Belmont University’s School of Nursing recently received $30,000 of a health care grant secured by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and The Tennessee Center for Nursing from the Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN). PIN is a national initiative led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Health Foundation to develop solutions to America’s nursing shortage.
Together with Vanderbilt University, Belmont will be using the funds to implement a Teaching Institute to assist nursing faculty across the state to develop informatics and simulation technology skills. In addition, the School of Nursing will be recruiting expert clinical nurses to become “faculty extenders” for students.
In related news, Belmont’s Inman Center, home to the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, served as the site of a press conference Aug. 17 to announce that funds have been raised to support Gov. Phil Bredesen’s campaign, The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program. The campaign initially kicked off in January with a goal to direct $1.4 million into a scholarship program that would help current registered nurses (RNs) pay the costs of earning graduate teaching degrees in nursing.
More than 2,000 nursing student applicants were turned away by Tennessee schools last year due to a lack of nursing faculty to train them. Friday’s press conference on campus was held to announce that the $1.4 million goal has been reached, and 64 nursing graduate students will start classes this fall under the program. With these scholarships, for every year an RN teaching degree graduate teaches in a Tennessee nursing school, 25 percent of their student loan will be forgiven.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation is the largest program supporter, with a contribution of $700,000 to the scholarship fund. Other major corporate donors include Caremark Rx, HCA, Saint Thomas Health Services and Tennessee Hospital Association member hospitals.
Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN, who was on hand for the event at Belmont and is pictured above, said, “The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program is an outstanding example of how public-private partnerships can improve the quality of health care for all Tennesseans. We appreciate Gov. Bredesen’s support for this important cause. We hope to see funding increase and the program continue to grow in the future.”