Last Round of 2010 Scholarships Awarded to Nurses for Commitment to Teach in Massachusetts

Nursing Initiative Improves Faculty Shortage

The Massachusetts Hospital Research and Education Association (MHREA) in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MDHE) today announced the recipients of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation Nurse Scholarships for the last round of scholarships awarded in 2010.

Scholarships were awarded to the following seven nurses, who each committed to teaching nursing in Massachusetts upon graduation. The awardees, their hometowns, and the degree track and school of nursing in which they are currently enrolled are:

To meet the urgent need for nurse educators, Tufts Health Plan Foundation developed the Nurse Scholars Program in collaboration with MDHE and MHREA, a subsidiary of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. Two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) was granted to MHREA to administer scholarships of up to $10,000 each to clinical nurses in master’s and doctoral nursing programs in Massachusetts to address the nursing shortage by ensuring the ability to educate new nurses.

The combination of an aging workforce, a generation of nursing faculty approaching retirement, and the increasing healthcare demands of baby boomers is expected to soon place burdens on the healthcare delivery system that far exceed the supply of available nurses. According to an MDHE survey, the most effective strategy for addressing the nursing shortage is to expand the number of nursing faculty available to teach.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Karen Nelson, R.N., and Anne Marie Boursiquot King, director of grants of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation co-chaired the award selection committee of five nursing workforce leaders.

Maureen Sroczynski, Chief Nursing Consultant to the MDHE, said, “The workforce pipeline is clogged at the higher education level with nursing schools flooded by applications, but not enough nursing faculty to meet the demand.”

“This program will help put both nursing educators and students into classrooms, increase the workforce, and ensure enough nurses are at the bedside when we need them,” Nelson added.

David Abelman, executive director of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, believes that investing in nursing education is one way that the Foundation demonstrates its commitment to promote quality healthcare. “It is well-documented that the shortage of qualified nurses has been an issue in recent years. All of us are patients at one time or another and will be affected by this problem, so Tufts Health Plan Foundation is glad to partner with like-minded organizations that are seeking solutions. We believe that providing scholarships to nurse educators is one solution, and we are pleased to congratulate the scholarship awardees,” he said.

Since the Nursing Initiative began in 2008, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation Nurse Scholarships distributed aid to a total 36 future nurse educators. The Foundation’s $250,000 served as a catalyst to obtain a matching grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN). The PIN grant provided 10 additional scholarship opportunities to nurses and advances the current collaborative efforts of the Nursing Initiative to Rhode Island and New Hampshire through 2011.

About MHA: The Massachusetts Hospital Association is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of hospitals and health systems, related organizations, and other members with a common interest in promoting the health of the people of the Commonwealth. Through leadership in public advocacy, education, and information, MHA represents and advocates for the collective interests of its member hospitals and health systems, and supports their efforts to provide high quality, cost effective, and accessible care.

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