Release Date: August 3, 2016
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The United States can’t hire enough nurses to fill staffing shortages in both the workforce and among university instructors.
To help meet the growing need, the University at Buffalo School of Nursing has received two grants for a total of nearly $2.2 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The funds will allow the school to hire two primary care nurse practitioners to serve in rural and underserved areas within Western New York, and will support 23 students pursuing a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree with grants of up to $20,000.
With the country in need of more than a million nurses by 2022 and a third of registered nurses expected to retire within five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing schools are struggling to produce enough graduates to fill the void.
“There are thousands of qualified applicants rejected from nursing schools every year because we don’t have enough seats in the classrooms, or we don’t have the faculty to teach them,” says Tammy Austin-Ketch, PhD, principal investigator on the grants, and clinical professor and assistant dean for MS and DNP programs in the School of Nursing.
“With the combination of these two HRSA grants, we can potentially increase the number of health care providers in rural and underserved areas that are traditionally underrepresented by physicians.”
Using the HRSA Advanced Nursing Education grant, which will provide $1.85 million over three years, UB will establish a new academic clinical partnership with the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) to hire two full-time primary care nurse practitioners who will also serve as part-time UB faculty.
The nurse practitioners will provide services at two Native American health care clinics – Tuscarora Health Center and Seneca Gaming Clinic – and at the Golisano Center for Community Health. The grant will also help improve UB and NFMMC telehealth capabilities.
The School of Nursing will use a nearly $350,000 Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship grant to fund the HRSA Primary Care Scholars Program, which will provide scholarship support to 12 full-time and 11 part-time students.
The program, which begins this fall, aims to increase the number of nursing students entering DNP programs, who after graduation are able to pursue faculty positions at colleges and universities. Graduates who choose not to teach are encouraged to practice as primary care nurse practitioners in underserved areas where they are needed most, says Austin-Ketch.
The scholarship will partially cover the cost of tuition, housing, living expenses and books. In return, students are required to complete at least 15 hours of service each semester, whether in the community or by serving as a tutor or teaching assistant for the School of Nursing.