NASHVILLE – Online, nonprofit WGU Tennessee, an affiliate of Western Governors University, has introduced a new Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program and a Rural Healthcare Scholarship to support nursing students across rural Tennessee.
With this new degree program, WGU Tennessee aims to address the healthcare shortage and growing number of healthcare deserts in Tennessee. In the Volunteer State alone, openings for nurse practitioners are expected to grow 40.7% between 2014 and 2024, adding about 1,740 jobs. This new degree is for students who already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
“The opportunity for nursing professionals is projected to outpace all other professionals through 2028, which gives us an incredible avenue to serve our students in Tennessee,” said Kimberly Estep, Southeast Regional Vice President for WGU and Chancellor of WGU Tennessee. “FNPs are an increasingly important backbone of the healthcare system in rural areas; providing more of these highly trained professionals will increase the quality of care in our state while driving down costs.”
WGU Tennessee is simultaneously launching a Rural Healthcare Scholarship valued at $5,000, aiming to address the critical shortage of qualified nurses and family nurse practitioners in the state. The online university commits to awarding $100,000 in scholarships to qualified applicants seeking BSN, MSN or FNP degrees. Learn more about the scholarship opportunity.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of having access to quality healthcare,” said Jan Jones-Schenk, Senior Vice President and Dean, College of Health Professions at WGU. “In Tennessee specifically, the growing number of healthcare ‘deserts’ has reached a concerning level with too many Tennesseans living miles away from potentially lifesaving health services. By expanding the number of FNPs in the state, the College of Health Professions at WGU is looking to make a significant contribution to health and well-being of the communities that we serve.”
Family nurse practitioners differ from regular nurse practitioners (NPs) in their training. FNPs are trained to treat whole families, covering a range of age groups, and typically serve as the primary care provider for those family members. NPs receive training in specific areas and usually work with a designated age group or health condition. These key differences make FNPs crucial in rural areas as well as isolated healthcare deserts.
As with all WGU degree programs, the FNP program allows students to earn an accredited education while granting them affordability and the flexibility to work at their own pace. This enables working nurses to obtain their degrees without needing to take time off to attend a traditional university. Learn more about WGU’s Family Nurse Practitioner program.