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GVSU receives $2.2M grant to help working nurses overcome barriers to degrees

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Posted at 11:15 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 11:15:25-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing received a $2.2 million federal grant to partner with two health care organizations to support working nurses from underrepresented background who wish to obtain bachelor's or advanced nursing degrees.

The nursing school will partner with Spectrum Health and McLaren Health Care on the four-year project, which is supported by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a news release Wednesday.

Spectrum and McLaren together reach 14 counties in the lower peninsula.

Leaders of the two organizations would recruit nurses to enroll in the RN-BSN, master’s of nursing or doctor of nursing practice programs.

A total of 60 students will earn degrees throughout the four years of the program, with the majority – 38 – in the RN-BSN program, according to Janet Winter, associate dean for undergraduate nursing programs at GVSU.

Lisa Zajac, director of clinical informatics at McLaren Health Care, said the program provides opportunities for nurses from underrepresented background to overcome barriers that may have prevented them from earning degrees.

“We actually have the opportunity to increase education and enhance practice at McLaren for three degrees with this grant,” Zajac said. “Research has shown that increasing the number of BSN-prepared nurses at the bedside increases the quality of care, and it’s similar with master’s or DNP degrees.”

Nurses from Spectrum and McLaren who want to enroll in the program will have to meet GVSU admission requirements.

Because the RN-BSN program is a post-licensure program offered online, it doesn’t take away seats or resources from traditional or accelerated degree students in the nursing school, according to Winter.