Nurse tuition reimbursement programs
Most of the care a patient receives at the hospital is from a nurse, and the more nurses per bed, the better the health outcomes for patients. Whether dressing wounds, checking vital signs, or administering medication, nurses serve as the main source of care for most patients.
In the United States, nurses outnumber physicians over four to one. Receiving care often means being cared for by a nurse. While many people associate treatment with a physician, nurses actually have a large role in the way treatment is administered. A physician may stipulate that a wound be dressed three times a day, but the details of how the wound is cleaned and wrapped may fall to a nurse to implement.
One attraction for employment in nursing is the relatively quick turnaround between beginning training and starting work. A two-year degree is often enough to gain employment, however with more training and specialization a nurse can improve their career path.
To work as a nurse requires formal education, at minimum a two-year associate degree. Many nurses may have six or even eight years of higher education, with years of training in specialized fields. Some jurisdictions now require nurses to acquire a bachelor’s degree within a given time window after beginning employment.
As a result, on average a nurse finishes their degree with around $50,000 of student debt. Healthcare organizations that offer nurse tuition reimbursement programs help cover some or all of these costs for their employees.
A win for nurses
For a nurse looking to expand their skill set or help pay down existing student debt, nurse tuition reimbursement programs can be a huge win. By partnering with their employer on increasing their value as a nurse, a nurse will not only make themselves more valuable to their current employer, but improve their future prospects.
In addition, under the United States tax code, qualifying educational assistance benefits below a certain amount are not considered taxable income. This means that an employee that takes advantage of an employer educational assistance program effectively receives an increase in compensation tax-free.
A win for healthcare providers
Many employers have found that improving workplace financial wellness improves employee focus at work. In a healthcare setting where patient outcomes can be determined by how distracted a caregiver is, any way to reduce an employee’s financial stress is important.
Healthcare employers need as many tools as they can get to retain talent. Across all industries, the average cost associated with bringing on a new employee can be almost one third of their annual salary, so employee retention keeps costs down.
In the healthcare industry, the costs can be even higher. It can cost a healthcare company over $60,000 when a registered nurse needs to be replaced. With turnover rates for registered nurses that can be over thirty percent, the one in three nurses that may leave their employer in any given year amounts to a huge expense.
Healthcare employee retention programs aim to reduce the disruption caused by constant employee churn, and tuition reimbursement can be a critical tool.
A win for patients
Patients also ultimately benefit from nurse tuition reimbursement programs. More highly trained nurses improve patient outcomes. When the rate of registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees increases, the rate of many postoperative complications drops.
Studies have found that the lower the rate of turnover, the lower the incidence of in hospital complications. Room cleaning is more conscientious when turnover is lower, and the rate of medication errors drop.
FAQs: Does a nurse have to be employed prior to attending school to be eligible for tuition reimbursement?
Does a nurse have to be employed prior to attending school to be eligible for tuition reimbursement?
Every healthcare employer will have a different set of policies regarding tuition reimbursement. A nurse looking to take advantage of employer-provided nurse tuition reimbursement programs should research the specific policies for an employer if they will require reimbursement. Some healthcare employers will help defray the cost of student debt incurred prior to the commencement of employment. Some may require a nurse to already be an employee for a given period of time before offering an employee tuition assistance program.
Can an employer require their employee to work for a certain amount of time after the employer reimburses tuition?
An employer may stipulate that a nurse continues to work for the same healthcare employer for a certain amount of time following the receipt of tuition assistance. Should an employee that participates in an employer educational assistance program or employee tuition assistance program be unable to fulfill their time commitments with the employer, they may lose their tuition reimbursement benefits.
Are healthcare employers required to offer nurse tuition reimbursement programs?
In the United States, a healthcare company is not required to offer nurse tuition reimbursement programs. Any loan repayment is by agreement between employer and employee.
Will tuition reimbursement pay off my student loans?
Organizations may provide tuition reimbursement in a variety of ways. The employer may choose to pay for an employee’s tuition directly at the time of enrollment. The employer may also offer student loan repayment benefits, whereby the employer helps or entirely pays an employee’s relevant student debt.
Do all nurses receive tuition reimbursement?
Whether a nurse can utilize tuition reimbursement depends on the nurse’s financial situation and the healthcare organization’s benefits package.