; CareFirst Awards Nearly $1 Million Through Nurse-Education Partnership
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Press Release

CareFirst Awards Nearly $1 Million Through Nurse-Education Partnership

May 8, 2014

BALTIMORE – CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) plans to invest an additional $960,000 in stipends to as many as 12 nursing students pursuing advanced degrees to become nurse educators through the company's Project RN nurse education partnership program.

Project RN's 2014 grant awards include $80,000 stipends over 36 months for one student at each of the following schools: Bowie State University; Marymount University; Coppin State University; Notre Dame of Maryland University; Stevenson University; George Washington University; Towson University; University of Maryland-Baltimore; Salisbury University; Johns Hopkins University; and George Mason University. A 12th stipend will be awarded to a student at Morgan State University, pending the anticipated accreditation of its nursing program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education later this year.

Students pursuing masters or doctoral level nursing degrees at the selected universities were eligible to apply for the CareFirst-funded stipends and were selected by each university on an individual basis. The stipends can be used by students beginning classes in the spring or fall semesters of 2014.

Since 2007, Project RN has helped alleviate the shortage of qualified nurse educators in regional schools with grant recipients committing to teach nurses at schools in Maryland, D.C. or Northern Virginia for at least three years after receiving their degree.

"Few know that one of the root causes of the nursing shortage is a lack of qualified nurse educators," said Maria Tildon, CareFirst's Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs. "Project RN identifies skilled candidates and gives them the tools they need to succeed as nurse educators in our communities. Without dedicated nurse educators, our health care system will continue to experience a shortage of qualified bedside nurses."

The total number of job openings for nurses will reach 1.05 million by 2022, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To date, CareFirst has invested nearly $3 million in 42 nursing students seeking advanced degrees to become nurse educators. More information about Project RN can be found on the CareFirst Commitment website.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
In its 77th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2013, CareFirst contributed nearly $57 million to community programs designed to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at http://www.carefirst.com or follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CareFirst_News.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.