State Support Will Lead to Increase in Nursing Students


Truman recently secured funding that will soon lead to an increase in the number of nursing students, and ultimately help the state’s workforce.  

The University will receive $500,000 through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund to support and expand the current nursing program. A project of Missouri’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, GEER funds were created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are designed to provide educational opportunities for students, drive progress toward economic recovery and meet specific workforce needs.

“We receive more student applicants for nursing than we have capacity to enroll, so this addresses some of the issues preventing increased admission,” said Brenda Wheeler, Nursing Department chair and associate professor of nursing. “Also, the nursing profession continues to have high demand in the job market.”

Impacts from GEER will be seen as soon as this fall with the addition of two temporary nursing faculty members. A tenure-track position may be advertised in the near future as well. New faculty members will enable the department to restructure its clinical offering, allowing for more students to participate. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students will have classes on opposite days, with clinical offerings taking place on the alternate days.

“We anticipate that we can increase our student enrollment by using a varied clinical schedule. While this will allow for increased use of our clinical sites, the redesign will require additional faculty,” Wheeler said. “The first cohort in the redesigned ABSN program will begin in summer 2022.”
While the nursing program typically enrolls about 220 students, it should be able to accommodate an additional 20 students per year once the new structure is fully in place. The ABSN program is 15 months in length, so once the program gets started, there will be an overlap of students beginning and completing the program each summer.
Another key benefit of the GEER funding will be the addition of cutting-edge technology. Among the new equipment the University is in the process of purchasing is a high-tech geriatric nursing simulator.

“We do not currently have a geriatric simulator with the capabilities that this new simulator will provide,” Wheeler said. “The simulator will provide the opportunity for a much more realistic clinical exposure to the geriatric clientele.”  

Other equipment slated to be purchased with GEER funding includes three point-of-care computer medication carts, which will enable students to simulate safe medication administration at the bedside. Additionally, bedside workstations on wheels with new laptop computers will allow students some opportunities for patient bedside charting.

Capital renovations were also included as part of Truman’s grant. Portions of the Pershing Building will be converted into learning spaces for nursing, allowing the program to accommodate more students.

Truman was able to secure some of the competitively awarded GEER funds thanks to the collaboration of the School of Health Sciences and Education, the Nursing Department, the Business Office and the Provost’s Office.
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