Fairfield’s School of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Program has received a $605,000 grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration towards the immediate need for nurse practitioners as primary care providers.

Graduate students will benefit from this grant, as it will supply annual financial assistance and scholarships to full-time students and assist part-time students during their final year of schooling. This grant is offered to nurse practitioners at the master’s or doctoral level who are learning by working in the community, specifically in medically underserved areas where nurses and primary care providers are scarce. Supplying the majority of tuition costs, this grant will bring students at ease and will attract more students to the program.

Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Meredith Kazer said that the federal government has put a lot of money towards nurse practitioner education due to the need for primary care providers; they are happily awarding schools like Fairfield more money for financial assistance.

“Nurse practitioners can serve in the role of primary care providers. With the Affordable Care Act being fully implemented this past January 2014, many, many more people now have insurance and are seeking health care providers and not enough physicians are available. Nurse practitioners are stepping into that role and are highly regarded as primary care providers. All of the data has been collected and measures that nurse practitioners versus physician as primary care providers has shown nurse practitioners have equal outcomes with physicians,” said Kazer.

In being awarded such a substantial amount of money, Dr. Sheila Grossman, professor and coordinator of the family nurse practitioner track, stated that Fairfield plans with their students to find jobs while in school.

“If a student is going to take the grant money, the student has to end up working in primary care. While in school, they will be working in community health centers, like in Bridgeport or Norwalk. The reason why we got such a good amount for the grant is because we try hard to set up the students’ rotations so that they will be asked to stay after and get a job there. We advise them on what areas may need a nurse practitioner after they graduate.”

Fairfield is setting up students with stable jobs that fill the imminent need for more nurse practitioners caused by the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Undergraduate students are more prone to come back to Fairfield due to the grants that the graduate school has been awarded.

“Fairfield University School of Nursing is such a leader among other schools of nursing throughout the nation. We have such an expert faculty here that are nationally recognized for multiple areas from neonatal to pediatric care to the care of older adults. These resources allow us to develop our expertise in these areas that will make our students great providers,” said Kazer.

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