The Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) at Illinois State University is the recipient of a federal Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship grant of nearly $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the education of nurse practitioners.

The HHS has estimated that by 2020, there could be a shortage of more than 20,000 primary care physicians in the United States.  Demand for primary care providers continues to increase due to population growth – especially in the aging sector – and from the increased number of Americans obtaining insurance coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

According to the HHS, this provider shortage could be minimized with an increased number of primary care nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“The nurse practitioner plays a vital role in the provision of primary care,” said Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Sequence Leader and Professor of Nursing Denise Wilson, who is also the director of the grant. “The FNP is prepared to provide holistic primary health care. This includes not only the care of individuals with acute and chronic illnesses, but also stressing health promotion, disease prevention and providing education to assist patients to optimize their health status.”

The two-year grant, totally financed by federal funds, will continue the work of MCN to educate nurse practitioners to practice as primary care providers. There are currently 65 students in the sequence, including newly admitted students, who will begin classes in August.

“Funding is crucial to assist nurses to advance their education and to meet primary care needs of members of our communities,” said Mennonite College of Nursing Acting Dean H. Catherine Miller.  “Receiving this grant will not only greatly benefit our students, but also help MCN lead the way in forging healthcare’s future.”

For additional information on the grant, contact Amy Irving of the Mennonite College of Nursing at (309) 438-7418.