As Western New York continues to battle the novel coronavirus, Congressman Brian Higgins joined D’Youville College in announcing a federal grant for the college’s nursing program. Allocated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the grant will give D’Youville $707,983 to help address a shortage of faculty available to educate future nurses.
“We can’t fill the growing demand without first identifying professionals ready to step up and train the next generation of nurses,” Higgins said. “These federal funds support D’Youville’s forward-thinking approach recognizing education and training are a critical component of improving access to quality health care.”
“This time of significant health concerns brings into focus the critical role universities play in preparing nurse educators to teach nursing students that care for the most vulnerable among us,” said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, president of D’Youville. “We are very grateful to Congressman Higgins for his assistance and support in helping us secure the recent award. Congressman Higgins is a strong and vocal advocate for federal funding that ensures underserved residents and their families have access to high quality, affordable care, which begins with quality nurse educators.”
This serves as an extension of the $401,442 grant previously awarded to the Patricia H. Garman School of Nursing last summer. This federal funding is designed to incentivize the training of nurse educators through the nurse faculty loan program.
As noted by Dr. Christine Verni, the dean of the Garman School of Nursing, “registered nurses are crucial to better health outcomes ranging from care for the growing number of Americans with complex health needs to front line delivery of care during the COVID pandemic.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there will be a need for nearly 500,000 additional registered nurses within the next six years.
Having adequate faculty to teach nursing students is critical to ensuring a sufficient supply of these health care professionals continue to enter the workforce. Despite growing demand for registered nurses throughout the country, a 2016-17 report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found an insufficient number of faculty led to more than 64,000 qualified applicants being denied from baccalaureate programs.
Through this loan-forgiveness program, D’Youville hopes to ease the monetary pressures of earning the type of advanced degrees required to become a qualified instructor. Dr. Denise Dunford, the project director of the NFLP, said such “financial barriers are often cited as the leading reason that nurses do not pursue advanced degrees.”
In order to reduce those barriers, D’Youville will use the money allocated for the NFLP to provide grants to nurses who commit to teaching after earning either a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree or a master’s degree in nursing education. This federal assistance will allow the Garman School of Nursing to continue to focus on recruiting and mentoring nurses who aspire to nursing faculty roles.
Nurses who are interested in learning more about this program should contact Dunford at [email protected].