Topic: Primary Care Shortage

Nursing Training Grant Will Help Alleviate Primary Care Shortage

Oct. 3, 2012

The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to create an advanced education nursing trainee program to meet the growing demand for primary care services.

According to the HRSA, the current primary care workforce in the United States is inadequate to meet the growing demand for primary care services. Moreover, an aging workforce, the increasing demand for preventative health services and an expansion of health care coverage from the Affordable Care Act will probably widen the gap between demand and the available primary care workforce.

The nation's projected unmet need for primary caregivers could be as large as 63,000 by 2015, and the HRSA grant is designed to help address this shortage by providing support to students in primary care nurse practitioners (NPs) programs.

"Providing adequate health care to a growing and aging population is putting a strain on the current system," said Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing. "More persons are seeking help at a time when the way care is provided is changing more rapidly than ever. We are grateful for the opportunity this grant affords us to train and prepare more NPs to address this significant need."

The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing's nurse practitioner program began in 1993 and has since graduated 216 NPs and an additional 44 nurses who have completed the post-master's certification. This year's grant to the School of Nursing is more than triple the amount of similar HRSA grants in the past ($84,855 last year and $72,946 in 20102011).

The School of Nursing is one of the leading nursing schools in the nation, with a history of excellence in academics, research and service. The School supports two community-based clinics the Children's Wellness Center and the Family Wellness Center that provide a wide range of health care services to medically underserved people in the Austin area and serve as clinical placement sites for nurse practitioner students. The Family Wellness Center is home to an innovative nurse practitioner residency program, the only one of its kind in the southern United States.

Read more