Federal funding will put more skilled nurses in rural, underserved areas of the Mid-South

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — Two university’s in Memphis have been selected to receive federal funding to go towards creating programs to put nurse practitioners in rural, underserved areas of the Mid-South.

Both the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center have been selected to receive $2.7 million each.

That funding will help create new nursing programs for rural healthcare.

In a release from U of M, it said its program will focus on providing mental health services in those areas of West Tennessee.

UTHSC’s program focuses on maternal healthcare and midwifery.

Sarah Rhoads, a nursing professor at UTHSC, said rural services for expecting mothers are struggling.

“It was shocking to me to find that seven hospitals in Tennessee, since 2015, had stopped obstetrical services and certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioner students can help meet the needs of residents,” she said.

Rhoads said while they can’t prevent hospital services from closing they can work to meet the needs of those struggling.

Rhoads, who is one of the professors leading the new program, said they’re in the process of selecting five students for this year’s program. She said in the four years that the funding is provided for they’ll put 20 students through it.

At UTHSC, those students will get free tuition, books and a stipend with the commitment that they work in an area of need for three years.

“That really helps. Many students, it’s difficult to juggle clinical hours and work as a nurse so this will give them a little bit of resources so that they don’t have to work so much while they’re in school,” Rhoads said.

At U of M, it will provide opportunities for 80 nursing students who will receive “traineeship funds.”

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