SLU Grant Seeks to Address Nursing Shortage

Photo of a nurse at a patient's bedside.

Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Nursing has received a federal grant to help increase the number of nurses who want to add an advanced degree to their resume.The St. Louis American reports that the $341,000 grant will be used for scholarships for nurses who want to pursue an online master’s or doctor of nursing practices degrees in family, adult-gerontology or pediatrics nursing.

There is a tremendous shortage of primary care nurse practitioners in rural and inner city areas, Dr. Mary Lee Barron, director of the advance nursing programs at the school, told the news outlet. “Because about 60 percent of our nursing students wind up in medically underserved areas, this is a good opportunity for Saint Louis University to help address a critical problem in the health care system. The goal is to get nurse practitioners in communities where they can do the most good. “Officials at SLU said 38 nurses were able to earn their advanced degree because of the federal scholarship money. They said they will expand the program this year to at least 50 students.Meanwhile, despite an increase in the number of nurses currently enrolled in advanced courses, there are not enough facilities or teachers for students looking to pursue a career in nursing.The American College of Medical Quality reports that the U.S. will face a shortage of approximately 1 million nurses by 2030. The need for nurse practitioners who have an advanced degree on their resumes is also expected to rise as the Affordable Care Act will extend health insurance benefits to 33 million Americans by 2022.However, part of the problem is that many colleges and universities have had to turn away nursing students. According to the Raleigh Triangle Business Journal, U.S. nursing schools had to turn away more than 75,500 qualified applicants due to lack of funds, classroom space or sufficient faculty.

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