The Nursing Education Incentive Program offers Truman nursing majors ample opportunity

The nursing department entered the spring 2024 semester with a $150,000 grant that offers more opportunities for students pursuing nursing-related careers. 5% of Truman State University undergraduate students are active members of the immersive nursing curriculum. The nursing department at Truman strives to provide students with the knowledge and skills to enter the field with the ability to provide patients with safe and effective care in all healthcare settings..
The Nursing Education Incentive Program grant has been awarded to Truman in the past and will be used to broaden the career options for nursing students. Now with the benefit of the NEIP grant, the department has ample room to expand by allowing associate’s degree-prepared registered nurses the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree.
Freshman Lydia Hackbarth said she has always known a career in the medical field was where she would thrive, but the exact job for her was unclear until she began researching various career paths. “I chose nursing because it has a lot of job security and opportunity but primarily because it’s what I’m passionate about,” Hackbarth said. “I really like being helpful.”
During the extensive college search process, Hackbarth said she had heard good things about the Truman nursing department, significantly influencing her decision to attend.
Hackbarth said she sent in her application to the program with high hopes of getting accepted and since then has felt more than welcomed by the faculty and other students active in the nursing program.
“I appreciate how everyone in the nursing cohort knows each other, and I have a lot of the same classes with the same group of people, which I enjoy because it allows me to develop closer relationships with them,” Hackbarth said. “I always have someone to reach out to if I’m struggling because they’re going through the same thing.”
Cindy Waller, chair of the nursing department, has a long history in nursing management and has been a nurse since 1978.
Upon knowledge of the grant, Waller said she began looking into what she could do to best benefit the nursing department at Truman.
“With this being my first year at Truman, I wasn’t completely familiar with the Kirksville area, and so I searched the area around Kirksville within a 50-mile radius and found about five critical access hospitals around Kirksville,” Waller said.
Waller said she continued to look into these hospitals and the post-secondary options around the designated radius, finding that Truman was the only nearby university. Visiting these hospitals and meeting with their CEOs and Chief Nursing Officers gave Waller insight into what they sought in graduate nurses.
“What came out of that discussion was that they needed their nursing staff to get their bachelor’s degree,” Waller said. “Consequently, the grant is intended to focus on an online RN to BSN program.”
This new program will allow experienced nurses to continue their education and help ensure they graduate with the knowledge and skills to serve patients.
Hackbarth said she is honored by the grant and thinks the department will invest money toward something amazing.
“I’m excited that the nursing department has received this grant because it shows that the nursing program at Truman is being recognized — something I think is really important because I believe it is a seriously good program and one that I don’t hear a lot of people on campus talking about,” Hackbarth said.