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Proposed bill could bring more nurses to rural areas

Proposed bill could bring more experienced nurses to rural areas across Alabama.

There’s a need for nurses in rural parts of Alabama, and a proposed bill could attract more experienced nurses to those areas. In 2016, Alabama lawmakers created a program to repay loans of nursing students. The new legislation would mean recent nursing grads could also benefit from program.
If passed, the loan repayment incentive would expand to recent nursing graduates who are certified.

Nursing Department Chair Lynn Hogan says the opportunities for students are plentiful and even more so in rural areas, which lack healthcare professionals.

There is a great need, said Hogan. You hear across the nation of smaller hospitals closing. I think that’s because of a lack of providers.

As of now, there’s a nursing program in place lawmakers created that offers a maximum of $15,000 per year in loan repayment to current students who work rural areas. For each year a nurse participates in the program, they must work in a rural area for 18 months.

A proposed bill would expand that incentive to nurse practitioners who graduated within the past five years. 

According to the Alabama Board of Nursing, there are currently 37 applicants approved for the loan repayment program.