Illinois State University Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) has been awarded a $1.4 million Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant from the Bureau of Health Workforce in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The two-year grant will provide $700,000 per year to prepare students enrolled in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) sequence of the MCN graduate program to practice primary care in rural and underserved settings through academic and clinical training. The grant will provide development opportunities for clinical preceptors and financial support for 31 FNP students per year.

Denise Wilson, an MCN professor and the project director for the grant, said the project goal will be accomplished via the Preparation Through Partnerships (PTP) Program: “The PTP program components will include increased emphasis on the unique primary care needs of rural and underserved populations through student participation in clinical simulation and immersive clinical experiences. It is hoped that these experiences will lead to an increase in the number of primary care nurse practitioners seeking employment in practices serving rural and underserved populations.”

Reviewers of the grant application noted the high quality and demonstrated success of the FNP program, which includes a cumulative pass rate on the national certification exam of over 98 percent, compared with a national pass rate of 74 percent.

“We are very fortunate to have received this grant, with only 50 of these grants being awarded in the nation,” said MCN Dean Judy Neubrander. “This grant, the second HRSA grant we have received in the past two weeks, recognizes MCN’s ongoing excellence and commitment to serving vulnerable populations.”