DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today that it is investing $1 million in North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Nursing. This is the second investment in a Triad HBCU nursing program by Blue Cross in the last two weeks. The investment is part of Blue Cross NC’s commitment to contribute $50 million toward community health initiatives in 2018. The investment is partially funded through $40 million in tax savings generated through the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
A&T will use the investment for scholarships to address access to care and nursing shortages, to update equipment and technology, and for student development.
“Over the past month, Blue Cross NC has made it a point to invest in our state’s outstanding HBCU nursing programs,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “We’ve done this because of the central role that nurses play in creating a higher-quality, more affordable health care system. We are excited to be able to help North Carolina A&T admit and train new nurses, especially from underserved and rural populations. As a practicing physician, I understand that in order bring costs down and increase quality, we have to think more broadly about what it means to invest in health.”
According to a recent study by Georgetown University, North Carolina is projected to have the second-largest shortage of nurses in the nation – a deficit of 12,900 nurses. The shortage is especially challenging in rural North Carolina. The state’s metropolitan areas have 32 more nurses for every 10,000 people than rural counties. Seventy of North Carolina’s 80 rural counties are classified as “medical deserts” due to their lack of primary care. Additionally, nurses play a central role in increasing the value of health care, both in terms of improved outcomes and lower costs.
“We appreciate Blue Cross NC’s continued support of North Carolina A&T. These investments are demonstrative of the importance of public private partnerships in addressing complex challenges in our communities,” Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., said.
A&T’s School of Nursing is a part of the College of Health and Human Sciences and offers the bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) through three entry options which include:
- Traditional BSN entry option for new freshmen and transfer students
- Accelerated BSN second degree option for those with a non-nursing bachelor degree
- BSN completion option for registered nurses with an associate degree
The School of Nursing prepares students to become professional nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to provide quality patient-centered care in a dynamic healthcare environment, assume leadership roles in nursing, and pursue graduate education. A&T nursing faculty use state-of-the art technology to educate nurses based on current theory, research and evidenced based practice. The School of Nursing currently has 195 students enrolled in the pre-nursing and nursing major.
The school will use the investment from Blue Cross NC to provide student scholarships, to support student development and program initiatives, and to upgrade equipment and technology within the School of Nursing.
The $1 million will be invested into the following areas:
There is a significant need for scholarships and financial aid, especially to students from poor, rural areas. These funds will be used to provide scholarship support to students who are nursing majors at A&T. The school anticipates providing 300 nursing students with $2,000 scholarships over the next 2-3 years, and plans on graduating as many as 245 nursing students with their BSN into the state’s workforce.
- Equipment and Technology
A&T will also use the funding to support the purchase of new equipment and technology and update existing equipment and technology as needed.
- Student Development
Students who earn a nursing degree must pass the NCLEX exam before they are allowed to practice. A&T will use funding from this investment to help prepare students for the NCLEX, and cover fees associated with the test.
Funding will also be used to support faculty development initiatives such as providing opportunities for School of Nursing faculty to engage in professional development initiatives and trainings.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
About North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically black university. It is a land-grant, higher-research classified university by the Carnegie Foundation and constituent member of the University of North Carolina system. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was founded in 1891 and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.