U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson Urging Nursing Students to Work in MississippiBy Daniel Cherry | Published 29 Aug 2011 08:12pm |
Mississippi is one of the most unhealthy states in the country, and with a critical nurse shortage the problem could get worse. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how state and federal programs are in place to give Mississippi educated nurses more incentive to work in state.
At the University of Mississippi nursing school Benny Thompson, Mississippi 2nd District U.S. Congressman, spoke to the senior class. He says the affordable health care act is adding 250 million dollars to a program that will forgive student loans for certain graduates.
"You can get a medical education, and go anywhere you want to. But you can get those education loans canceled if, in fact, you work in medically underserved areas. Mississippi, as a state for the most part, with maybe one or two exceptions, has been declared medically underserved."
Mississippi colleges and universities graduated more than two thousand nurses last year...many of those will leave the state for large cities and better pay. Dr. Ricki Garrett, Executive Director of the Mississippi Nurses Association, says the state is going to need more nurses in the coming years than ever before.
"We already have a shortage of nurses in our state, and that shortage is going to be compounded over the next few years as the Baby Boomer generation ages, and there are about 76 million baby boomers in our country."
To fill the need for more nurses the state offers grants for nursing school tuition if students agree to work in Mississippi after graduation. Allison Calhoun is a senior at UMC's nursing school, and she's taking advantage of the program. She says more students would use the grants, but many don't know they exist.
"I think I just stumbled across it on a website one day. I think really promoting this would attract more students to that. I think it would be great to keep nurses here to help promote health care in these areas."
Some estimate there is a shortage 300 thousand nurses nationwide.
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