Angelo State University’s Department of Nursing has received a two-year, $197,942 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to increase enrollment in the department’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree program.
Awarded through the THECB’s Nursing Innovation Grant Program (NIGP), the grant will fund an ASU project to develop and implement an innovative recruitment strategy to increase the number of B.S.N. students, with the ultimate goal of helping address the statewide shortage of registered nurses (RNs) in Texas. Shannon Medical Center will serve as the clinical partner for the project.
The project director is Dr. Melissa McDowell, associate professor of nursing.
“We are delighted to receive funding to recruit the next generation of nurses,” McDowell said. “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic provided a spotlight on the incredible impact of nurses across the state, the demand for nurses was high. Numerous factors have contributed to a growing demand, including a wave of nurse retirements and a population that is living longer, often with one or more chronic conditions. While this presents challenges for our healthcare system, it also means opportunities for those looking to make a difference in a career that is much more than just a job.”
Support and guidance for the grant project will also be provided by Dr. Leslie Mayrand, dean of ASU’s Archer College of Health and Human Services. Primary components of the project will include:
- Development of a comprehensive recruitment plan
- Implementing immersive nursing camps for high school students
- Enhancing communication with prospective and incoming nursing students
According to data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, vacancies in Texas for registered nurses tripled from around 6% in 2019 to 18% in 2022. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies has projected a shortage of approximately 57,000 RNs by 2032.
The NIGP is a THECB initiative aimed specifically at helping address the state’s nursing shortage. ASU is one of 39 Texas colleges and universities that have received 2023-25 NIGP grants totaling over $6.95 million. For the 2022-23 academic year, ASU graduated 77 new RNs with their B.S.N. degrees.