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Local legislators work to expand scholarships for nurse educators

Scholarships put experienced nurses back in classroom

news story imageChicago (June 30, 2008) State Representative Jim Brosnahan, D-36, recently sponsored a bill in the Illinois House of Representatives that would give much needed incentives to nursing educators in Illinois.  

“The care local residents receive in our hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other facilities depends on the state’s ability to offer opportunities and incentives for nurse educators,” Brosnahan said. “We are facing nurse shortages across Illinois, and we must take steps to train and retain quality nurse educators to increase the pool of highly skilled nurses employed in Illinois.”

House Bill 5059 would allocate $2 million to provide scholarships to experienced Illinois nurses through the Illinois Department of Public Health. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Kevin Joyce, D-35 and Sen. Ed Maloney, D-18.

Saint Xavier University President Judith A. Dwyer, Ph.D., thanked Brosnahan, Joyce and Maloney for their efforts to focus on the nursing shortage.

“This important legislation demonstrates the commitment of Representatives Brosnahan and Joyce and Senator Maloney to improving access to quality health care in every community of our state,” President Dwyer said.

SXU School of Nursing Interim Dean Kay Thurn, Psy.D., R.N., said the legislation helps highlight a “critical shortage of nursing faculty” in nursing education.

“Patients of all health care facilities in the Chicago area and around the state benefit from the care and leadership of Saint Xavier University’s nursing graduates,” Thurn said. “This legislation will enhance our ability to bring highly skilled practitioners into the classroom as educators.” 

Founded in 1935, the Saint Xavier University School of Nursing offered the first baccalaureate-nursing program to receive accreditation in Illinois. Today, the school offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees in nursing. Both degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).  In September 2007, the National League for Nursing awarded the School of Nursing designation as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education for “creating an environment that enhances student learning and professional development.” SXU is one of only 11 schools in the nation to receive this distinction. 

Photo: State Representative Jim Brosnahan, D-36, recently sponsored a bill in the Illinois House of Representatives that would give much needed incentives to nursing educators in Illinois. From left to right: Saint Xavier University President Judith A. Dwyer, Ph.D., State Representative Jim Brosnahan, D-36, SXU School of Nursing Interim Dean Kay Thurn, Psy.D., R.N. 

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Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.