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Georgia Southern University School of Nursing Awarded Nearly $800,000 to Address Nationwide Shortage of Nursing Faculty

02-15 nurseGeorgia Southern University’s School of Nursing has been awarded a three-year grant for $792,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant is designed to enhance the university’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program to address the shortage of nursing faculty.

The project will prepare advance practice nurses in the DNP program with additional course work in nursing education. The state of Georgia ranks number 44 in the nation in the number of nurses per population. Principle investigators are Elaine Marshall, PhD, RN, professor, Endowed Chair and director of Center for Nursing Scholarship and Donna Hodnicki, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN, LNC, interim chair and professor.

Marshall says that this grant comes at an important time noting, “it is especially significant in view of the low health status indicators within the state of Georgia.” “This grant will enable us to focus on expanding the number of nursing faculty members which is critical to helping address the shortage of trained nurses. The state and country need more faculty to train nursing students and this will help Georgia Southern to expand its contributions in this area.”

According to America’s Health Rankings, Georgia ranks 43rd of the 50 states in overall health indicators, such as poverty, infectious disease, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and health disparities. Further, Georgia ranks among the lowest third in the nation in prenatal care, insurance coverage, and access to primary care services. Even more serious than the shortage of nurses is the shortage in nursing faculty to prepare nurses to meet such serious health care needs.

“Of the 3.5 million nurses in the country, less than one percent holds the terminal (doctoral) degree to assume positions as faculty members in university settings,” said Marshall. “This grant will not only help to alleviate an enormous need, but it will build on the reputation and stature of Georgia Southern University.”

Nationally, experts project a shortage of 200,000 nurses by 2020 and a significant shortage of primary care providers. The greatest barrier to increasing the number of baccalaureate, master’s prepared nurse practitioners to provide primary care, and doctoral nurses is the current nationwide nursing faculty shortage.

“This new grant provides us the ability to significantly impact the nursing faculty shortage in Georgia,” said Hodnicki. “Georgia Southern’s online DNP program builds upon the foundation of our nationally recognized family nurse practitioner program which began in 1983. Georgia Southern was among only 40 out of several hundred applicants to be funded. “This speaks to the quality of the programs and high regard held for the School of Nursing at Georgia Southern University.”

The School of Nursing programs prepare BSN, RN to BSN, MSN family nurse practitioners and DNP prepared nurses. For more information on campus and online nursing programs at Georgia Southern, visit http://chhs.georgiasouthern.edu/nursing.

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