Bridging the Gap: HPNF Announces Nursing Assistant Scholarship

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With approval from its Board of Directors in August 2023, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation (HPNF) is excited to announce a new $2,000 Individual Education Scholarship to support a nursing assistant who is working in hospice or palliative care and is pursuing an RN or LPN license.

Nursing assistants are invaluable members of the hospice and palliative care team, bringing immense compassion, empathy, and skill to the forefront of patient care. Their contributions go beyond physical assistance, as they provide emotional support, advocate for patients, and improve their overall quality of life.

In April 2023, HPNF Chief Executive Officer Ginger Marshall, MSN, ACNP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, attended a workshop hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) titled “Supporting and Sustaining the Current and Future Workforce to Care for People with Serious Illness” in Washington, D.C. After hearing the personal testimony given by certified nursing assistant (CNA) and nursing student LaToya Francis, Marshall was motivated to propose scholarship funding to support nursing assistants.

Francis’ heartful presentation brought into focus the stark reality she faces as a single mother of two children—working multiple jobs as a nursing assistant in hospice care and pursuing a higher level of education.

LaToya Francis speaks at the NASEM Workshop

“I became a CNA in 2014 after finishing classes and got my first certification in Michigan in 2015,” Francis said. “It’s taken until May 2022 to get to the next steps to enroll in nursing school because it’s been a hard-fought struggle to move up to the next step, to find a way to shift into a more effective role where effective change can be made.” To listen to Francis’ full remarks, please click here. (See video of day 2 session at approximately 27:50 minutes.)

The healthcare industry is grappling with a persistent shortage of nurses, which is expected to worsen in the coming years. Nursing assistants represent a pool of dedicated and experienced individuals already working in health care. Unfortunately, although many nursing assistants aspire to advance their careers, they often face financial barriers that hinder their educational pursuits. By providing scholarships to nursing assistants, HPNF can help address this shortage by facilitating their transition into registered nursing roles.

“Our goal is that this nursing assistant scholarship will serve as a catalyst for career advancement, enabling these dedicated professionals to enhance their knowledge and skills, ultimately benefiting patient care,” said HPNF President Michelle Webb, DNP, RN, CHPCA®.

The online application for the 2023 Nursing Assistant Individual Education Scholarship is available here. The deadline to apply is October 15, 2023. The scholarship may be used for (but is not limited to) tuition, books, computer software, and supplies directly related to nursing education. For more information, visit the HPNF Grants and Scholarship page or email