CareFirst Invests Another $1 Million in Nursing Shortage
Extending Project RN program helps address shortage of nurse educators
Baltimore, MD (May 29, 2013) - In its ongoing effort to help alleviate the region’s shortage of nurses, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) is investing another $1 million into an existing program that funds stipends for nurses seeking advanced degrees to become nurse educators.
CareFirst has issued a request for proposals from nursing schools in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia looking to place their full- or part-time students in 13 post-graduate nursing education scholarships CareFirst will fund through its Project RN program beginning in 2014.
Launched in 2007, Project RN is aimed at increasing the number of nurse faculty teaching at universities throughout CareFirst’s mid-Atlantic service area. In exchange for a stipend of up to $80,000 to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree, students must agree to teach nurses at a school in Maryland, D.C. or Northern Virginia for at least three years.
While the shortage of bedside nurses has grabbed the headlines, the story can’t be told without also highlighting a lack of training capacity and shortage of qualified nurse faculty at the nation’s nursing schools. As health reform and the aging of baby boomers fuel demand for health care, the nation’s shortage of bedside nurses could grow to 260,000 by 2025; meanwhile, a nearly 8 percent nurse faculty vacancy rate exists today, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
CareFirst already has invested $2.2 million in 31 master’s level nursing students at 13 universities. Fourteen students representing eight universities have completed the program and are now fulfilling their Project RN teaching obligation. Seventeen additional students are enrolled in Project RN, with 14 expected to graduate in 2013.
With this new round of funding, CareFirst’s Project RN will have invested over $3.2 million in 44 nursing students pursuing an advanced degree in the field. For more information about Project RN and other nursing programs CareFirst backs, visit the Project RN page on our CareFirst Commitment website.
“CareFirst is proud of the success the Project RN program has had so far to help address one of the underlying factors in the nursing shortage,” said Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs. “We’re optimistic that with this next round of scholarships the universities will again find candidates committed to the success of the nursing profession in our region.”
Jane M. Kirschling, dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing and president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing said: “Project RN is an exceptional example of making an investment in future nursing faculty. It helps offset a nurse’s expense of going back to graduate school, and it also speaks volumes about our confidence in their ability to be successful. For CareFirst to invest in the next generation of nurses so we can meet the health care needs in this country is extremely important, and we’re grateful for that.”
In its 76th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2012, CareFirst contributed $57 million to community programs designed to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com or follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CareFirst_News.