Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing has received a grant that will ensure continued traineeship support for students in its department of nurse anesthesia. In turn, the grant may mean better health care for patients in many medically underserved areas.
The Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship (NAT) Program grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will provide $22,536 to be dispersed over the next 12 months.
Traineeships help defray the cost of tuition, books and living expenses for registered nurses who are enrolled as fulltime students in the graduate level nurse anesthesia program. It is a much-appreciated help.
"Our demanding curriculum prohibits students from being employed, so the traineeship program is invaluable in helping relieve some financial burden," said Samford nurse anesthesia department chair Dr. Terri M. Cahoon.
This marks at least the eighth consecutive year that the Samford nurse anesthesia program has received the Title VIII grant from HRSA. In that time, students have benefitted from almost $153,350 in NAT funding.
Cahoon points out that the grant application process emphasizes the importance of encouraging graduates to practice in Health-Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) after graduation.
In fact, 10 of Samford's 27 nurse anesthesia clinical sites are in rural areas, and 24 are in medically underserved or health-professional shortage areas.
"By providing students with experiences in rural locations and a familiarity and initial comfort level with rural anesthesia practices, we confidently expect that they will seek employment in similar situations after graduation," said Cahoon.
Of those who graduated in 2012, two-thirds are working in either HPSA or medically underserved areas such as rural pockets of Mississippi and Alabama. Demographic data on Samford nurse anesthetists who graduated during 2009-2012 indicates that about 53 percent currently work in one of those types of settings, mostly in the southeastern U.S.
Nurse anesthesia program graduates hold Master of Science in Nursing degrees as advance practice nurses.
The Samford nurse anesthesia program seeks to provide its graduates with excellent clinical skills that are enhanced with an emphasis on cultural and spiritual competence as well as the focus on care needs of rural and underserved health populations, including the young, old and those with disabilities.
The comprehensive curriculum addresses the full anesthesia scope of practice, based on professional organizational standards and current state of the art-practice models, says Cahoon.
"The goal of the program is to prepare students to master skills that allow them to practice at the highest level for all patient groups, but especially rural and medically underserved patients in Alabama and the southeast. We want to increase the number of program graduates serving in those settings," said Cahoon.
The most recent grant can only help achieve that goal.