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DNP students committed to underserved communities receive federal scholarships

January 11, 2013

The Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing awarded federally funded scholarships Jan. 9 to 24 students in its Post-Baccalaureate-to-DNP and MSN-NP online nursing programs. The Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship scholarships partially pay for tuition, fees, stipends and books for nursing students committed to working in underserved communities and rural areas. The scholarship support is especially important as the nation experiences the burgeoning need for access to primary care and a greater demand for family nurse practitioners, according to Ann H. Cary, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., professor and director of the School of Nursing.

One scholarship recipient, Loyola Doctor of Nursing Practice student D.J. Helne, R.N., B.S.N., is enthusiastic about assisting underserved communities. Currently a nurse at North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., Helne’s passion has always been helping migrant farm workers with their health care needs.

Helne, now in her third semester of the Loyola DNP program, knew she wanted to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner after volunteering in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Although Helne, who speaks both Creole and Spanish, was instrumental in communicating with health care professionals and earthquake victims in Haiti, the experience gave her a thirst for a stronger knowledge base.

“I wanted to know more. I wanted to be a resource and a reference for patients,” Helne said.

Cary herself was a recipient of one of these federal traineeships while pursuing her master’s degree. “Traineeship support is an example of work force development policy in action,” Cary said. “The federal government has designated these scholarships to build capacity in primary care.”

Loyola nursing program students receiving scholarships are: Jeri Buckley of Florida, D.J. Helne of Florida, Wendy Murphy of Florida, Jennifer Cantrell of Louisiana, Wanda Darensbourg of Louisiana, Brenda Deel of Louisiana, Janet Dornier of Louisiana, Robin Fischer of Louisiana, Stacie Hollis of Louisiana, Casey Saavedra of Louisiana, Sharon Spina-Phillips of Louisiana, Janelle Akomah of Maryland, Uzoaku Chukwu of Maryland, Diana Elwell of New York, Kharen Johnson of New York, Devina Horton of Oklahoma, Chika Agina of Oklahoma, Rhonda McMullin of Oregon, Raine Springer of Pennsylvania, Fadeke Amao of Texas, Mandy Donovitz of Texas, Chika Egwuagu of Texas, Megan Garcia of Texas and Chandra Hall of Virginia.

Support for the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship program is funded by the Division of Nursing, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services to Loyola University New Orleans under grant number A10HP25115 for $700,000.00 for 2012-2014.

The application deadline for the new class of Loyola School of Nursing Post-Baccalaureate-to-DNP or Post-Masters-to-DNP online programs is Feb. 15.

Contact Mikel Pak, associate director of public affairs, at 504-861-5448 for more information.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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