedule flexibility as LaGuardia will offer a part-time evening program for 40 participants and Lehman College will offer a full-time daytime program for 20 participants.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on nurses — which include burnout, moral distress and unresolved grief from working on the front lines, early retirements among older nurses, and extreme nationwide competition for talent — have led many to leave their jobs, leading to a critical workforce shortage.
A pre-omicron industry poll by KFF/Washington Post shows that 3 in 10 healthcare workers and two-thirds of acute and critical care nurses are considering leaving their profession altogether. Additionally, New York nurses have found more lucrative opportunities, able to make up to $8,000 per week as travel nurses for three-month commitments – which is more than triple and quadruple their normal salaries if they remain at their current posts at local New York hospitals.
A survey conducted in late 2021 by Wolters Kluwer forecasted that the nationwide nursing labor shortage could continue to intensify in the coming 18 months.

The new initiative is a part of Mayor Eric Adams’ Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery, which is put in place to steer an ecumenic recovery two years out from the pandemic.

“By growing this training program, New York City is proving our commitment to helping immigrant communities,” said Kevin D. Kim, SBS commissioner. “Not only does this program help increase the number of registered nurses in our city but it also makes good-paying jobs accessible to immigrant New Yorkers who qualify.”

Applications for this program are currently open. Candidates for the training program must meet eligibility requirements that include, but are not limited to:
  • Be an English Language Learner.
  • Have a high-intermediate level of spoken English.
  • Have a nursing degree from a non-English speaking country.
  • Be a New York City resident and legally authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Submit nursing license verification application to CGFNS International and state Education Department.
  • Make no more than $40,000 annually, if employed.
  • Have reliable internet and access to a computer to use during the training program.
  • Be vaccinated against COVID-19, with the exception of those with an approved accommodation.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes