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UTHSC lands nursing workforce diversity funds

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the University of Tennessee Health Science Center $269,012 for nursing workforce diversity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the University of Tennessee Health Science Center $269,012 for nursing workforce diversity.

“Like with any institution, the more diversity there is the better the workforce will be,” said Congressman Steve Cohen, who announced the awarded funds on Tuesday. “These new federal funds will enable the Center to educate and employ more nurses from diverse backgrounds, which will help improve our core of nurses across the nation.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration recently awarded federal funds to 52 institutions “to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (including racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented among registered nurses) by providing student scholarships or stipends, pre-entry preparation, and retention activities.”

As baby boomers age and as the need for health care escalates, so does the need for nurses. The Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 more than 500,000 nurses will be needed to fill the void.

According to Millicent Gorham, executive director of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), there are more than enough individuals who aspire to become nurses, but there are not enough faculty members to teach willing students.

Other factors include not enough spaces to provide clinical sessions at hospitals or community health centers, and too few grants, scholarships or loans available for amenable students.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has partnered with the Institute of Medicine to conduct a major study designed to give a clear view of the delivery of nursing services during the shortage and provide a blueprint for action, including changes in public and institutional policies at the national, state, and local levels.

The NBNA also plans to launch the Summer Youth Enrichment Program to help students (8 to 18) better understand what it takes to become a nurse, stressing the importance of adequate high school science, math, English and writing courses preparing them for college.

(This story includes a NNPA report, courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder.)

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