UMaine Nursing School Receives Tuition Offset Grant

The University of Maine School of Nursing has received a $17,381 Advanced Nursing Education Traineeship Grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration. The grant will help offset tuition and expenses for nursing graduate students in 2011-2012 who agree to practice in underserved or rural areas in Maine.

The funding is important to UMaine nursing graduate students, who often work part time while pursing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), say Ursula Pritham, assistant professor, graduate program coordinator and principal investigator receiving the grant. This is the fourth year the nursing school has received such funding.

The UMaine School of Nursing graduate program, started in 1992, initially focused on preparing nurses for the advanced professional role of family nurse practitioner (FNP). In response to the diverse graduate education needs of Maine nurses, and to meet the increasingly complex health needs of people in Maine, the program expanded to prepare nurses who also could work as educators, administrators or in other professional nursing roles.

The program has added more than 150 FNPs, nurse executives and nurse educators to the Maine workforce — particularly in the rural areas of the state — to eliminate health disparities, assure quality of care and to improve public health and healthcare systems. Graduates have become leaders in primary care, hospital administration, nursing education, and administration of healthcare systems throughout the state and beyond, Pritham says.

MSN-FNP graduates provide primary healthcare to individuals and families across the lifespan, including newborns, infants, children, adolescents, adults, pregnant and postpartum women, and older adults, according to Pritham. Primary care includes health promotion, disease and injury prevention, and the evaluation and management of common acute and chronic health problems.

MSN-FNP graduates are eligible to take national certification exams, which qualify and license them to practice as advanced practice nurses in Maine. In their first two years of practice, FNPs are supervised by a physician.

The MSN–FNP program is important in Maine, an extremely rural state with a shortage of primary care providers.

“The program will continue to grow the primary care workforce to care for underserved and rural populations,” Pritham says. “The majority of our graduates are currently practicing in an underserved or rural area.”

Contact: Ursula Pritham, (207) 581-2611