Even as she started her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Erica Lynch Grant, BSN, RN, CCRN, knew her end goal was to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP).
“I love nursing, and I love creating a strong connection with my patients and their families,” she says. “As an FNP, I knew I would have more opportunities to help change the health of my community as a whole. It’s incredibly special to be able to be on the health care team of two siblings or a parent and child. When you get to know who patients are outside of the medical field — and understand their values, beliefs and culture — you’re better able to deliver an individualized care plan and help them feel empowered in their health journey.”
Grant returned to the University of Illinois at Chicago for her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2015. A student member of AANP since 2018, she frequently visited AANP’s Student Resources section and discovered a scholarship opportunity.
“As a national organization with so many members, to actually be selected for a scholarship was very special. I was very humbled, and I felt I was truly being seen and supported by AANP,” she says.
“This scholarship came at a pivotal time for me. I was entering the last year of my program, starting my clinical rotations and focusing on my DNP project. Previously, I had been working full time as an ICU nurse to help pay for tuition, but this scholarship allowed me to work part time and focus on my education. It helped me prioritize what I needed to focus on then and there.”
AANP can be a great resource for students — and NPs at every stage of their career — in a number of ways, from continuing education (CE) opportunities to advocacy resources.
“As a student member, you can attend the AANP national conference at a reduced cost as I did in 2019, learn a tremendous amount and connect with NPs you wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise,” Grant says.
She shares that she has recently been reading AANP’s resources on starting your NP career, which provide advice on certification and the workforce, and on advocacy, where you can learn the politics of nursing and keep up with changing regulations. She also stays in touch with what’s going on in health care through a subscription to AANP SmartBrief, a members-only weekday newsletter.
“Being an AANP member makes me feel very empowered as an NP,” Grant says. “Across the country, I am partnered with lots of individuals who have similar goals of improving health and providing health services to those who lack resources in their communities. It truly feels like I’m a part of something big.”
AANP is honored to be able to support the next generation of NPs. With many inspirational recipients like Erica Grant, the AANP Scholarship Program awards $2,500 to $5,000 in scholarship funding to applicants each year. In 2019, this amounted to $86,500 in total!
The 2020 AANP Scholarship Program is now accepting applications. Scholarships are available to members who are currently enrolled in an accredited graduate school in pursuit of an advanced degree. Applicants must be licensed as a registered nurse (RN), have at least one semester of classes completed and be scheduled to complete an eligible NP program between fall (August) 2020 and summer (July) 2021.
In addition, AANP Grants are currently available to members who are practicing in an NP role. Applicants must be certified NPs and may receive up to $5,000 in grant funding. Graduate students are welcome to apply if their project is expected to be completed in 2021.
Applications for AANP Grants or Scholarships are due by 5 p.m. CT on March 18, 2020. Don’t wait — apply today!