Southern Miss College of Nursing receives $1.6M grant for education, training

Southern Miss College of Nursing receives $1.6M grant for education, training

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi 

The College of Nursing at The University of Southern Mississippi has received a $1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support advanced nursing education and practice.

Funded through the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce Advanced Nursing Education program, the three-year award will provide support to educate and train nurse practitioners – at the doctorate level – through academic-practice partnerships.

Dr. Anita Davis Boykins, associate dean of the College of Nursing and the grant program director, explains that students who are currently certified as a nurse practitioner will seek a new nurse practitioner certification through this program. The new certification will include either a post-graduate certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner or a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner while receiving a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

"The dually certified nurse practitioner with a DNP degree will be prepared to address the physical and mental health needs of children, adolescents, and adults and serve as leaders in a new model of healthcare delivery, integrated primary care and behavioral healthcare services," said Boykins.

Boykins points out that the program grant will produce a more qualified workforce to address key health problems in Mississippi, noting that the state suffers from a weak distribution of healthcare providers and a shortage of mental health providers.

"Nurse practitioners will not only be prepared to address the mental healthcare workforce shortage, but also provide accessible, timely, and efficient care to individuals with medical and psychiatric diagnoses in primary care and behavioral care settings," said Boykins.

Dr. Katherine Nugent, dean of the College of Nursing at Southern Miss, considers the HRSA grant a win-win for the University, the College of Nursing and the South Mississippi region.

"The grant addresses the need for a better healthcare delivery model for patients who have both mental health and physical health needs through the preparation of advanced nurses who are prepared to practice in a complex, integrated care delivery model," said Nugent. "The win-win is a stronger educational program, preparation of advanced practice nurses who have the leadership ability and the competencies to provide integrated care, and better healthcare for our community."

To learn more about the College of Nursing, call 601.266.5454 or visit: