Gov. Nixon announces initiative to boost nursing graduates in Missouri
Governor cites UMKC as a 'point of excellence' in health care education
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference at the UMKC School of Nursing on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 to announce an expansion of the Caring for Missourians initiative that could infuse Missouri’s public universities with an additional $3 million over the next three years to educate more nurses.
"Nursing is a vital and rewarding profession, and students who earn degrees in nursing have a pathway to a secure and rewarding career," Gov. Nixon said. "By investing in nursing education, we are meeting a vital need for more qualified health professionals in Missouri, and we are helping students compete in a rapidly growing industry. This is a strategic investment in the health of Missourians and the health of our economy."
Launched in fall 2009, Caring for Missourians was a one-time investment of $40 million to increase the number of nurses, physicians, dentists and other health professionals being educated at Missouri’s public colleges and universities. Colleges and universities developed individual plans for how they would invest their Caring for Missourians funds.
In the nursing field alone, the state’s public, four-year universities planned to increase the capacity of existing degree programs by 284 seats because of Caring for Missourians. Of that total, 203 seats were part of a one-time increase, but the remaining 81 seats were added on a permanent basis.
The Board of Nursing has voted to award $1 million in grants each year in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014 to hire faculty to sustain the enrollment increases at Missouri’s four-year universities. Funds for the grants would come from the license fees nurses pay to the state of Missouri.
The number of nursing students who could be educated under this initiative would depend on the universities’ grant applications. It is estimated that the $3 million investment would fund approximately 13 full-time faculty positions each year for three years. Before the grants can be awarded, the General Assembly must approve a statutory change.
“I commend the Board of Nursing for its vision and its willingness to help us educate more nurses through Caring for Missourians,” Gov. Nixon said. “We have a pressing need for more nurses in Missouri, and I encourage the General Assembly to act quickly to help us get more Missourians working in this critical area.”
“Gov. Nixon clearly understands the importance of nurses for our health care system and our state’s economy,” said Aubrey F. Moncrief, president of the Missouri State Board of Nursing. “We are proud to stand with the Governor to support the Caring for Missourians initiative and to extend the increase in the capacity of Missouri’s nursing degree programs. We look forward to welcoming hundreds of additional nurses to our ranks in the coming years.”
“When students graduate from UMKC with a nursing degree, they move directly from the classroom to the workforce,” said Dr. Thad Wilson, acting dean of the UMKC School of Nursing. “Caring for Missourians has allowed us to provide a quality education to more students at every level of the nursing profession. This investment by the Board of Nursing would help us sustain that increase for three additional years and prepare more students for successful careers. We applaud the leadership both Gov. Nixon and the Board of Nursing on this critical initiative.”
Posted: December 7, 2010