Earn While You Learn recognized by Germanna and Mary Washington Healthcare

by | Sep 7, 2023 | Health & Wellness

From Germanna Community College:

Mary Washington Healthcare and Germanna celebrated the success of their Earn While You Learn clinical education model and its continuing evolution with an event Wednesday at Mary Washington Hospital

Gov. Glenn Youngkin praised the innovative approach during his State of the Commonwealth speech in January, calling the nurses heroes.

Mary Washington Healthcare and Germanna began the Earn While You Learn partnership during the pandemic that helped address the nursing shortage then. It allowed nursing students at Germanna to be paid as nursing assistants at Mary Washington Hospital as they worked with trained nurses to get more clinical experience.

The shortage hasn’t ended. A combination of nursing Baby Boomer retirements and nursing burnout has led to Germanna committing to doubling its number of nursing and related graduates in response to a critical need.

Dr. Patti Lisk, who recently retired as Germanna dean of nursing and health technologies, and Eileen Dohmann, who retired this year as senior vice president and CEO of nursing at Mary Washington Healthcare, came up with the idea born of pandemic necessity. It’s been so successful that it’s become a fixture.

Lisk told the crowd at the event “it was the beginning of the pandemic and the Great Resignation. MWHC needed nurses at the bedside,” and nursing students needed income after losing other jobs due to businesses shutting down.


Now, Dr. April Morgan, Germanna associate dean of nursing,  “MWHC wanted to celebrate our work in redesigning the clinical experience.”

Morgan said the evolving approach involves creating designated education units where experienced nurses work with Germanna nursing students at various stages of training. “For instance,” she said, “one unit may take second and third semester RN students while another unit specializes in first and second semester students. This work stemmed from lessons learned from our nationally recognized Earn While You Learn initiative.”

Photos from Germanna Community College

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