Faculty Associate Joseph Tran helps train Edson College prelicensure students. Photo by Mitchell Tay/ASU

Arizona universities receive major grant to end nursing shortage in Arizona

Faculty Associate Joseph Tran helps train Edson College prelicensure students. Photo by Mitchell Tay/ASU

Arizona universities receive major grant to end nursing shortage in Arizona

Arizona’s three public research universities; Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, as well as Grand Canyon University and Creighton University have all received a major grant from the Arizona Department of Health Services to combat the nursing shortage Arizona hospitals currently face.

The $43.1 million funding will primarily provide scholarships to nearly 900 nursing students to help accelerate the completion of their studies and address the state’s shortage of nurses, according to the AZDHS website. The scholarships will specifically target programs designed to allow students to complete a bachelors and masters degree in 12-18 months. Scholarship recipients must also agree to practice nursing in Arizona for at least four years upon the completion of their degrees.

Programs receiving funding and the amounts are:

  • Arizona State University: $5.6 million for 104 scholarships
  • Creighton University (Phoenix): $5.9 million for 80 scholarships
  • Grand Canyon University: $16 million for 300 scholarships
  • Northern Arizona University: $6.4 million for 240 scholarships
  • University of Arizona: $9.2 million for 158 scholarships

“This is a dire nursing need,” said Judith Karshmer, dean of Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, which is located on the Phoenix Bioscience Core.

Twenty percent of the funds for ASU will also go toward full-time faculty and part-time faculty, an ASU news article states. One of the other major challenges that impact the nursing shortage is the fact that nursing schools in the U.S. turned away more than 90,000 applicants last year due to insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites and classroom space.

“Our goal is to have the students getting experience there to stay there,” Karshmer said. “Hopefully, it will give them a chance to think about moving to or working in, say, Wickenburg or one of those other small towns.”

For NAU, which has nursing programs across the state, this will introduce a new compressed bachelor’s in nursing (CBSN) program designed for students with some college experience. This is expected to launch in fall 2023.

“Thanks to this state grant, NAU will significantly expand its nursing program offerings and educate more students who will positively contribute to serving Arizona’s communities and address health equity throughout our state,” said NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera in a statement.

University of Arizona will use the funding to drive 158 scholarships for its College of Nursing’s Master of Science in Nursing – Entry to the Profession of Nursing (MS-MEPN), it said in a statement.

“We are thrilled at the additional support we are receiving from the State of Arizona,” said College of Nursing Interim Dean Kathleen Insel, PhD, RN. “These scholarships to our MS-MEPN program students will not only help address the ongoing nursing shortage, but also allow bachelor-prepared students in other fields to re-career as nurses, starting an exciting new career in a highly rewarding and in-demand field. It really is a win-win for the state, the students and the citizens of Arizona.”


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