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TitleUSD Receives $1.17 Million Grant to Fight Nursing Shortage
ContactLiz Harman
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The University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science has been awarded a $1.17 million grant to ease the nursing shortage by boosting the number of nurse educators.

The grant, awarded this summer by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides loans to graduate and doctoral students pursuing an advanced degree with the intention of teaching nursing. USD’s grant was the third largest in the nation among the $23.5 million in grants for the program funded through the 2010 appropriations process. Only Case Western Reserve University with a grant of $1.8 million and Vanderbilt University Medical Center with $1.6 million received larger awards.

Under the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, students can have up to 85 percent of the loan forgiven in exchange for service as full-time nursing faculty members at an accredited school of nursing.

USD’s School of Nursing has been funded by the program for the last five years and will receive continuing funding for 36 current students and 17 new applicants. This spring, six PhD students graduated with support from the program. Five have been hired for full-time faculty positions and one has a part-time position.

“Nationally we need a projected one million new registered nurses by 2020,” said Sally Brosz Hardin, dean of USD’s School of Nursing. “Yet only 64 percent of the projected demand will be met at current graduation rates leaving a shortfall of more than 450,000. California currently has the worst nursing shortage in the nation with 109,000 registered nurse positions open,” Hardin said.

“The key driver in the shortage is the lack of nursing faculty to train future generations of nurse professionals,” Hardin explained. “By providing nurses an incentive to become educators, these grants  can have a major impact in reducing the severe shortage facing California and the nation.”  Educating nurses is also labor intensive. A ratio of one faculty member for 10 to 12 students, for example, is required for the clinical training of registered nurses.

“We are excited to play a leading role in providing the nurses needed to ensure quality health care in San Diego and California,” Hardin said. As the sole graduate-only nursing school in San Diego, USD is uniquely positioned to alleviate the nursing shortage through the preparation of nurse faculty and advanced practice nurses. USD is driving the supply of nurses in the region. At California State University, San Marcos, 50 percent of the nursing faculty are USD graduates. They make up 34 percent of the faculty at Point Loma Nazarene University and 21 percent at San Diego State University.

“USD’s school of nursing also drives the quality of nursing by producing most of the advanced degreed and practice nurses who are the executive nurse leaders and specialty care managers, helping to drive patient care and quality at San Diego’s hospitals and health care providers,” Hardin added.

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