Grant funds through the Nursing and Allied Health Grant Program will allow Mississippi University for Women’s Bill and Jo-Ann Vandergriff College of Nursing and Health Sciences to hire a wellness coordinator to further improve the student experience.


“The pandemic impacted the retention and graduation of current nursing students in undergraduate programs across the nation, including those in Mississippi. Students were not prepared for the issues the pandemic would present, both academically and socioeconomically. Retention and graduation decreased, and student needs increased, placing a strain on both students and faculty in an already difficult time,” said Dr. Brandy Larmon, dean of The W’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

To combat this issue, The W’s nursing school plans to hire a nursing success and wellness coordinator to work with students and ensure they have a positive experience while in the strenuous program.

The new position, created by the grant funding, would provide both programming and coaching for existing nursing students in both of the undergraduate prelicensure nursing programs, specifically those identified by faculty as needing early intervention. 

Further, the coordinator would construct programming for all nursing students that would help with test-taking, study habits, self-care, resilience-building and other strategies for success.

“The purpose of the position would be to connect students to available resources, promote academic success, create student team-building, create programming to prepare for the prevention of burnout, and therefore create stronger, retained and better prepared nursing graduates.  This position would also help to support the evidence-based efforts necessary to address challenges in our underserved populations,” Larmon said.

The grant is for a total of $ $303,755 over the span of five years. The funding was enacted during the 2023 legislative session using $28 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help bolster the healthcare industry in the state by aiming to produce more graduates entering the field.

The W is one of 17 institutions in the state to receive funding.

“This position will not only support retention efforts for undergraduate nursing students, but the position will also do programming for mental health and resiliency building for our future nursing workforce. I am excited about the impact this will have for our students!” Larmon said.

Larmon hopes to have the position filled by January for the start of the new semester.

To apply, please visit

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.