Iowa needs nurses

and faculty to teach them.

New grants aim to turn nurses into professors
A new effort helps Iowa nurses foot the bill for the advanced degrees they need to teach at nursing schools. Nurses are eligible for $4,000 grants that will help offset tuition at 35 colleges and universities in Iowa. Thirty-one students will receive grants.

The grants are paid for by Iowa Student Loan, a nonprofit organization that offers federal and supplemental loans to college students. The group has teamed up with the Iowa Nurses Association and the advocacy group Iowa Needs Nurses Now to fight a statewide nursing shortage.

The shortfall is on track to grow from 8 percent in 2005 to 27 percent within a decade because of an aging population of nurses, Iowa Department of Public Health figures show.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of University of Iowa nursing school applicants were turned away because of a shortage of nursing professors and teachers, said Jamie Buelt, an Iowa Student Loan spokeswoman.

Iowa lawmakers this year also took aim at the nursing shortage. They approved bills that create the mechanisms, if not the money, to pay for state-of-the-art nursing school equipment and financial aid for nurses who want to teach.

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