Government, Health Care, and Higher Education

Grant targets nursing in rural communities

October 24, 2016
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Cynthia McCurren
Cynthia McCurren. Courtesy GVSU

Health care organizations have reported a “critical shortage” of nurses and other clinical providers in rural communities across the country.

To try to fill the gap, the federal government is offering grants to health care training programs that will place trainees in health care settings in rural communities.

Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing is one such recipient.

Kirkhof College of Nursing received a one-year, $332,640 Health Resources and Services Administration grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to train and prepare nurse practitioners to work in Michigan's rural communities.

The overall goal of the HRSA grant is to “improve the health of residents in rural and underserved communities.”

In the fall 2016 semester, 14 KCON students each were awarded $22,000 traineeship grants and placed in rural and underserved settings for clinical education.

Cynthia McCurren, dean of KCON and professor of nursing, said the traineeship grant will help pay tuition and some expenses for students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program learning in rural communities.

“With the support of this grant, our doctoral students not only gain real-life experience in rural health care, they contribute to the health and well-being of the communities we’re partnering with,” McCurren said.

She said the program is in line with the college’s “strategic priority” of “actively engaging students” in high-impact learning experiences and building mutually beneficial relationships.

Shelby Sikkila was among those students who received one of the 14 grants. She will train at Fox Pediatrics in Mount Pleasant.

“This grant has allowed me to focus on my education without financial stress, while providing an amazing opportunity to learn and grow as a pediatric nurse practitioner,” said Sikkila, a native of Covington.

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