So…the first thought that ran through my mind after deciding that I was really going to apply for nursing school this year was “Great. I already have a bajillion dollars of undergrad debt. How the *&%! am I going to pay for more school?”
Well, I still don’t know how this is all going to work out. But I’ve started researching options, and here’s what I’ve found so far.
- There are a million nursing scholarships. It’s overwhelming, really. I probably won’t qualify for all of them, as I already have an MEd, but still. It’s reassuring to know that there are some options.
- There’s the National Health Service Corps. They offer both full scholarships and loan repayment programs for primary care clinicians such as MD’s, NP’s, PA’s and CNM’s in exchange for service at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) or similar site.
I would never have considered applying to a program like the NHSC before…it’s very competitive…but after talking more about it with a CNM who’s become a bit of a mentor to me, I’m beginning to consider the possibility. I’ve always wanted to work abroad, and there are some clinic sites in U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, Fiji, etc. More importantly, my passion for becoming a midwife is rooted in my desire to work with people who might not otherwise have access to midwifery care. As one NHSC scholarship recipient (a recent PA grad) writes,
Despite what many believe, the NHSC scholarship program is not about helping students get out of school without loans. The NHSC SP is about helping clinicians who want to work in underserved areas do so by freeing them of the debt that might prevent them from taking a lower-paying position in an underserved area. (These areas are underserved for a reason – and low salaries for clinicians is one of those reasons).
I’ve started perusing other people’s experiences with NHSC, because I’ve heard it can be a grueling experience with lots of bureaucratic hoops to jump through…but for now, I’m just sitting with the possibility of maybe working in a predominantly Spanish-speaking part of the country for a few years. And I’m getting really, really excited. 🙂