The government can provide you with a list OR you could ask your facility if they are on that list and then verify that it is so.
If I recall correctly, the application process was a bit lengthy. Two yrs. after I applied I was contacted from the Federal level to inquire as to whether I was still interested.
I agreed and signed contract. At that time the contract was for 1 yr. working full-time and remaining in good standing with my "needs" employer. It was totally up to this Federal program whether they would pick-up the following two yrs. as Congress funds the program from yr. to yr. Happily for me they did.
A few things you should know:
The rules are strict and unbending. You are beholding to your "needs" facility for the contracted amount of time; the first yr. for sure and the following two yrs. if your contract is continued. Should you be fired and/or decide to go elsewhere it must be to another "needs" facility as outlined in the contract. There cannot be a lapse in employment from one needs facility to another. Also, all that this program pays toward your student loans MUST be reported as earned income. If I recall correctly this requires a bit different way to file income tax. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE A TAX SPECIALIST FILE FOR YOU (it was for me) so that all your i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Don't overlook the fine print as you are beholding to every word!
BE AWARE: should you be unable to fulfill your contract then all monies given to date of failure must be repaid in full. I don't recall if it was an immediate repayment or negotiated installments.
I contracted this program several yrs. ago and the rules may have changed a bit since then. At any rate, I'd recommend you look at a list of "needs" facilities and program information before applying and definately before signing contract. That way you'll know the qualifying facilities in your area in the event that you'd need to change employers
Another thing to know is that a designation of a "needs" facility may not be all about the Nursing shortage. It may be due to being rural or hard-core urban. It could also be the facility politics or level of staffing that has them on that list.
Anyway, if you can meet contract it certainly can help with your Nursing debt.
I wish you well. Welcome to Nursing!