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Nurse Notes Newsletter

October 2014

Mentor Program for NURSE Corps Scholars

The NURSE Corps Mentor Program is an invaluable resource that pairs a NURSE Corps member with a NURSE Corps scholar. Mentors share their experiences, best practices, and other lessons learned with students who are transitioning from training to service. Mentors are available to discuss a variety of issues including, but not limited to, school challenges, service site selection, and professional development.

NURSE Corps scholars who recently received a scholarship award will be contacted this fall to determine if they would like to be matched with a NURSE Corps mentor. Participation in the program is voluntary.
For additional information, contact and review the following resources:


NURSE Corps Sites – Update Your Contact Information

The Customer Service Portal includes new features that improve user experience and better define the roles and responsibilities of site points of contact.  NURSE Corps site points of contact are encouraged to log into the Customer Service Portal and update the following information:

  • Provide your job title
  • Identify the types of  clinicians with whom you work
  • Identify your role as a site point of contact
  • Provide other general information related to your site


Helpful Resources for New or Soon-to-be Graduates

As you transition from training to service, you may have many questions about finding the best NURSE Corps site for you and your family. What should you consider when determining the best facility? What are the eligible site types for completing your service? How do you find the Critical Shortage Facilities?

Check out these five tip sheets to help answer some of your questions:

  1. Thinking About Practice (PDF - 291 KB) – Learn what should be considered when searching for and determining the best NURSE Corps facility for you.
  2. Making a Match: Exploring Critical Shortage Facilities (PDF - 369 KB) – Review the lists of eligible site types for completing your service obligation.
  3. Top Ten Interviewing Tips (PDF - 374 KB) – Human resources directors, site administrators, and NURSE Corps clinicians provide advice on what to do before, during, and after an interview.
  4. Health Professional Shortage Areas and NURSE Corps Scholars (PDF - 8.12 MB) – NURSE Corps scholars are required to fulfill their service at a Critical Shortage Facility. This tip sheet is a quick guide to Health Professional Shortage Areas and your future service site.
  5. Transitioning from Training to Practice (PDF - 8.27 MB) – This tip sheet provides timely information and tools for your transition from training to practice.

In addition, we encourage you to view a new video in which Unity Health Care's Vice President of Human Resources, Aaronissa Alleyne, discusses How Will My Site Selection Affect My Family. She stresses the importance of finding a site that is suitable for you and your family and what questions you should consider when searching for your work site.  The video is part of a series to help NURSE Corps scholars prepare for successful service.


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Interpersonal and domestic violence can have a profound impact on the health, safety, and well-being of women and girls. It can intersect with other chronic health issues, including HIV/AIDS, and is exacerbated by other high-risk behavioral issues, including substance abuse and mental health issues. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports women’s preventive services guidelines under the Affordable Care Act.  With no additional cost-sharing, services include screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence as a covered benefit, along with screening and counseling for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Because health care providers are often trusted resources in their communities, they are in a unique position to connect women who experience interpersonal and domestic violence with supportive local services.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has a fact sheet for providers with helpful tips and resources  to support their role in screening and counseling for Interpersonal and domestic violence. More information is available here on the HRSA-supported women’s preventive services guidelines.


NURSE Corps Stories from the Field

Sally Markell, NP
NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Recipient
Medstar Washington Hospital Center
Washington, DC

Up until a couple of months ago, Sally Markell was burdened by medical education debt. Thanks to some great advice from a friend and co-worker, Sally finally felt relief. And that relief is coupled with the knowledge that she is giving back to society by working in an underserved community, as well as setting an example for her children, who one day may follow in her footsteps.

Sally, a new NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program recipient, is no stranger to serving in an underserved community. In 1995, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Marymount University, and immediately put her skills to the test with a six-month fellowship at Washington Hospital Center in NW Washington, D.C. Following the fellowship, she spent several years working in the hospital’s surgical ICU.

After her stint at Washington Hospital Center, she accepted a position in the ICU and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, VA.

In 2010, Sally returned to school, earning her master’s degree from George Mason University, and for the past two years she has worked at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, where she first began her nursing career nearly two decades ago.

“We serve a variety of patients, including the homeless and those affected by drug and alcohol abuse,” she said.  “Many of them are very sick, sometimes with multiple medical conditions when they visit the hospital.  It can be extremely challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.”

She added that the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program will reduce her school debt by half after two years of service, and her work in underserved communities also gives her an edge over those who have not experienced these sorts of challenges.  “If I were to apply at another hospital, they know if I can handle this type of work, I can handle anything.”

According to Sally, her passion for care has been passed on to at least one of her family members.  She and her husband have been married for 23 years and have three children: a boy and two girls. While her two youngest still have plenty of time to decide their career paths, her oldest daughter is showing an interest in nursing.

Perhaps, in the not-so-distant future, the NURSE Corps will welcome another Markell family member into one of its programs aimed at bringing health care to underserved communities.


Information on Scholarship and Loan Repayment Opportunities

The Bureau of Health Workforce works to expand access to quality health services and achieve health equity through a number of programs, including the National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps. Many National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps scholarship and loan repayment opportunities are available to health care providers who are passionate about serving the medically underserved. Share the 2015 Application Bulletin with colleagues and friends interested in scholarship and loan repayment opportunities. The bulletin includes information about upcoming application dates, program eligibility and more.


Health Insurance Marketplace – Reminder to Renew Coverage

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are committed to making it as easy as possible for current Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees to renew their coverage for 2015. CMS is encouraging consumers to return at the start of open enrollment on November 15, update their 2015 application, and compare their options to make sure they enroll in the plan that best meets their budget and health care needs for next year. To help consumers better understand the renewal process, CMS has released the 5 Steps to Staying Covered :

  1. Review: Plans change and people change. Review your coverage and look for a letter from your plan about how your benefits and costs may change next year.
  2. Update: Starting November 15, log in and update your 2015 application - make sure your household income and other information is up-to-date.
  3. Compare: Compare your current plan with other plans that are available in your area.
  4. Choose: Select the health plan that best fits your budget and health needs.
  5. Enroll: The marketplace opens on November 15. Make sure to review, update, compare and choose by December 15 so changes may take effect on January 1, 2015. Contact your plan after you’ve enrolled and make sure you pay your first month’s premium.


* This publication may contain non-Federal resources in order to provide additional information to consumers. The views and content in these resources have not been formally approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Listing these resources is not an endorsement by HHS or HRSA.