For the second year in a row, the Curry College School of Nursing has received a Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
With the continuation of grant funding, this year totaling $133,038, between eight and ten graduate nursing students pursuing a Master of Science degree at the College will again have their full tuition covered for the 2021-2022 academic year. Curry College is one of few in the region to offer a graduate program with a specialized track in nursing education.
The NFLP is a one-year funding opportunity designed to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty by supporting graduate students committed to becoming nurse educators in accredited U.S. nursing schools. Loans are provided to nursing students who receive up to 85% loan cancellation in exchange for full-time post-graduate employment as a nurse educator.
The grant is designed to help fill the gaps in what is rapidly becoming a significant shortage of qualified nursing faculty in the U.S., even while interest in nursing careers has never been higher and the need and demand within healthcare increases.
“Throughout the country, there are qualified nursing students that are turned away from undergraduate programs because of the scarcity of nursing faculty,” says Dr. Michelle McMahon, dean of the School of Nursing. “The average age of a nurse educator is increasing, and as they retire, we must invest in new faculty to prepare the next generation of nurses. It’s critical to the nation’s nursing workforce.”
Before she became an allergy and asthma nurse in a private practice in Brockton, Raynham, and Milford, Margeaux Fillion RN, MSN ’22, taught second grade and preschool. She has been able to combine her dream of becoming a nurse with her love of teaching in her current role, where she guides patients, especially children, through their new asthma diagnoses, helping them manage with new medication. The Curry MSN program was a perfect fit for her, and the NFLP scholarship will help her achieve her post-graduation ambition of working full time as a nurse educator in an academic setting (while still keeping some shifts per diem as a clinical nurse to stay abreast of the newest evidence-based information).
“I love the classroom, so to be able to combine life skills with teaching is a dream,” says Fillion. “Nursing is such a work of art, and that truly begins in the classroom. I cannot wait to help guide the nurses of tomorrow. I will understand their struggles and fears. I was lucky to graduate nursing school with honors, so to help others achieve this goal would be truly fulfilling.”
Dr. McMahon hopes to continue the funding for future nurse educators at the College. “The NFLP is a great resource for recruiting nurse educators, and by being able to take some of the financial worries away while balancing both career and academics, it’s a tremendous benefit to our students. Now that we’ve been successfully awarded, we will continue to apply for the grant and hope the program remains funded to aid our deserving students for years to come.”