School of Nursing Awarded Grant to Address Nursing Faculty Shortage

Feb. 19, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has received a grant of $20,000 from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare to help fund the scholarships of two doctoral nursing students in 2014.

As a recipient of the grant, the school is part of a national effort to stem a faculty shortage and prepare future nurses for America’s evolving health care system. The school will match the $20,000 grant with $20,000 of its own money.

The UT Austin School of Nursing Jonas Scholars will join nearly 600 future nurse educators and leaders at 110 schools supported by Jonas Center programs, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program and Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program. These scholarships support nurses pursuing Ph.D.s and DNPs, the terminal degrees in the field.

“We are extremely pleased to receive this grant, which will further our efforts to make a positive impact on the future of nursing by educating tomorrow’s teachers,” said Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing. “Our goal has always been to increase patient safety, quality of care and efficiency through well-trained nurses. But this can only happen when enough nursing instructors are in the classrooms.”

The school received a grant from the Jonas Center in 2012 for doctoral student Eduardo Chavez in support of his educational development. This year’s award recipients will be announced later this spring.

The Jonas Center, the leading philanthropic funder for nursing, is addressing a critical need, evidenced by data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which demonstrated that the enrollment increase in professional RN programs in 2013 was the lowest in the past five years. This is due primarily to a shortage in qualified faculty members.

“The call for more nurses — and thus the faculty to prepare them — is massive. Health care in America has never been more complex, yet tens of thousands of would-be nurses are turned away from the profession each year,” said Donald Jonas, co-founder of the Jonas Center. “We’ve stepped up the pace and expanded our programs to meet this need.”

“Receiving the Jonas Nurse Leaders Award was an extraordinary honor,” said Jonas Center scholar Chavez. “It offers many unique opportunities to advance my academic goals and professional development.”

Chavez is currently studying behaviors of successful bedside nurses — behaviors that when identified, described and taught, will enable other nurses to succeed at this critical level of patient care.

“The Jonas Center’s commitment to nursing education is inspirational to both our students and nursing faculty,” Stuifbergen said. “Because of their generosity and foresight, I am more confident that schools of nursing such as ours will be able to answer the call to provide the best and brightest and improve health care across the nation.”

For more information, contact: Kathryn Wiley, School of Nursing, 512-471-9908.