HRSA’s NEPQR-WEP Program: Key Deadlines and Insights

The HRSA NEPQR-WEP program is designed to address nursing shortages in the U.S.

The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has released a new program, Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) – Workforce Expansion Program (WEP), to address the critical nurse shortage in rural (non-metro) and underserved areas, specifically in acute and long-term care settings. 

Through the training of additional associate and baccalaureate degree nursing students, HRSA’s NEPQR-WEP aims to enhance nursing education and clinical practice to expand the workforce and improve the retention of the nursing workforce practicing in acute care settings and long-term care facilities.

NEPQR-WEP Eligibility Requirements 

Eligible entities include an accredited school of nursing, such as baccalaureate nursing programs and community colleges that train associate degree nurses, a health care facility, including federally qualified health centers or nurse-managed health clinics, or partnership of such a school and facility. 

HRSA will give special consideration in funding applications submitted by entities that confer associate degrees in nursing, such as community colleges.

HRSA Funding Priorities and Preferences

Funding priority will be given to applicants in the 10 states with the greatest nursing shortages (Georgia, California, Washington, New Jersey, North Carolina, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, and Oregon) as well as public entities.

Funding preference will be given to those projects that: 

  1. Substantially Benefit Rural Populations
  2. Substantially Benefits Underserved Populations
  3. Help Meet Public Health Nursing Needs in State or Local Health Departments.

Application Deadlines and Funding Details for HRSA’s NEPQR-WEP Program

With a six-week turnaround from program release, grant applications are due on July 26, 2024. Approximately five awards are anticipated, with up to $1 million annual awards over the course of the 4-period of performance (up to $4 million total per awardee). The funding in years 2-4 is subject to annual appropriation.

The Impact of Nursing Shortages on Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality

Nursing shortages are part of the greater clinician shortage throughout the United States. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2022-2032, there will be an average of 193,100 openings for RNs annually through 2032. The Covid pandemic only accelerated shortage trends fueled by both an aging population requiring more care as well as many nurses nearing retirement age. 

These dire shortages have led to patient safety and quality issues including increased medical errors, higher morbidity and mortality rates, worsening health disparities, and in some cases, have forced closures of inpatient beds. Insufficient nurse-to-patient ratios have also led to crises in burnout and job dissatisfaction with ripple effects throughout the workforce. As a result, hospitals have felt profound losses in revenue as well while facing significantly higher staffing costs when turning to travel nurses.

Nursing school enrollment is not keeping pace with demand; in fact, nursing school faculty shortages have resulted in thousands of applicants being turned away. One piece of the puzzle in turning around these troubling workforce trends is increasing the number of clinical faculty and preceptors to help rectify these shortages. Community college nursing programs, such as those eligible for the NEPQR-WEP funding, can play a large role in the solution, especially in attracting future nurses who are more likely to stay in their local community.

Application Assistance for HRSA’s NEPQR-WEP Program

McAllister & Quinn has a track record of successfully helping healthcare and higher education clients win HRSA and nursing workforce grants. Our services include advance intelligence, landscape analysis, and a comprehensive team-based approach to grant writing and proposal development, which has helped our clients win more than $15 billion over 20 years. 

Our in-house team of nearly 100 federal grant experts is supported by 400 grant consultants – the largest such network in the country – comprising writers, editors, reviewers, and graphic designers. The breadth and depth of our team’s expertise in federal funding affords us the ability to tailor-pick the right team for each project.  

Contact Us Here to learn more about our approach and how we may be able to assist your institution in developing federal grant strategies and crafting competitive submissions.