nurse-grad-programs-200VANCOUVER, Wash. – Much is made about the shortage of qualified applicants for available nursing jobs in the U.S., but educators say there’s also a shortage of qualified faculty members who teach new nurses.

“The federal government understands that, so they’ve taken away one of the barriers to training more nurse educators,” said Dawn Doutrich, associate professor of nursing at Washington State University Vancouver.

That barrier is the high cost of graduate school. Many nurses would like to move into teaching but can’t afford tuition to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees. So the federal Health Resources and Services Administration created a variety of scholarship and loan programs.

Recently the agency gave $270,000 to the WSU College of Nursing to continue and expand the Nurse Faculty Loan Program. The university added $30,000 as a requirement of the grant agreement.

Graduate nursing students at any of the college’s sites are eligible to apply.

This is the fifth year WSU has offered the program. During the first four years, Doutrich said, 41 students have received checks that they used for tuition, fees, books, computers, lab access costs and conferences.

In exchange, they must take nursing education courses and then go on to teach full-time for at least four years in a nursing school somewhere in the U.S. or one of its territories. By doing so, they can have up to 85 percent of the loan amount forgiven.

“If they don’t fulfill their teaching requirements, their loans shift from 3 percent interest to market rate interest,” said Doutrich.

The WSU College of Nursing offers several graduate programs for professional nurses: a doctor of nursing practice with tracks including family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and advanced population health; a Ph.D. program for students who want to pursue nursing research; and a master’s degree with emphases in nursing education, nursing leadership and advanced population health.

For information about the Nurse Faculty Loan, contact Susan Shaw at or 360-546-9473.

For more information about the college, visit



Alli Benjamin, WSU College of Nursing, 509-324-7340,