Biotechnology

MU grants will help alleviate the shortage of nursing staff

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — A recent grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development will help train hundreds IN THE students to become part-time nursing assistants at MU Health Care.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A recent grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development will help train hundreds IN THE students to become part-time nursing assistants at MU Health Care.

The three-year grant, which begins in the fall of 2023, will create a three credit hour elective course at MU Sinclair School of Nursing. This class will assist nearly 100 MU students annually to secure paid, part-time positions within MU Health Care as nursing assistants, also known as unlicensed assisting personnel (UAP), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and patient care technicians.

“Currently we have nearly 800 undergraduate pre-nursing students at MU, and as a professor teaching freshman level courses, I am often asked by my students if there are opportunities to work at MU Health Care before they start their junior nursing school. years,” said Robin Harris, associate teaching professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing and principal investigator on the grant. “I have also heard from our partners at MU Health Care about staff shortages across the healthcare industry, especially the need for more nurses and especially nurse assistants, so we wanted to support this pipeline of students to help bridge the gap and serve both populations. ”

After completing the elective course, which is open to freshmen and pre-nursing students at MU as well as MU undergraduate students seeking professional experience in the healthcare industry, students will apply what they have learned over the course of 100 paid hours. clinical training as a part-time nursing assistant at MU Health Care University Hospital.

“I started my nursing journey as a nurse’s assistant, and to this day I still feel they do the most important job in hospitals caring for patients,” says Jennifer O’Connor, assistant teaching professor at Sinclair School of Nursing and co. -investigator on grants. “They feed the patients, clean the sheets, help them to the bathroom and shower, wash their hair and check their vital signs. They are the unsung heroes who show compassion for patients, and they remind us that nursing is considered one of the most trusted professions.”

Harris adds the paid opportunity “kills two birds with one stone” by allowing students to “earn while studying,” which may reduce the need for engaged students to take out student loans before graduating.

“We are doing our part to address the nurse shortage and equip MU students with employability skills and opportunities to gain real-world experience working in the healthcare industry,” said Harris. “Investing in initiatives like this is critical from a workforce development perspective, and MU can serve as a model for other universities looking to create similar channels to support understaffed hospitals and nursing homes.”

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