By Marguerite Girandola
At the start of this past summer, the College of Nursing at Sacred Heart University received a grant of $372,873 from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
The grant aims to provide aid to graduate students of minority or who are from an underserved community.
The purpose of the training-ship grant is to help future nurse practitioners gain the skill-set needed to successfully work among underserved communities.
The grant also aims to encourage the grantees to go back home once they become nurse practitioners and help better the healthcare system in their own community.
“The intent of the grant is to educate nurse practitioners that will practice with cultural competency and that will know how to respond to the needs of diverse communities,” said Professor Susan DeNisco, Director of the Doctor of Nursing Program and the Executive Director of the College of Health Professions. “The other intent of the grant is to try and bring in more minority students.”
DeNisco, who has written previous grant proposals, along with the help of the grant writer for the university, planned and developed the grant that included figuring out a budget and describing why Sacred Heart University would benefit.
The news has also caught the attention of many undergraduate nursing students.
“I think that the nursing program has grown so much in the past few years and will only continue to do so in the future,” said junior Shelly Herlihy. “This grant could help many FNP graduate students to pay for their education, and may encourage more students to apply for the program.”
The grant holders will be taking part in clinical rotations within a medically underserved community, along with taking nine-week online training modules through the department of minority services.
“The hope is that students will love this aspect of nursing and that they will want to end up staying in the field as primary care providers working with people who don’t have health insurance and people who are underinsured, or uninsured,” said DeNisco.
One of the most important aspects of the healthcare field is to be culturally efficient, something that the grant will ensure in all of its students.
“We work with people from a variety of different cultures in clinical and, considering the increasing diversity of the entire U.S. population, I think such training would be beneficial for both the patients and their health care team,” said Herlihy.
Culture is a vital detail in how nurses interact with their patients and it is crucial for the quality of care a person receives.
At least 23 graduate students will take advantage the benefits of this grant, which has already taken effect for this semester and will run until July of 2017.