$9.2 million in state funding is allowing nursing students at the University of Arizona to be a part of an accelerated program with a valuable incentive. This tailor made curriculum is called the “Masters Entry to the Profession of Nursing” (MEPN).

This will be for students who already have a bachelors degree, prerequisites and want to become a nurse. The only catch is the students must sign a contract to work in Arizona as an RN for four years after they graduate.

We have a critical nursing shortage not only in the United States but in Arizona. The state is giving us funding in order to keep some nurses working in our state for the start of their career,” said Connie Miller, Clinical Division Chair.

Program leaders say Arizona is one of the top five states with shortages of staff in hospitals, mainly being nurses. This free program is all about keeping the RNs right here in Arizona at a faster pace while also providing easier access to healthcare providers and combating the increasing amount of nursing shortages.

“There will be nursing care available so that we don’t have to close beds in the hospital, have a five and six hour wait times in the emergency department. We will have more nurses available to care for our patient population,” said Kelley Wilson, MEPN Program Director.

Wilson also explains this program will help train new Wildcat nurses who are desperately needed to fill an anticipated shortage of almost 1 million nurses by 2030.

The Arizona Department of Health Services provided the grant for scholarships to be used for students to complete entry-level nursing degrees in 12 to 18 months. The College of Nursing has been preparing to increase enrollments due to the current shortage of nurses and to meet the needs of Arizona residents.

For more information on how to be a part of the program, visit their website.