Local nursing student earns scholarship

Published 5:36 pm Saturday, February 16, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing recently awarded federally funded scholarships to 24 students from nine states in its Post-Baccalaureate-to-DNP and MSN-Nurse Practitioner online nursing programs.

One student, Chandra Hall, hails from Suffolk.

The Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship scholarships partially pay for tuition, fees, stipends and books for nursing students committed to working in underserved communities and rural areas.

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The scholarship support is especially important as the nation experiences the burgeoning need for access to primary care and a greater demand for family nurse practitioners, according to Ann H. Cary, professor and director of the School of Nursing.

One scholarship recipient, Loyola Doctor of Nursing Practice student D.J. Helne, is enthusiastic about serving underserved communities. Currently a nurse at North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., Helne’s passion has always been helping migrant farm workers with their health care needs.

Helne, now in her third semester of the Loyola DNP program, knew she wanted to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner after volunteering in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Although Helne, who speaks both Creole and Spanish, was instrumental in communicating with health care professionals and earthquake victims in Haiti, the experience gave her a thirst for a stronger knowledge base.

“I wanted to know more. I wanted to be a resource and a reference for patients,” Helne said.

Cary herself was a recipient of one of these federal traineeships while pursuing her master’s degree. “Traineeship support is an example of work force development policy in action,” Cary said. “The federal government has designated these scholarships to build capacity in primary care.”

Support for the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.