Thanks to a Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Webster’s second-year nurse anesthesia students will receive approximately $1,500 each toward their tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year. The federal government has awarded Webster this grant annually since 1999.
Totaling $27,350 this year, the grant allows the Department of Nurse Anesthesia to provide some financial relief to students who have often put their professional lives on hold to complete Webster’s rigorous three-year program.
Nurse Anesthesia program coordinator Bethany Geisler also sees the grant’s value as more than monetary:
“The grant represents recognition for the hard work and effort the graduate students put forth in a demanding yet rewarding field.”
Grants officer Linda Dahlgren is responsible for preparing and submitting the grant application, as well as working with Geisler to report data on grant recipients back to the government. She too believes that the grant communicates a vital message to Webster’s future nurse anesthetists: that “what they are doing is important enough for the federal government to recognize and support them.”
A key part of the growing importance of MSNA graduates, Dahlgren explains, is their ability to act as a resource for regions classified as health professional shortage areas (HPSA) or medically underserved areas (MUA).
“MSNA graduates fill a vital need in the evolving landscape of healthcare delivery where growing numbers of surgical procedures are performed in doctor’s offices and in outpatient care facilities, especially in rural and underserved areas,” Dahlgren says.
Webster’s nurse anesthesia students perform clinical rotations in ten different areas, the majority of which are HPSAs and/or MUAs. Thus students learn to serve the needs of those populations while on rotation and are equipped to continue to do so after they graduate.
“Even before they have completed their degree,” Dahlgren says, “our students make meaningful contributions to the area in which they do their clinical rotations. It’s great that the university can support them this way.”