MHEC Announces Program Receives Millions in Funding to Continue Educating Nurses in Maryland

News Release, Maryland Higher Education Commission

Baltimore, MD – (December 23, 2019) – The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Secretary, Dr. James D. Fielder, announced the Nurse Support Program II (NSPII) will receive up to $90 million dollars in funding, over the next five years, to continue increasing Maryland’s academic capacity to educate nurses.

“This funding will increase opportunities for nurses employed in both hospital and academic settings, and provide our nursing workforce with the skill set necessary for the future of health care in Maryland,” said Governor Larry Hogan.

The Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) recognized the importance of nursing in Maryland and has funded the NSPII over the past 15 years. This recent renewal will fund the program at $18 million a year for the next five years, beginning in FY2021.

“This award will allow NSPII Program Director Dr. Peg Daw and her team to not only meet the need for additional nurses and faculty but to increase nursing graduates and mitigate barriers to nursing education through institutional and faculty focused initiatives,” Secretary Fielder said.

Major NSP II achievements that lead to the renewal of the multi-million dollar award include:

  • Expanding NSP II opportunities to 558 hospital-based nurses across seven programs;
  • Increasing the first time pass rates for National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) nursing licensure by 8.51 percent;
  • Increasing the number of doctoral degree completions by 78 percent, exceeding the goal of 50 percent set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM);
  • Improving the time to completion of Associate to Bachelors in Nursing (ATB) by 50 percent, with an estimated cost saving of approximately $13K per new nurse graduate;
  • Increasing the number of nurse faculty with Certified Nurse Educator credentials by 55 percent Between FY 2018 and FY 2019;
  • Providing graduate degree tuition support for 26 hospital-based professional development specialist nurse educators and 224 new nursing program instructors;
  • Expanding training for 343 nurse faculty and 51 hospital educators; 
  • Increasing the number of nurses accessing clinical simulation lieu of clinical sites by 12 percent;
  • Increasing the proportion of Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN)-prepared nurses with the skills to meet hospital needs by 60 percent;
  • Providing focused leadership development for 48 nurse faculty and 89 hospital emerging and existing nurse leaders through a year-long leadership program;
  • Providing tuition support and course release time for 63 full-time nurse faculty to complete the terminal doctoral degree, resulting in an 89 percent retention rate for teaching positions; and
  • Recruiting 162 new nurse faculty into full-time positions, with 93 percent retention rate.

The NSPII program was also credited with its 2017 revision of the Maryland Nursing Articulation Education Agreement (originally established in 1985) for seamless academic progression for Licensed Practical Nursing to Associate Degree Nursing to BSN, and for formally establishing the Maryland Nursing Workforce Center which joined 34 other states in the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.

“I am especially proud of the fact the Commission recognized our focus on strengthening the nursing programs across Maryland,” Dr. Peg Daw said. “ These dollars allow MHEC to build on the foundation of strong nursing faculty and improved educational capacity at 28 nursing programs over the next five years, which will benefit Maryland residents overall.”

NSP II supports two types of programs, including the Competitive Institutional Grants Program and Statewide Initiatives: 

  • The Competitive Institutional Grant Program includes grants which are designed to increase the structural capacity of Maryland nursing schools through shared resources, innovative educational designs, and streamlined processes to produce more nurse faculty, and undergraduate and graduate nurses; and 
  • The Statewide initiatives include the New Nurse Faculty Fellowships (NNFF), the Nurse Educator Doctoral Grants for Practice and Dissertation Research (NEDG), the Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship (GNF) and the Academic Nurse Educator Certification (ANEC). The NNFF provides funding for newly hired nursing faculty to support their research and teaching. The funds are used to assist faculty in acclimating to the academic culture, developing in their new role, and supporting their retention. Fifteen community colleges and thirteen universities across all geographic regions and types of programs in Maryland were encouraged to participate in the NSP II-funded initiatives. 

The funding provided by HSCRC is 0.1% of pooled hospital gross patient revenue. The full report is available online.

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