Nursing receives $400,000 grant

Shawntaye Hopkins

Nurses from across the state will put down their needles and take a shot at education this summer at Western.

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., presented Western with $400,000 in federal money on Thursday to fund a nursing program that will help to recruit nursing faculty.

The accelerated faculty development program will give 15 nurses an opportunity to obtain a master of science in nursing with an emphasis in nursing education. Each participant will receive $25,000 to help compensate for lost wages, nursing department head Donna Blackburn said.

The other $25,000 will be used to provide stipends for the Western nursing faculty who teach this summer, she said.

Most of the participants are from Kentucky and will be allowed to teach in any university nursing program after completing the development program, Blackburn said.

The program will begin on July 1 and end in August 2005.

Participants will also be able to take the courses on the Web or through interactive television, she said.

The program was designed to help ease a shortage in nursing faculty that extends nationwide, Blackburn said. About 16,000 qualified students were not accepted this year into programs across the country because of the shortage.

“We’re hoping that this, in some small way, will help ease the nursing shortage at least in our state, hopefully,” Blackburn said.

John Bonaguro, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, said a nationwide shortage of 3 million nurses is expected by 2010.

“We think this program, and the idea behind it, is a step to fill that gap,” Bunning said in a press release. “This check won’t change the world, but at least it will help to make a difference not only for Western, but eventually for the students who will move on from here throughout the commonwealth.”

Bonaguro said he believes the program will be successful and might also attract more students to the nursing program at Western.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]