Fairfield University's School of Nursing is receiving a $700,000 federal grant to help students pay for courses to become nurse practitioners so they can specialize in primary care.
The grant, from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is part of a natiaonl effort to increase the number of primary care providers that are expected to be needed as a result of more people having health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The intent is for the Fairfield nurse practitioners to work as health care providers in health professional shortage areas, such as Bridgeport, New Haven and Norwalk.
Although regulations vary from state to state, in Connecticut nurse practitioners can practice independently. They can also practice in multiple settings like a clinic or physician's practice. At Fairfield, nurse practitioner students are encouraged to start their own businesses as well.
Students who accept grant money are required to work with a disadvantaged population for a period of time. The funds will also help the school attract more students from minority backgrounds into the nurse practitioner programs.