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NAU receives $6.4 million grant to expand accelerated nursing programs and scholarships

In an effort to address the nationwide shortage of health care workers, Northern Arizona University is introducing a new compressed bachelor’s in nursing (CBSN) program

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Northern Arizona University (NAU) received a $6.4 million grant to expand its accelerated nursing programs to 16 months.

Janina Johnson, NAU's School of Nursing Executive Director says there's a critical shortage of nurses in the rural and underserved areas, and by accelerating the number of nurses we can get into the workforce more quickly, they're helping address that shortage.

"And the shortage is due for multiple factors. Some is very high turnover in our nursing profession right now spurred on by or amplified by the pandemic, and so we're seeing nurses burnout. Maybe it wasn't the right fit when they started," continues Johnson. "We also are an aging population of nurses so we are having mass retirement of nurses as we go on."

The grant also includes full tuition scholarships to 240 students, divided among all NAU campuses.

"Yuma, Tucson, the valley and Flagstaff as well. And so those 240 scholarships will be divided among the different areas statewide as we bring in the new accelerated programs," mentions Johnson. "Specifically to Yuma, we anticipate 40 students will be awarded those scholarships. Our application cycle does open in April."

The new compressed bachelor’s in nursing (CBSN) program is set to start in fall 2023 with prerequisites required.

NAU anticipates about 20 students starting at that time and 20 more in spring 2024.

"Those numbers aren't hard set," adds Johnson. "If we have great interest, we would be able to increase the number of nursing students that we could have there in the Yuma area."

After graduation, each scholarship recipient is required to work for four years as a nurse in Arizona.

Dr. Daniel Corr, Arizona Western College's president says he's proud of their partnership with NAU and together they will do amazing things for this community.

"And a lot of people who might want to be nurses or enter into higher ed are deterred because they don't have the finances or don't think they have the finances," says Dr. Corr. "And now with this scholarship opportunity, for folks to go directly into the baccalaureate program with NAU or start an associate program with AWC, income is no longer a barrier."

Dr. Corr mentions AWC nursing program also received a grant for about $700,000 and is going to move their nursing cohort from 40 to 60.

"It really is a win win win all the way around," states Dr. Corr.

Joshua Franz, third year AWC nursing student says working with NAU students at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is beneficial.

"So because we have class at the same campus, as well as having an externship at the hospital as a lot of the NAU students do, it's nice to just be able to learn from each other and the end goal is really patient care and helping patients in the hospital," explains Franz.

For the application and more information about the CBSN program, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma Education

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Vanessa Gongora

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