UA Little Rock receives $970,000 grant for nursing students

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 0 views 

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $969,200 grant from the Arkansas Department of Commerce and the Arkansas Linking Industry to Growing Nurses (ALIGN) program to help attract, prepare, and retain more nurses in Arkansas.

“The UA Little Rock School of Nursing is grateful for the ALIGN grant awarded to help our faculty and students be successful,” said Dr. Sloan Davidson, director of the School of Nursing. “We are proud to be a recipient of the ALIGN grant and are eager to begin the work to positively impact student and nurse educator retention at UA Little Rock School of Nursing.”

The grant will help support students through dedicated retention specialists, scholarships, faculty education stipends, and improvements to the technology in the Center for Simulation Innovation by adding a new human patient simulator.

Through the ALIGN program, the Arkansas Office of Skills Development has awarded $20.4 million to 19 Arkansas two- and four-year colleges and universities. The ALIGN program is designed to upskill nursing professionals, expand nursing apprenticeship programs, and increase nurse educator recruitment and retention. Educational stipends will be provided to nurse educators who are earning advanced degrees in order to be experts in their fields.

“These nursing faculty members are well-versed in our curriculum and various teaching methodologies aimed at improving student performance in the classroom and clinical settings,” said Fairah Solomon, associate degree program coordinator and assistant professor of nursing. “Additionally, they are passionate about meeting the students where they are and helping them navigate school as well as life that is undoubtedly happening outside of nursing school.”

Additionally, the grant will provide $100,000 in student scholarships with the goal of helping nurses graduate with little to no debt. This will provide scholarships to 20 nursing students at UA Little Rock.

“We are excited to offer nursing student scholarships that will help lighten the financial burden of attending nursing school with the hopes of allowing the students to create a positive work/school/life balance that will be conducive to successfully completing the program,” Solomon said.

Nursing students at UA Little Rock train in the Center for Simulation Innovation (CSI), the only internationally recognized simulation center in Arkansas, which provides them with the opportunity to experience the role of a registered nurse in a safe space. Funding from the grant will allow the School of Nursing to purchase a high-fidelity manikin for the Center for Simulation Innovation to better improve future simulation education for nursing students.

“An invaluable component of ensuring realistic simulation experiences that develop safe, competent nurses is adequate simulation equipment, including state-of-the-art technology,” said Joanna Hall, director of simulation. “High-fidelity manikins that replicate human patients enable an incredibly high degree of immersion and critical thinking needed to ensure nursing students are workforce-ready by graduation. Thanks to this generous grant, we are very excited to add another state-of-the-art, high-fidelity manikin to our Center for Simulation Innovation.”