The University of New Mexico College of Nursing has received a $20,000 grant that will help fund the scholarship of two doctoral nursing students.

The award from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare is part of an effort to stem a national faculty shortage and prepare the next generation of nurses. The grant will be matched by $12,500 from the College of Nursing. 

“We are excited to partner with Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare to support two Jonas Scholars as we address critical areas facing our nation’s health care systems,” said College of Nursing Dean Nancy Ridenour, PhD. “These scholarships will address the critical shortage of highly skilled faculty by increasing the number and the experiences of registered nurses seeking to assume leadership roles as faculty educators and researchers.”

One of the scholarships has been earmarked for a student who is committed to advancing health and health care for veterans and who is affiliated with the armed services, Ridenour added.

“With our ongoing research into nursing issues in the military, we are uniquely positioned to provide the Jonas Scholar Veteran’s Healthcare PhD student with the mentorship and leadership to advance the care of our military members and their families,” Ridenour said. 

The UNM College of Nursing Jonas Scholars join more than 1,000 future nurse educators and leaders at 140 universities across all 50 states supported by Jonas Center programs. The scholarships support nurses pursuing PhD and DNP (doctor of nursing practice) degrees, the terminal degrees in the field.

U.S. nursing schools turned away nearly 70,000 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2014 due in large part to an insufficient number of faculty, according to the Jonas Center. Nearly two-thirds of registered nurses over age 54 say they are considering retirement.

The UNM College of Nursing Jonas Scholars will begin their graduate careers in the summer and will be supported through 2018 as they focus on such critical health priorities as rural health, health disparities, women’s health, veteran’s health and health policy.

“Being a Jonas Scholar afforded me the opportunity to advance my leadership skills by partaking in a leadership project within my area of interest,” said Elizabeth Holguin, a UNM College of Nursing 2015 Jonas Scholar.  “I was able to network with nursing leaders within my community and across the state. In addition, being included in the Jonas Scholars Community allowed me to network with other scholars across the country.”