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Missouri college nursing programs get $1.2M to enhance technology integration

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(The Center Square) – Seven Missouri colleges and universities will receive more than $1.2 million from the Missouri State Board of Nursing to improve education.

The state board awarded more than $19 million in grants to nursing education programs since 2011. The funds are directed toward increasing capacity and piloting new education programs.

This year, the grants were awarded to enhance faculty recruitment and retention. The funding also was awarded to integrate technology and other innovations into nursing education to prepare students for current practices.

Last week, the Missouri Hospital Association reported that job vacancies and turnover rates at the state’s hospitals in 2023 declined compared to the peak years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vacancy rate for registered nurses dropped from a peak of 19.8% in 2021 to 15.6% last year and the turnover rate decreased from 22.1% to 16.3% during the same period.

Southwest Baptist University will receive $300,000, the largest grant. The money will be divided equally between its bachelor’s of nursing program at its Bolivar campus and its master’s program in Springfield. Interactive anatomy equipment will be purchased to enhance education and incorporate advanced technology into curriculum.

The State Board of Nursing is part of the Division of Professional Registration in the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance. The division oversees 41 professional licensing boards and commissions providing regulation activities for more than 525,000 Missourians.

“Missouri is very fortunate to offer this grant program, which allows nursing programs to identify their needs to increase their capacity for students and then request funding to address those needs,” Lori Scheidt, executive director of the Missouri State Board of Nursing, said in a statement. “We developed this program with an understanding that we must invest in infrastructure to build a solid foundation to increase the number of nursing graduates. We thank nursing program leaders for continuing to adapt and proposing solutions to address the nursing program capacity issues.”

Online job postings for registered nurses was the highest in the state at 4,320 in April, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Here are the other nursing schools receiving grants, the amounts and the areas where the funds will be spent:

Avila University, Kansas City ($141,000): Funding the salary of a clinical coordinator, increasing clinical faculty pay, providing faculty scholarships and increasing the clinical capacity for nursing students.

Central Methodist, Fayette ($153,600): Purchasing labor and delivery and pediatric simulation equipment to enhance nursing students’ clinical skills.

Jefferson College, Hillsboro ($150,000): Funding the salary for a simulation laboratory coordinator to meet simulation demand and increase instructional capacity.

Missouri Valley College, Marshall ($165,599) Funding a an RN to BSN online program coordinator with the goal of enrolling 10 to 15 students each semester and then increasing to 25 to 30 students per semester within five years.

Moberly Area Community College, Columbia and Hannibal ($230,213): Funding a simulation laboratory coordinator and purchasing simulation and virtual reality equipment to increase the number of students.

Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff ($79,320): Purchasing computers for a dedicated nursing program computer lab to fully transition to computerized testing and increasing technology to allow faculty to augment instruction by providing exams that mimic the national licensure examination.

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