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HHS awards $71.3 million to strengthen nursing workforce

Grants will support nursing training, nursing diversity and increase nursing faculty

CHARLESTON, SC (June 16, 2011) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced $71.3 million in grants to expand nursing education, training and diversity. Nursing workforce development programs, reauthorized by the Affordable Care Act and administered by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration, are the primary source of federal funding for nursing education and workforce development. These programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry-level preparation through the development of advanced practice nurses.  They also prepare faculty to teach the nation’s future nursing workforce.
“These awards reflect the critical role of nurses in our healthcare system, and our ongoing commitment to attract and retain highly-skilled nurses in the profession,” said Secretary Sebelius.

Awards include:  

Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention ($10.9 million – 33 awards) Strengthens nursing education and practice capacity by supporting initiatives that expand the nursing pipeline, promote career mobility for nurses, prepare more nurses at the baccalaureate level, and provide continuing education training to enhance the quality of patient care. The Affordable Care Act modified the program to enhance its focus on activities that help improve nurse retention.

Nursing Workforce Diversity ($3.6 million – 11 awards) Increases nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented among registered nurses. Grants support educational opportunities for students to become registered nurses and opportunities for practicing registered nurses to pursue a baccalaureate degree in nursing. The Affordable Care Act amended the program to include support for advanced nursing education preparation, diploma and associate degree nurses entering bridge or degree completion programs and accelerated nursing degree program students.

Nurse Faculty Loan Program ($23.4 million – 109 awards) Assists registered nurses in completing their graduate education to become qualified nurse faculty. Through grants to eligible entities, offers partial loan forgiveness for borrowers that graduate and serve as full-time nursing faculty for the prescribed period of time. The Affordable Care Act increased the annual loan limit to $35,500 from $30,000 and established a priority for doctoral nursing students.

Advanced Nursing Education Program ($16.1 million – 55 awards) Supports advanced nursing education specialty programs that educate registered nurses to become nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, nurse educators, nurse researchers/scientists, public health nurses and other advanced nurse specialists.

Advanced Education Nursing Traineeships ($16 million – 349 awards) Funds traineeships at eligible institutions for registered nurses enrolled in advanced education nursing programs. Traineeships prepare nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse administrators, nurse educators, public health nurses and nurses in other specialties requiring advanced education. The Affordable Care Act removed the 10 percent cap in this program that limited the amount of support that could go to nursing students pursuing doctoral degrees.

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeships ($1.3 million – 76 awards) Supports traineeships at eligible institutions for licensed registered nurses enrolled as full-time students in their second year of a two-year nurse anesthetist master's program.
“A well-educated, highly-skilled, and diverse nurse workforce is critical to meeting future healthcare needs,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.  “These awards expand our efforts to grow a high-quality health workforce.”

  • Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Medical University of South Carolina $80,829
  • Nursing Education $266,455
  • Nurse Anesthetist Training MUSC $5,385
  • Nurse Faculty Loan Program MUSC $130,551

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the south. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care.  MUSC is home to over 3,000 students and residents, as well as nearly 10,000 employees, including 1,300 faculty members.