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$3.8 million grant to UMMC aims to bolster nursing education

A multi-million grant awarded to the University of Mississippi Medical Center will allow 64 registered nurses to continue their education in order to create critically-needed health care administrators and community college nursing educators. 

The grant from the Bower Foundation funds the ‘Building a Strong Future for Nursing in Mississippi’ project, providing full tuition and a stipend to registered nurses with associate degrees entering UMMC’s Master of Science in Nursing program for RNs.

“The grant investments of the Bower Foundation seek to benefit health and health care outcomes in our state,” Anne Travis, Bower Foundation CEO, said “This grant to UMMC for the benefit of community college nursing faculty and students statewide will build nurse educator and nurse manager capacity in Mississippi.”

The program aims to address the need for additional nursing educators at the state’s community colleges. Data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing shows that more than 80,000 applicants were turned away from undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in 2019 due to a lack of faculty as well as insufficient classroom space, clinical sites and preceptors and budget constraints. 

“This investment in nursing education will result in more nurses in the state, and, for the 64 recipients, a leap forward in their nursing careers, Dr. Julie Sanford, dean of the School of Nursing, said. “There is a dire need for nurses in Mississippi as well as nationwide. This generous grant from the Bower Foundation will provide the education that will put more nursing educators in Mississippi’s community colleges around the state. This grant will be transformational for the state and for the students in this program.”

This comes as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 175,000 openings for RNs each year through 2029.

Of the 64 scholarships awarded, 32 will be in the MSN nursing education track, and 32 will go to incoming students in the MSN nursing and health care administrator track. The scholarships will be awarded to incoming RN-to-MSN students in 2022 and 2023. Each student will also receive a stipend and funding to purchase a laptop computer meeting program specifications.

Nurses will be nominated for the scholarships by the community colleges from which they graduated. Participating community colleges are Coahoma, East Central, East Mississippi, Hinds, Holmes, Itawamba, Jones, Meridian, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Northeast Mississippi, Northwest Mississippi, Pearl River and Southwest community colleges.

The program also will support current nurse educators at the community college level by expanding the School of Nursing’s Dean’s Emerging Academic Leaders program, or DEAL, statewide, and by providing online resources from UMMC.

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