OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing has received a $2.2 million federal grant to address burnout among the state’s nurses as the coronavirus pandemic stretches into the third year.

The three-year grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services. It’s part of an estimated $103 million in coronavirus relief funding to reduce burnout and promote mental health among the nation’s health care workforce.

The school’s initiative will focus on nursing students and nurses and their employers in rural and medically underserved areas in hopes of reversing nursing shortages, said Alyson Hanish, an assistant professor in UNMC’s nursing college.

“We had a nursing shortage before the pandemic, but the pandemic has exacerbated it,” Hanish said. “We want to recruit nurses, but then keep them healthy and well so that they want to have long professional careers in nursing.”

The effort will see deployment of a stress management program developed by Dr. Rebecca Wysoske and others in UNMC’s psychiatry department that will be tailored it to meet the needs of nursing students and working nurses. It includes ways to manage acute stress and reduce chronic stress.

The program will be implemented across all five campuses of UNMC’s nursing college. For working nurses, they will focus primarily on the state’s smaller hospitals and offer the program both as wellness training and free continuing education credits.