College of Nursing Receives Nearly $2 Million from the Michigan Nursing Corps Initiative to Spur Increase in State\'s Educators

March 13, 2009

DETROIT - The Wayne State University College of Nursing has been awarded nearly $2 million in grants related to initiatives aimed at alleviating the state's nursing shortage.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2007 unveiled the creation of a Michigan Nursing Corps to specifically confront the state's critical shortage of nurses. The governor said the Corps will address the key obstacle to educating greater numbers of nurses - a shortage of faculty - by preparing additional nurse educators to train new nurses by the year 2010.

Specifically, the initiative supports colleges and universities with existing, accredited master's and doctoral nursing education programs, aimed at increasing nursing faculty, thus adding new nurses into the workforce.

This is the second consecutive year the College of Nursing has been awarded grants through the Nursing Corps plan. This latest round of funding will build upon the College's already successful program funded by the previous grant and double the number of students in its accelerated, 15-month master's degree program specializing in acute and critical care, while providing an accelerated conclusion to current PhD students in preparation for immediate faculty positions at universities across the state. All students participating in the Nursing Corps have made a commitment to teach in Michigan for at least five years.

The 2009 grant is part of a $5 million dollar line-item in the state budget designated by lawmakers to tackle the state's looming nursing shortage, expected to hit at least 7,000 by 2010.

"We are pleased at the initiative taken by the governor to address a basic need - alleviating the nursing shortage," says Dr. Barbara K. Redman, dean of the College of Nursing. "Such an initiative is essential to the health and well-being of Michigan citizens as well as to sustaining the state's health care industries."

Dr. Jean Davis, director of the PhD program, and Dr. Stephen Cavanagh, professor and associate dean of academic and clinical affairs, head of the master's programs, will implement the grants.

According to the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), schools of nursing nationwide still are receiving many more qualified applicants than can be accommodated. The latest AACN data shows that 27,771 qualified applicants were turned away from entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs based on responses from 406 institutions. (That number is expected to go higher when final data is available later this month.) AACN claims most schools point to a shortage of faculty as the primary reason for turning away qualified students.