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Federal grant to fund 140 scholarships to prepare nurse educators

A nurse in blue scrubs poses with her arms crossed.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded ASU $5.4 million to help address the nursing shortage by preparing more nursing faculty. Photo courtesy

June 08, 2023

As part of its ongoing effort to address the nation’s nursing shortage, Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation has been awarded a new grant to prepare nurse faculty.

The $5.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will fund scholarships to cover 100% of the tuition and fees for 140 nurses to enroll in the Master of Science in nursing (nursing education) (MSN) program.

“This grant will go a long way toward meeting a critical need for nursing faculty, particularly in rural communities around Arizona. We are thrilled to be partnering with community colleges and clinical partners statewide to help advance the academic preparation of nursing faculty,” said Edson College Dean Judith Karshmer.

In addition to covering the costs of the program, the scholarships will include opportunities to become a certified nurse educator through the National League for Nursing, attend national nursing conferences, join professional nursing organizations and participate in academic immersions at ASU.  

Enrolled students will work collaboratively with partner institutions across Arizona to complete the online coursework and apply it to nurse educator roles at the partner sites. 

Eastern Arizona College (EAC), located in Thatcher, Arizona, has a longstanding partnership with Edson College and will participate in the program. They have a top-notch program but have a hard time attracting graduate-level faculty to Thatcher, according to Sara Lemley, EAC director of nursing. She said the grant is welcome news.

“For our rural community, it’s quite a big deal because we do have a hard time attracting MSN-prepared nurses here, but we have a lot of nurses that are already here working and they love the area. So being able to apply for the scholarships funded by this grant will give them the opportunity to achieve that master’s level and help with our college even more,” she said.

A lack of graduate-level prepared faculty is just one of the reasons for the nursing workforce shortage. Clinical placements are another one. Over the past five years, Edson College has focused on preparing more bedside nurses to enter the field through program expansion, innovative clinical placements and, more recently, a state grant

The federal grant funding is for five years. Heidi Sanborn, Edson College’s senior director of post-licensure nursing programs, said her aim is to enroll at least 20 students beginning this fall.

“We are excited to provide a fully funded pathway to the master’s degree and credentials that will open the doors to a career in nursing education,” Sanborn said. “If you are a nurse with an associate or bachelor’s degree and dream of becoming a nurse educator, this program is for you.”

For more information on how to apply for the scholarship, email or call 602-496-0937.

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