College of Nursing receives grant for rural nurse practitioner education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Nursing received a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for its Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship (AENT) program. The grant will provide funding to approximately 20 students in their final year of study in the family nurse practitioner option of the master of science in nursing degree program.

The federal AENT program is dedicated to increasing the number of advanced-practice nurses trained as primary care providers in rural communities and medically underserved regions.

“Students will have clinical experiences in rural areas or other medically underserved communities in Pennsylvania to gain knowledge of providing care to these populations,” said Madeline Mattern, director of the nurse practitioner options in the College of Nursing. 

The College of Nursing offers two primary care nurse practitioner options — family nurse practitioner and adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner — at five Penn State campuses: Fayette, Hershey, Mont Alto, University Park and Worthington Scranton. Many of the students already live and work in the surrounding communities and will remain there to work as nurse practitioners after completing the program.

“Eighty-one percent of our 2015 graduates work in medically underserved and/or rural areas in Pennsylvania,” Mattern noted. “This supports our mission of improving access to primary care in these areas.”

“Rural communities face challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified nursing professionals,” said U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-5) in announcing the award last month. “Funds made available through this grant will keep nursing students in their hometowns. This will not only make a real difference for Pennsylvania’s rural and aging populations, but also pay long-run dividends for the overall health and quality of care in our communities.”

Funds for the AENT program are applied to the cost of tuition and fees, Mattern added.

“Recipients of this scholarship are excellent students who are dedicated to HRSA’s goal of improving health outcomes for their patients,” she said. “I’m proud that we are able to help these deserving students, many of whom have overcome challenges to pursue their education.”