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Since 2013, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) has sustained its core purpose "to promote high-quality health care for all" by providing financial support for nurse practitioners (NPs) and NP students in the form of the AANP Grants and Scholarships program. While the AANP Grants and Scholarships program originally tied directly to corporate donations, the decision was made in 2019 to derive funds for the program from a percentage of membership. With this change, funds grew alongside AANP membership, which helped double the funds available to members.
This year, the AANP Grants and Scholarships program reached the milestone of awarding $1 million dollars in grants and scholarships funds since the establishment of the program ten years ago. "AANP is proud to have reached this exciting milestone in professional funding support for NPs looking to make strides in academic research and advance their education. With over one million dollars awarded in AANP Grants and Scholarships, AANP is able to support NPs and NP students in achieving their professional goals, all while continuing to promote accessible, high-quality care for all,” said AANP President Stephen Ferrara, DNP, FNP, FAANP, FAAN. In celebration of this exciting achievement, AANP caught up with various grants and scholarships recipients from recent years to see how they’ve benefitted from the professional funding support they received.
Becky Coyle Mueller, PhD, RN, FNP-BC: My grant project involved building transgender content into the adult-gerontology primary care NP program at Neumann University where I teach. I educated NP students and faculty about the primary care of patients who are transgender and gender diverse using different teaching modalities. The intervention involved focused readings, a recorded lecture, a patient panel and 1:1 standardized patient encounters with trans and gender diverse simulated patients (SPs) to allow students and faculty to practice health history taking skills.
I had applied for an AANP Grant back in 2019, did not receive it and was disappointed. But I encourage other NPs to not be afraid to try again. On my second submission, I was accepted for a grant! Not only did the grant fund the educational intervention, but it also supported the employment of trans and gender diverse folks who served as panelists and SPs. Based on research findings, the grant provided an exemplary learning experience for learners with positive outcomes in building knowledge, skills and attitudes among learners.
Our job as health care providers is to provide nonjudgmental, compassionate care, and I hope that my project provides NPs with confidence in their knowledge, skills and attitudes surrounding this topic, so that NPs are well prepared to care for trans and gender diverse patients. This project has allowed me to work closely with folks in the trans and gender-diverse community, which has been a wonderful experience.
Heather Armstrong, BSN, RN, CEN: As a family nurse practitioner (FNP) student, I am personally grateful for the gift of this scholarship from AANP — an organization I am proud to be a member of. Thank you for assisting me during a time of financial need.
Professionally, AANP has so much to offer the nursing community. I enjoy NP Pulse podcast, AANP CE Center and the Advocacy Center. AANP has impacted my knowledge base and helped me grow professionally as a future FNP!
Sonia Betancourt, MSN, RN, FNP-C: I am grateful to AANP for standing by their mission — empowering NPs to advance accessible, person-centered, equitable, high-quality health care for diverse communities through practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership.
This scholarship is contributing to my preparation to lead nursing and provide this mission to the communities I serve and lead by example, so that others will be motivated to become NPs, nurses and nursing leaders.
Stephanie Buxhoeveden, MSCN, MSN, RN, NP-C: My research involves looking at the differences between disease susceptibility and severity in men and women with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that can cause significant physical and cognitive disability from a young age, which has a profound impact on almost every aspect of a patient’s life. We know that females are three times more susceptible to developing MS than men, but men tend to have a more severe disease course. As an NP, I found it extremely difficult to effectively tailor treatment in each individual patient without understanding what exactly causes MS, or why patients have such different disease outcomes. I decided to pursue a PhD in nursing so that I could help find answers to these questions, and this award has been essential in helping me achieve my goal of becoming an independent researcher.
This AANP grant allowed me to isolate the RNA in 48 blood samples from MS patients and healthy controls. I am currently in the process of analyzing the transcriptome (mRNA) and micro-RNA of each sample and hope to identify novel biomarkers of sex-based disease disparities. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of complex diseases, like MS, is an important step in understanding why some people are more susceptible and why others have a more severe disease.
By funding my project, this AANP grant has helped me gain critical bench science skills and insights. I have learned firsthand that the nursing lens is incredibly valuable when conducting basic science research. Nursing professionals have long appreciated the influence that a person’s environmental and social context has on their overall health, making them well poised to research biomarkers and contribute to the precision science movement. I am very grateful to AANP for giving me the opportunity to do just that!
Applications for the 2024 AANP Grants and Scholarships Program funding cycle will open in February, but it’s never too early to check your eligibility and prepare for your submission! Review AANP’s opportunities for professional funding support today to help you plan for your next research project or educational milestone.