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Nixon announces plan to boost nursing graduates

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Building on his Caring for Missourians Initiative, Gov. Jay Nixon on Dec. 7 unveiled a plan through which Missouri’s public universities could receive an additional $3 million in the next three years to educate more nurses. The plan requires state legislators’ approval.

According to a news release from Nixon’s office, Caring for Missourians was launched in 2009 as a one-time $40 million investment to increase the number of nurses, doctors, dentists and other health professionals at the state’s public colleges and universities. The institutions developed individual plans for spending their Caring for Missourians Funds and the state’s public four-year universities planned to add 284 seats to existing nursing degree programs, the release said. Most of those, 203, were one-time, not permanent additions.

Through the latest initiative, announced during a visit to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing,  the state Board of Nursing has voted to award $1 million a year for fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014 so the schools can hire faculty to sustain the enrollment increases.  The funds would come from license fees nurses pay to the state.

“By investing in nursing education, we are meeting a vital need for more qualified health professionals in Missouri, and we are helping students compete in a rapidly growing industry,” Nixon said in the release. “This is a strategic investment in the health of Missourians and the health of our economy.”

The $3 million investment is estimated to fund about 13-full-time faculty positions each year for the three years, the release said. Before the grants can be awarded, however, the Missouri General Assembly must approve a statutory change.

“We have a pressing need for more nurses in Missouri, and I encourage the general assembly to act quickly to help us get more Missourians working in this critical area,” Nixon said in the release.[[In-content Ad]]

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