OKLAHOMA CITY – The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma has been awarded more than $2.7 million in two federal grants from Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Both grants are designed to help improve Oklahoma’s critical nursing shortage.
“Together this federal funding provides Oklahoma nurses with the opportunity to advance their education as advanced practice RNs and/or nurse faculty,” said Julie Hoff, Ph.D., MPH, R.N., dean of the OU College of Nursing. “Improving access to graduate nursing education addresses two critical nursing workforce needs in Oklahoma: 1) increases the number of nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists in rural communities, thus improving access to care, and 2) increases the number of nurses prepared to be faculty in Oklahoma nursing programs.”
Over 59% of Oklahoma’s population – compared to 32% nationally – lives in a designated primary care Health Professional Shortage Area, according to the State Department of Health. Recruiting and educating nurses for advanced practice is critical – especially in rural communities – to improving access to primary care, women’s health and mental health services, which subsequently improves health outcomes.
HRSA’s Nurse Faculty Loan Program grant addresses not only the need for additional nurses with graduate degrees in Oklahoma, but also the faculty needed to prepare the next generation of nurses at all levels. The OU College of Nursing curriculum prepares nurses to address health disparities, social determinants of health, health equity, and behavioral health integration. Loans from the NFLP will provide up to $40,000 an academic year per eligible graduate student to help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, lab expenses and other reasonable education expenses.
Melissa Craft, Ph.D., APRN-CNS, FCNS FAAN, associate dean for clinical affairs, outreach and practice innovation in the OU College of Nursing, is principal investigator for the NFLP grant.
The second HRSA award – Oklahoma Workforce Innovations in Nursing – is a four-year grant to provide financial support to 24 advanced practice nursing students per year at the OU College of Nursing. The $2.5 million award funds scholarships and stipends for 12 full-time and nine part-time advanced practice students annually in the family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and adult/gerontology clinical nurse specialist tracks of the college’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. These funds will allow students to earn an advanced degree, focus their efforts on their education without accruing large amounts of debt, increase their knowledge and skills and have a greater impact on patient care.
This grant will also enable the school to expand its curriculum, strengthen academic-clinical partnerships in underserved rural and urban areas, and provide professional development for preceptors and faculty.
Amy Costner-Lark, DNP, APRN-CNP, FNP, assistant dean for academic affairs and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the OU College of Nursing, is the principal investigator for this grant.
The Nurse Faculty Loan Program funding is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of an award totaling $206,603 with 10% financed with non-governmental sources.
The Oklahoma Workforce Innovations in Nursing funding of $2.5 million is supported solely by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The contents of these grants are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit ou.edu.