Scranton’s FNP program receives funds to improve rural health

UofS graduate family nurse practitioner program awarded grant to improve rural health
Jan. 2017, NEPA Business Journal
The University of Scranton’s graduate nursing program was awarded a federal traineeship grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Health Professions, for $348,500 for the 2016-2017 academic year. The grant funds will be used to support the educational preparation of graduate students in the University’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program (FNP). Through this grant, the majority of the FNP students at Scranton will have approximately 90 percent of their tuition costs paid this academic year.
The grant is designed to help Scranton FNP graduates improve the quality of rural health care, particularly in Northeast Pennsylvania, which as a region was ranked last by the University of Wisconsin Population Heath Institute (2015) when compared with the rest of the state, with regard to heath indicators and behaviors.
According to Mary Jane Hanson, Ph.D., professor of nursing and director of the Department of Nursing’s Graduate Program at the University and author of the grant, “the objectives of the traineeship grant are: to increase the number of graduates from our FNP program with a focus on rural health; promote competence among the graduates in the use of telehealth modalities; and cultivate expertise in inter-professional collaboration and teamwork. Our overarching goal is to increase the supply and expertise of primary care FNP providers for residents of predominately rural areas of Northeast Pennsylvania.”
Hanson said this region of the state is in desperate need of family nurse practitioners. “We have graduated more than 120 FNPs since we created the program in 1995 and nearly nine out of 10 of our graduates continue to live and work in Northeast Pennsylvania.”
Hanson said FNPs at Scranton are committed to serving in this region in part due the University’s Jesuit commitment to serving others. “Most of our graduates end up in the region because they enter the program with that passion for service,” Dr. Hanson said.
It is also a wise career move. Nationally, nurse practitioner was listed first in a 2016 USA Today article identifying five fast-growing jobs worth a career change, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 35 percent increase in employment for nurse practitioners through 2024. The annual median income for the role was listed as $98,190 in 2015.
Hanson also noted that the primary care family nurse practitioner program at Scranton has had a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the family nurse practitioner national certification examination since the program began more than 20 years ago.
Since 2000, the University’s Department of Nursing has received more than 3.5 million dollars from competitive federal grant programs through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.