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DMACC sees high demand for nurse aid training program scholarships

The health care field is in desperate need of health care workers. DMACC is trying to help with that shortage with a new opportunity for students.

ANKENY, Iowa — Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is helping with the process of getting more nurses in the health care field by offering a scholarship that covers the cost of the Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) certification. 

"So we have a scholarship that we opened up applications last Wednesday for 100 students. It was first come first serve, we had an overwhelmingly positive response and we had to close the application early [Friday] morning," said Dr. Natalia Thilges, the Director of Nursing Certification at DMACC. "Due to that response, we were well over 150 applicants. So exceptional opportunity, and it really shows that there truly is a need for this sort of scholarship for students."

With books, scrubs, tuition and a background check fee listed as program costs, the school created the scholarship based off the high demand of nurses needed everywhere. It is also designed to take some of the financial burden off of the students who want to help fill those positions. 

The certification program itself costs $1,000.

That's a cost Rocci Shields is hoping to cut down on. 

"This grant is part of my nursing, like, it's part of my nursing prerequisites anyway to become a CNA," Shields said. "So the incentive of not having to pay for this part of it just lessens the amount of debt I graduate with as a nurse."

Shields isn't the only one hoping to lessen the cost, as Shanoa Muenge hopes to receive this certification to better prepare herself as a nurse to help her community back home in Tanzania, Africa. 

"I hope to accomplish a big dream that I started to have when I was a little kid and accomplishing this dream," she said. "It's gonna help me be able to give it back in my country and not only my country but all around the world as much as I can. Because being a nurse, I want to give aid and educational materials to immigrants, people out there who wanted to go to school so bad but they don't have all those kinds of materials that they need."

DMACC is not just prioritizing helping students with cost. The pandemic has strained health care workers across the U.S. the past two years. 

According to health care experts, burnout in this career field is higher than ever. DMACC has implemented strategies to ensure their students take care of themselves before they take care of others.

Representatives for the DMACC Nursing program say that they will be reaching out to scholarship recipients through email in the upcoming week. 

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