Ochsner Offers Tuition Assistance to Aspiring Nurses and Doctors

NEW ORLEANS – From Ochsner Health:

Ochsner is expanding its Ochsner Scholars program for aspiring nurses and physicians ready to fill critical healthcare shortages in local communities and shape the healthcare workforce of the future.

Ochsner is excited to announce tuition assistance for 100 Nurse Scholars pursuing Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degrees this spring to students across Louisiana and Mississippi. Ochsner is also covering tuition for up to 10 Physician Scholars interested in pursuing careers at Ochsner in primary care or psychiatry. Dedicated to growing the pipeline of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, these programs are key workforce development initiatives to transform Louisiana into a healthier place to live and thrive.

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Healthcare workforce challenges have grown in recent years, and Ochsner has increased recruitment efforts as nurses, physicians and healthcare professionals retire or leave the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses are needed through 2030, and that employment opportunities for nurses will grow at 9 percent faster than all other occupations through 2026. The country also faces a projected shortage of up to 124,000 physicians through 2034, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Pipeline programs like Ochsner Scholars are proactive ways to solve workforce shortages and build equitable healthcare models of the future.

“To advance our mission, it’s critical that Ochsner provides high-demand, high-wage job opportunities to fill workforce gaps in communities that need us most,” said Missy Sparks, vice president of talent management for Ochsner Health. “By aligning education curriculum to support industry needs, we can advance great careers in equitable and inclusive ways.”

About Ochsner Nurse Scholars

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Ochsner Nurse Scholars encompasses tuition assistance programs for aspiring nurses and allied health workers enrolled in a nursing program who pledge to serve as employees at Ochsner Health following education at an accredited school.

The degree program is enrolling now for the Spring 2024 academic term, with a deadline of October 15, 2023. Dedicated to enhancing the pipeline of nursing professionals in the Gulf South, the Ochsner Nurse Scholars program grows the next generation of nursing students who commit to putting patients first and upholding the highest standards of the nursing profession.

Students accepted into Ochsner Scholars receive tuition assistance for an accredited nursing school in Louisiana, Mississippi or the University of West Alabama. As of September 2023, students from 41 colleges and universities throughout Louisiana and Mississippi have been supported by the Ochsner Nurse Scholars program, including Loyola University New Orleans and Delgado Community College.

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Ochsner offers other tuition assistance programs in addition to Ochsner Scholars. Applications will close October 15, 2023, for Heart of Healthcare, a program for students interested in earning a BSN degree at Chamberlain University – New Orleans. Ochsner offers up to three years of partial tuition coverage and Chamberlain provides discounted tuition. Additionally, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced a partnership with Ochsner Lafayette General to open an ABSN program starting May 2024.

Students who become part of all nursing education programs receive more than just financial assistance — Ochsner also offers comprehensive support in the form of mentorship, career guidance, and much more. All programs are part of Ochsner’s commitment to invest $15 million in workforce development in partnership with Louisiana’s Community and Technical Colleges (LCTCS), projected to positively impact more than 3,000 students by 2025. 

About Ochsner Physician Scholars

Ochsner Physician Scholars is a program for medical students admitted into the LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine (LSUHS School of Medicine) or The University of Queensland Ochsner Doctor of Medicine (MD) program. Selected medical students receive a payment from Ochsner Health intended to be used for medical school expenses. In exchange, the students must commit to work in an Ochsner Health facility for five years after they complete their residency.

The application deadline for Ochsner Physician Scholars is March 1, 2024. Only medical students interested in pursuing careers in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine Primary Care, Internal Medicine Pediatrics Primary Care or Psychiatry are eligible. Ochsner will name up to five Ochsner Scholars from LSUHS School of Medicine and up to five from The University of Queensland Ochsner Doctor of Medicine (MD) program.

Over the summer, Ochsner awarded its sixth Physician Scholar award to LSUHS School of Medicine student John David Sawyer, who is planning a career in psychiatry. This spring, the first Ochsner Physician Scholar, Mary Curet, MD, is expected to complete her final year of Family Medicine residency. She plans to join Ochsner’s staff in June. 

Creating a Healthier State

The Ochsner Scholars program was announced in 2020 as part of the Healthy State initiative, a collaborative effort with partners from every region of Louisiana to improve local communities. By partnering with higher education institutions, non-profit organizations and businesses, the initiative aims to create healthier, happier and more productive communities, with health equity at the forefront of these efforts. 

Partnerships with universities, colleges and high schools are critical to growing the state’s pipeline of nursing and allied health professionals, and to the collaborative vision of transforming Louisiana into a healthier place to live. Ochsner and partners are also committed to helping more residents invest in their careers and financial stability. For all Ochsner Scholars programs, selection committees prioritize applications from individuals from diverse or underrepresented populations, as defined by the AAMC.

“To reach our goals of a healthier state we must invest in our future healthcare workforce and create more equitable healthcare systems for our communities,” said Carl Tholen, vice president of medical education at Ochsner Health and chief administrative officer for The Ochsner Clinical School located within the UQ Medical School. “Maintaining a pipeline of talented physicians in Louisiana is important, as the people we hire understand the cultures and backgrounds of the patients they serve. We are proud of our partnerships, and we are excited to impact more lives in our communities, together.”

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