Rural recruitment is focus of UMKC School of Nursing initiative School receives $1.75 million HRSA grant to address nursing workforce shortage in rural areas

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Nursing has been awarded a grant of nearly $1.75 million for a program to increase the numbers of baccalaureate-level registered nurses serving populations in rural areas. The three-year grant will fund the implementation of the RN-BSN Rural Nursing Initiative (RNI). The RNI program is designed to impact the rural nursing shortage through the School of Nursing’s innovative and expanding national distance education baccalaureate (RN-BSN) program. The grant was awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“The nursing shortage is particularly severe in rural areas of the country,” said Lora Lacey-Haun, Ph.D., dean of the UMKC School of Nursing. “The goal of this initiative, which is already underway, is to make our RN-BSN distance education program more accessible to students in rural areas by using new and creative technologies in delivering our on-line program.”

The RNI program targets rural associate-degree and diploma (degrees conferred through community colleges and hospital education programs) nurses in the central United States — specifically rural areas of Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

Of the estimated 413,000 practicing nurses who reside in these target areas, sixty-three percent of them are not educationally prepared at the baccalaureate level, according to data from HRSA.

“Offering these nurses a baccalaureate degree will allow them to deliver the comprehensive spectrum of nursing services urgently needed in rural communities. It also provides them an educational foundation for eventual participation in nursing instruction, research or advanced practice,” said Anita Skarbek, RN, MSN, a clinical instructor at the UMKC School of Nursing and director of the School’s RN-BSN program. Faculty member JoAnn Klaassen, RN, MN, JD, will direct the UMKC RNI program.

The RNI program includes a recruitment campaign targeting rural regions, designed to enroll rural nurses and empower them to succeed in UMKC’s innovative, technology-enhanced distance education RN-BSN program. It is anticipated that, by offering competency-based baccalaureate education to rural nurses in the rural communities where they live, they will stay to practice and educate in those communities.

Nurses who enter the RN-BSN distance education program will receive a broadband laptop computer equipped with all software and peripherals required for the program. Full technologic access and 24-hour technical support will enable distance rural students to effectively link to educational and urban nursing resources and work with students around the country in an on-line live classroom format to develop a needed rural nursing skill set including the development and implementation of community-based health care projects.

About the UMKC School of Nursing

The UMKC School of Nursing offers a full range of education programs including a four-year bachelor’s degree (BSN), an RN-BSN, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Ph.D. in Nursing. Research at the UMKC School of Nursing is focused on Women’s and Children’s health and the school is a center of excellence in the provision of health care and education in these areas, emphasizing urban health care and wellness.

About UMKC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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