UAMS Receives $820,000 Minority Nurse Recruitment Grant

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing has received an $820,418 federal grant to finance a minority nurse recruitment and retention program for three years.


The UAMS program began July 1 and is directed by Patricia E. Thompson, Ed.D, R.N., associate dean for baccalaureate education in the UAMS College of Nursing. She also is a fellow in the American Academy of Nurses. The grant was awarded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.


The program will focus on Arkansas’ two primary minority groups, African Americans and Hispanics, targeting those from disadvantaged backgrounds, including first-generation college students. Men also will be a focus of the program because there are so few in nursing.


“Only 4.9 percent of nurses in the United States are African American and 2 percent are Hispanic,” Thompson said. “Those are extremely low numbers of minorities, and about 6 percent of nurses are men.”


The UAMS College of Nursing has partnered with six Arkansas schools that will serve as pipelines for minority nursing students. The schools are: Rogers High School, Central High School in Helena, Metropolitan Vocational High School in Little Rock, North Little Rock High School, and high schools at Carlisle and Lonoke.


Faculty and students in the UAMS College of Nursing will visit the schools regularly, working with counselors and teachers. They also will make presentations to students and become mentors to aspiring nurses. College of Nursing students will encourage and help them as e-mail pen pals.


Once these minority students are on the UAMS campus, a number of supports will be there to help keep them in school and to graduate. Financial assistance will be provided to 52 students through scholarships and stipends by the end of the three-year-grant.


The program also includes professional and leadership development.


“Besides the nursing shortage, many of our nursing leaders are baby boomers who will retire in a few years,” Thompson said. “We have to grow our next generation of leaders in this field.”


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with more than 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.5 billion a year. For more information, visit