LIVINGSTON – Montana State University’s nursing program recently received a $2.8 million grant to train nursing students.
This will impact Montana because there is a shortage of nurses in rural communities throughout the state. In the past, nursing students did much of their training in hospitals but they can now have a different experience.
The grant will provide that opportunity for students to be able to go out and train in rural settings such as Park County to be able to have a taste of what it’s like to serve people in those communities.
Dean of the College of Nursing Sarah Shannon said, “we absolutely encourage our graduates to practice all across rural Montana. We hope to educate the workforce that will serve Montana and improve Montana’s health.”
Practicing in a rural place isn’t the same as a bigger hospital.
“Everywhere you go everyone knows you, knows you work at the health department, knows you’re a nurse, asks you questions. But that’s what I love about it is that it’s not that I’m a nurse in the hospital and then when I’m out of the hospital I’m not. I’m a nurse all the time,” Public Health Nurse for Park County Janelle Bowden said.
Being a nurse in a small community is no easy task.
"It’s so small that you’re their life line. You’re the one that they look to for answers and help," MSU Nursing student Devin Mock said.
“It’s so different than at the hospital. You get to prevent disease rather than fix it,” Bowden said.
Like Bowden, current nursing students were raised in rural communities and are looking forward to caring for those communities after graduation.
"Where I grew up, it was a nurse practitioner that did most of the care for us and we got to know the nurses and the nurse practitioner on a personal level as well as with healthcare, and that’s just the kind of care that I wanted to provide,” Mock said.
This is a four-year grant from the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration and should help increase the number of rural nurses across the state.