The University of Arkansas at Monticello School of Nursing secured a $150,000 grant from the Blue & You Foundation. The grant was to be presented at an event Jan. 17 at UAM, according to a news release.

The grant was one of 40 selected across the state out of more than 260 applicants.

“Our grants this year went to programs across the state that address issues and needs that organizations have identified as important to their communities,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “These include physical and mental health programs for all ages, opportunities to participate in exercise and good nutrition, and building the future medical workforce that will care for all of our citizens.”

The award enables UAM to enhance the nursing simulation laboratory, an essential part of the nursing curriculum, according to Brandy Haley, PhD, RN, UAM dean of nursing.

“In a state where there is often a nurse shortage, our faculty strive to continue our history of graduating extremely well-prepared and successful nurses. A large part of that preparation includes offering our students high quality equipment for practical hands-on training,” Haley said.

Specifically, funds will enhance the lab by adding simulation equipment, laboratory furnishings, manikins and first-aid responder training equipment.

Haley praised faculty members Karen Hyatt and Sharon Walters for being instrumental in securing the $150,000 grant.

“Their dedication to nursing education has been made even more evident by their impressive ability to increase the resources available to our students,” Haley said. “I am grateful to work with faculty who are able to offer so much to the future nurses of our state.”

In addition to educating UAM students, simulation equipment on campus can be used for community education, when instructors in the nursing faculty offer trainings on effective use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), Stop the Bleed kits, and first aid/CPR certification.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. The Blue & You Foundation awards grants annually to non-profit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans, according to the news release.

To date, the foundation has awarded more than $36 million to 1,922 health improvement programs in Arkansas in 248 communities and in every county in the state. This funding cycle awards total $3,467,872. The UAM nursing program received the largest amount available for an individual grant.