Northern Arizona College (NAU) not too long ago obtained a $6.4 million grant as a part of an Arizona Division of Well being Companies (ADHS) initiative meant to handle Arizona’s nursing scarcity.
The college was one among 5 establishments throughout the state to obtain grant cash on Jan. 31, which collectively totals $43.1 million.
Every college shall be utilizing the grant to fund scholarships in accelerated nursing packages, with the requirement that recipients apply nursing in Arizona for a minimum of 4 years after receiving their diploma.
The ADHS announcement lists that NAU’s funding shall be used for 240 of the 900 complete scholarships.
“We’re dedicated to making sure college students are ready to enter the nursing workforce our state desperately wants,” president José Luis Cruz Rivera stated in NAU’s announcement. “Because of this state grant, NAU will considerably develop its nursing program choices and educate extra college students who will positively contribute to serving Arizona’s communities and deal with well being fairness all through our state.”
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The scholarships shall be awarded for college students beginning their packages as early as this summer season, and can cowl tuition and costs for your entire course of examine after different grants and scholarships are utilized. Any scholar getting into an accelerated or compressed nursing diploma program at NAU is eligible to use — the one requirement is that they might want to work in Arizona for 4 years after graduating.
Janina Johnson, the chief director of NAU’s college of nursing, stated whereas Arizona has an general want for healthcare employees, “essentially the most vital one is nursing.”
Whereas conventional nursing packages usually take 4 years to finish because of the mixture of the overall training necessities and nursing-specific courses, accelerated packages, which take at most 18 months, are “shrinking the ramp to apply.”
That is executed by providing this system in consecutive semesters reasonably than having a niche in the summertime and rising the variety of credit taken every semester (from 12-15 to 17-19).
NAU has two accelerated nursing packages eligible for this scholarship — the accelerated BSN obtainable in Flagstaff and North Valley and the compressed BSN obtainable in Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma.
On Feb. 24, the State Board of Nursing permitted NAU’s increasing its accelerated nursing program to be supplied in North Valley in addition to Flagstaff, saving college students some journey time. This program is a post-baccalaureate, requiring an present non-nursing diploma and takes 12 months to finish over three consecutive semesters.
The compressed BSN takes 16 months to finish and doesn’t require a bachelor’s diploma. It’s supplied at NAU’s Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma campuses and is accomplished by way of 4 consecutive semesters.
Scholarships for the accelerated program shall be obtainable to college students beginning this summer season, whereas college students beginning in fall 2023 would be the first eligible for scholarships within the compressed program.
“The purpose of the grant is to speed up nurses into the nursing workforce and to assist deal with the scarcity of nursing in Arizona,” Johnson stated. “…In Arizona, we rank within the prime 5 states for the scarcity, with vital shortages in areas for underserved populations, together with rural areas.”
She stated NAU’s packages had a concentrate on rural and underserved areas, together with content material about weak populations and social determinants of well being of their curricula and having a majority of placements in rural areas.
Nearly all of NAU’s grant funding — $5.2 million — will go in direction of scholarships for college students in its accelerated nursing packages. The remainder shall be used to assist practising physicians, monitor scholarships and scholar progress in addition to different administrative duties associated to implementing the scholarships.
Over 200 scholarships shall be awarded for the yr this grant has been funded, Johnson estimated.
These scholarships come alongside an growth of NAU’s nursing packages, together with the accelerated program’s growth to North Valley.
Enrollment throughout the packages is predicted to double by way of this grant, Johnson stated, with the compressed program doubling its present price of 80 college students every semester and the accelerated program rising from 30 to 70 college students.
These totals are anticipated to proceed, even after the scholarship funding has been exhausted. Johnson stated this may also assist with the scarcity, as nursing packages typically obtain extra functions than they’ve openings. The Flagstaff nursing program, for instance, had 120 candidates for under 30 seats.
”Nationwide, [nursing education programs] flip away many college students as a result of there’s not sufficient seats in nursing,” she stated, noting that many nursing faculties battle to seek out medical placements and college.
At NAU, 120 college students will apply for 30 open seats within the Flagstaff nursing program and the seats added by way of these expansions will assist convey extra candidates into its packages.
Johnson additionally famous that it will additional NAU’s purpose of offering equitable entry to training, eradicating an financial barrier to greater training.
“I believe it’s an exquisite manner for Arizona to assist the expansion that we’re seeing within the state,” she stated of the ADHS grant. “I believe that’s one thing different states can be taught from. Arizona is on the forefront of that as you present state cash to assist increase the nursing workforce and addressing the vital scarcity that now we have.”
Extra about NAU’s nursing packages and the scholarships might be discovered at nau.edu/nursing.