Thanks to a $377,000 grant from the state’s Nursing Education Incentive Program, Missouri State University can expand its nursing program.
“This award is an honor and I’m ecstatic we were selected for this,” said Patterson. “The goal is to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty, which will allow us to educate more pre-licensure students to help with the current nursing shortage in our community.”
Grant initiatives and impact
The grant will provide funds for two new faculty members to teach in the accelerated Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.
This accelerated option will focus on clinical practice leadership, with additional funds to provide partial scholarships or traineeships to students who complete the program with a commitment to teach in a Missouri Higher Education School of Nursing for a minimum of three years.
“Our focus is on developing an accelerated MSN program, which reduces the time to complete the degree to increase the number of qualified nurse leaders,” Patterson said. “The program’s shorter structure will appeal to those seeking a quick turnaround.”
Addressing educational gaps and community needs
The School of Nursing’s proposal aligns with the pressing need to address gaps in nursing education. The shortage of qualified nursing faculty has led to the denial of admission to many eligible applicants.
MSU’s undergraduate nursing program has denied admission to 286 eligible applicants since 2020. This is due to resource constraints, including faculty shortages and limited clinical placements.
“We have a critical shortage of nursing faculty necessary to support applicants for our program,” Patterson said. “One-third of the current nursing faculty workforce in bachelor’s and graduate degree programs will retire by 2025.”
The grant marks a step in retaining nursing educators and addressing the retirement of a large part of the current nursing workforce.
“Now that we have the funding, our work begins in earnest. We aim to exceed the expectations set by this grant,” Patterson said. “Our mission is to produce high-quality clinical nurse leaders to support the community’s health care needs.”