By the year 2010, more than 40% of the nursing work force will be over the age of 50 and by the year 2020, the demand for nurses will exceed the supply by 20%, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. What can be done to prevent this impending nursing crisis? The Hampton University School of Nursing in Hampton, Va., has some ideas that not only address the national nursing shortage, but also endeavor to solve the shortage of minority and specialty nurses. And it has a healthy $1.1 million it can use to turn these ideas into reality.
The Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Nursing, gave the Historically Black University the money in the form of two awards: $478,811 to be used to initiate a women’s health nurse practitioner specialty and a $627,941 award to fund a pre-entry nursing program for children in grades K-12.
The women’s health nurse practitioner specialty, which began accepting students last fall, will offer advanced educational opportunities for nurses interested in this field. In addition to promoting and restoring women’s health and preventing disease and disability, graduates of the program will provide health education, counseling and anticipatory guidance to females throughout the span of their lives, including adolescence, child-bearing and child-rearing years.
The Hampton University Pre-Entry Program (HU-PREP) is designed to provide opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to graduate from a professional nursing program. About 75 students (25 elementary, 25 middle school and 25 high school students) will be selected annually to participate in the program. Criteria for selection include teacher recommendation, disadvantaged background/ethnic minority status and the student and parents’ willingness to participate in the program.
HU-PREP will stress the importance of college preparatory activities to improve skills in science, math, language arts and computer technology. Students will participate in field trips, career fairs and plays; work on improving their standardized test-taking skills; and have opportunities to shadow nursing professionals. There will also be a summer enrichment program for participants, called “HU Nursing Academy.”
“By providing educational activities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, we expose the children to the reality that a college education is possible,” says Dr. Pamela Hammond, dean of the School of Nursing. “Further, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds generally return to their communities to positively impact the economic base of their communities and the health of those underserved populations.”
For more information on HU-PREP or the women’s health nurse practitioner specialty program, call the Hampton University School of Nursing, (757) 727-5251, or send email to [email protected].
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