*Note: the classroom photo above features Dr. Michelle McMahon leading an MSN course in 2015.
Curry College announced today that the School of Nursing received a $105,882 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.
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.
With the new grant, seven graduate nursing students pursuing a Master of Science degree at the College will now have their full tuition covered for the 2020-2021 academic year. Curry College is one of five select accredited nursing schools in the state to receive funding for the current academic year. It is one of few in the region to offer a graduate program with a specialized track in nursing education.
While interest in nursing careers has never been higher, there is a growing shortage of qualified nursing faculty in the country because of budget constraints, an aging faculty, and increasing job competition from clinical sites. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) maintains that a lack of nursing faculty in the U.S. nursing programs will limit the industry’s ability to meet the growing demand for healthcare.
“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, professor, MSN program director, 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.”
For Jennifer Daly MSN ’22, a surgical nurse at Boston Medical Center, the opportunity for the NFLP scholarship was an easy decision. She started the graduate program this fall to pursue the nurse education specialty after discovering an interest in teaching during her time serving in the role of charge nurse. She is responsible for delegating nursing assignments, among other tasks. After graduating, she hopes to apply her industry experience to teach in an academic nursing program while keeping some part-time or “per diem” nursing shifts at the hospital.
“I have always loved being in the classroom. As I began teaching more in my role as a nurse, I knew that I wanted to further my degree and nurse education was the path for me,” says Daly. “In nursing school, it can often feel like a lot of memorization without much context. I hope to use my time as a nurse educator to pass along my experiences and the tricks I’ve learned in the field. The NFLP grant is an incredible opportunity, and it helps me get one step closer to becoming a faculty member in an accredited nursing program.”
While the award marks the first time the School of Nursing has applied and received the federal grant, 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.”