Overview

Nurses play a pivotal role in Mississippi health care. They provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. Nursing is one of the fastest developing fields in Mississippi. That's why The Bower Foundation supports the advancement of this profession by funding projects to promote careers in nursing and support school-based clinics.

Initiatives

Office of Nursing Workforce +

Goal: To create and sustain a high school health care mentorship program, designed to generate interest and subsequently prepare students to pursue a career in nursing or other health care professions.

Strategies:
1. Bower funded the High School Certified Nurse Assistant Mentorship Program, which targets teens in Mississippi with strong interest in health-related careers. The program included an eight-week mentorship academy at local hospitals, from which graduating students were given the opportunity for enrollment in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course and CNA certification testing.

2. The Foundation also supported the High School Dual Enrollment LPN Program, building on an existing collaborative program with the Mississippi State Legislature, Community College Board, and local community colleges. The program allows select high school students to take their first semester of LPN training over their high school senior year followed by a second semester in the summer with program completion in December.

Results: Five community colleges enroll 50 students annually. Bower provides funds for additional students at one community college, as well as tuition and financial assistance for students in the program.

School Nurses +

Goal: To hire and train school nurses in the administration of the Early and Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program (EPSDT).

Strategies: Bower provided startup funding for schools for staff costs, startup supplies and equipment, room renovation and computer hardware. Through Medicaid, an additional source of revenue was established to sustain the school nurse program. Additionally, the Foundation funded and led the development of software for EPSDT billing to Medicaid.

Nurses for Rural Areas +

Goal: To address the shortage of nurses in rural Mississippi.

Strategies: The Bower Foundation partnered with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) to develop and operate an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program at MGCCC's Perkinston campus. Professional development education opportunities and community-based educational programs are also offered to impact retention in the nursing workplace.

Results: The ADN program received full accreditation in April 2006, with the first class of 23 students graduated in May 2006. The program continues to educate and graduate nurses.