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Federal grant to support nurse practitioner students

By Alli Benjamin, College of Nursing

Cindy-FitzgeraldSPOKANE, Wash. – A nurse practitioner degree program at Washington State University will recruit six students from underrepresented groups through a new grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

The two-year grant of $264,000 will allow the WSU College of Nursing to offer financial support to students who are U.S. military veterans, rural-dwelling Hispanics and/or Native Americans to help them become family nurse practitioners.

“Washington is a state that struggles to maintain the number of qualified healthcare providers needed to care for its rural citizens and underserved populations,” said Cindy Fitzgerald, director of the doctor of nursing practice program at WSU and an author of the grant proposal.

“Students who receive support through this new program will be educationally and experientially qualified for certification and licensure immediately upon graduation, enabling them to enter the workforce as primary care providers,” she said. “These are the students who will go back to serve their communities. They understand the barriers to care and can better serve their patients.”

WSU has offered degrees leading to nurse practitioner certification and licensure since 1983. Nurse practitioners often practice as primary care providers and can diagnose and treat most health conditions.

In addition to recruiting six new students from underrepresented groups, the grant will allow the College of Nursing to develop and implement strategies to ensure the success of those students.

Co-authors of the proposal were Mel Haberman, director of the master of nursing program, and Eva Schiavenato, a research associate in the college. The name of the new program is Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program.
Learn more about the WSU College of Nursing at


Cindy Fitzgerald, WSU assistant professor and nurse practitioner,, 509-324-7341

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