Georgia is listed as one of the top states facing severe physician shortages and consistently listed in the bottom third for overall health. To address both of these factors, the Georgia College School of Nursing is working to educate more advanced nurse practitioners and encourage students to work in rural and underserved communities after graduation.

To help achieve these goals, the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) awarded the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship (AENT) grant totaling $350,000 to Georgia College. The grant will go toward funding tuition, fees, books, and other expenses, as well as give a stipend to all students in the Master of Nursing in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program. Students who opt to receive the funds are required to fulfill a two-year obligation to serve in high-needs or rural health districts in the state of Georgia. 130 of the 159 counties in the state are classified as rural, high-needs, or both.

The grant will cover all of the 2017 graduating class of 34 students, giving them money for living expenses to offset costs to their families, allowing them to afford going back to school. Many students are grateful for the grant, allowing them to receive further education without taking out more student loans, and encouraging them to help underserved communities by using their education to give back rather than just seeking out high paying jobs.

Georgia College’s AENT Program is designed to increase the number of advanced education nurses trained to practice as primary care providers and nursing faculty to address the nurse faculty shortage that inhibits many nursing schools from educating the number of nurses needed to meet nationwide demand. By providing grant funding for traineeships to help cover education costs, more advanced nurses can receive necessary education to become nurse educators and rural healthcare providers.

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