For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Webber, 518.782.9400, Ext. 223
Shaun Flynn, 518.782.9400, Ext. 359
Latham, NY – April 2, 2007 – The new state budget includes several items to help combat the nurse shortage in New York state.
“One of the contributing factors to the shortage is the lack of faculty and facilities to teach nursing,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, interim chief executive officer of the New York State Nurses Association. “It has been estimated that, for this reason, 3,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing education programs last year.”
The budget includes $1,027,000 in new money to assist independent colleges and universities to expand and improve their nursing education programs. The funds are available to associate degree and baccalaureate programs at nonprofit institutions. Assistance to schools will be provided on a per-student basis, with $250 per student going to two-year programs and $500 per student going to four-year programs.
In addition, half of the $4 million available to students through the Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program will be allocated for scholarships. The program, which has been in place for two years, previously allocated $1 million for scholarships. The program provides assistance to RNs who are earning advanced degrees in order to teach nursing. Funds will be available to students pursuing either a master’s or doctoral degree.
“NYSNA and its RN members are grateful to the legislative leadership and the Governor for working with us to help increase opportunities for nursing students,” said Gerardi. She noted that Senator Kenneth Lavelle, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, and Senate Leader Joseph Bruno were particularly helpful making sure these programs were in the budget.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
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