Gov. Jay Nixon highlighted the Caring for Missourians program Oct. 14 in St. Louis on the University of Missouri campus and praised the program for providing Missouri's colleges and universities with more nursing and other medical degree opportunities.
"At a time when we are facing record unemployment, Missouri doesn't have enough medical professionals to meet our health care needs," Gov. Nixon said. "Through Caring for Missourians, we are training individuals to fill high-demand positions, while also giving them a leg up on building a career and helping to turn our economy around. This program will give hundreds of Missourians the training they need to meet critical needs in our health care industry."
Caring for Missourians will provide colleges with more medical field degrees for the coming spring semester.
About 253 nursing degrees will be given at many Missouri colleges and universities including the University of Missouri-Columbia, Lincoln University, Missouri State University, Missouri Western State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri, Truman State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
According to the nursing department at Missouri State University-West Plains, about 18 more nursing degrees will be offered starting in the spring 2010 semester bringing the total number of nursing degree opportunities up to 98. Funds from Caring for Missourians will also provide for some part- and full-time faculty.
The university received $170,000 as part of the Caring for Missourians $40 million statewide initiative.
"The funds provided through the Caring for Missourians program will allow MSU-West Plains to address the two biggest problems in our country -- the economy and health care," MSU-West Plains Chancellor Dr. Drew Bennett said. "Anything that helps us graduate more nurses serves as a jobs program and stimulates the economy, as well as reduces the cost of healthcare, especially in rural areas. While we are an open admissions campus, there is a back log of students waiting to enter our nursing program, and 100 percent of our nursing graduates who seek employment find it. This is a great use of our tax dollars, providing a huge return on a relatively small investment."
"We are very excited about the opportunity to expand our program with these funds and offer an additional admission cycle for area residents interested in a nursing career," said Donna Jones, chair of the nursing department at MSU-West Plains. "With the Caring for Missourians funding, we can further our ability to meet the growing needs of health care providers in our seven-county primary service region and beyond."