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IN THE NEWS: Bredesen announces $1.4 million in graduate scholarship funds to curtail shortage of nursing educators
IN THE NEWS: Bredesen announces $1.4 million in graduate scholarship funds to curtail shortage of nursing educators

Earlier this month, during a press conference, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen announced a significant infusion of scholarship funds to help ease the shortage of nursing faculty in the state. The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, which would help current R.N.s pay the costs of earning graduate teaching degrees in nursing, will pay for 100 R.N.s to return to school, beginning in Fall 2007, and will send up to 100 R.N.s back to school for graduate studies each subsequent year.

EXPERT OPINION: Dr. Chita Farrar, director of the School of Nursing at Austin Peay State University, is delighted by the governor's action. “We now have 200 qualified students at Austin Peay, waiting to enter our baccalaureate nursing program, but we cannot accept them because of the lack of nursing faculty.”

According to Farrar, almost 2,500 student applicants were denied entrance to Tennessee's nursing schools in 2006, because the state lacked the nursing faculty to train them. To teach nursing, faculty must hold a doctorate or Master of Science in Nursing.

APSU's contribution to the Master of Science in Nursing-Regents Online Degree Program (M.S.N.-RODP) is the concentration in nursing educationand APSU is the only TBR university to offer this particular concentration.

Farrar said, “The number of students we can accept into our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is directly proportionate to the number of faculty we haveand, at APSU and statewide, there is a tremendous demand for nursing educators.

“Since nursing is such a hands-on program, it's imperative that the ratio of our nursing students to faculty be extremely low. Anyone who has been a patient in a hospital knows how assuring it is to know that the nurses in whose hands you may literally place your life have been trained intensely in the complicated and detailed aspects of nursing procedure and patient care.”

The state of Tennessee data indicates that 383 nurse faculty positions will be needed by 2010.

For more information about the online Master of Science in Nursing, Education Concentration, contact Farrar or Dr. Doris Davenport, professor of nursing, by telephone at (931) 221-7737.

Created by the APSU Office of Public Relations and Marketing, “Local Angle” is a service to selected media. Telephone Dennie Burke at (931) 221-7450. The opinions expressed are those of APSU faculty and do not represent the official opinion of Austin Peay State University.