Saint Louis University

ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis University School of Nursing has received a $341,000 federal grant to increase the number of nurses pursuing advanced degrees as primary care practitioners.

Mary Lee Barron, Ph.D.

All of the money will go for scholarships to those pursuing master's or doctor of nursing practice degrees in pediatrics, family or adult-gerontological nursing, said Mary Lee Barron, Ph.D., director of advanced nursing practice programs at SLU.

"There is a tremendous shortage of primary care nurse practitioners in rural and inner city areas," Barron said.

"Because about 60 percent of our nursing students wind up in medically underserved areas, this is a good opportunity for Saint Louis University to help address a critical problem in the health care system. The goal is to get nurse practitioners in communities where they can do the most good."

The need for nurse practitioners who have advanced education will continue to grow as the Affordable Care Act extends health insurance coverage to 33 million Americans by 2022.

Last year, 38 SLU nursing students received grants that helped them pay for advanced education. Barron said she expects SLU will expand scholarships to help fund the education of at least 50 nursing students this year.

SLU's advanced degree programs for nurse practitioners in clinical practice, which attract students from 30 states, are offered exclusively online so that nurses can continue working as they pursue further education.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is funding the initiative.

Founded in 1928, Saint Louis University School of Nursing has achieved a national reputation for its innovative and pioneering programs. Offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral nursing programs, its faculty members are nationally recognized for their teaching, research and clinical expertise.