June 24, 2013
Scholarships, program support will aid second-career nurses from groups underrepresented in nursing that are enrolled in accelerated degree programs
Columbia, Mo. — The MU Sinclair School of Nursing (MU SSON) has been selected for the fourth year as a grant recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). During the 2013-2014 academic year, the MU SSON will receive $100,000 to support students in the school’s accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of nursing and are pursuing a second career in nursing. NCIN is a program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
“At this time when the nation’s need for highly educated nurses is growing, we are delighted to be able to support nursing students who will bring diverse and valuable perspectives to the field, and become capable, culturally-competent nurses,” said David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, RWJF senior program officer. “NCIN is not only helping these students succeed in school, it is helping prepare the nursing workforce to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
Schools receiving grants through NCIN provide scholarships directly to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Each NCIN Scholar has already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, and is making a career switch to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program, which prepares students to pass the licensure exam required for all registered nurses in as little as 12-18 months. The MU SSON 15-month accelerated BSN program begins in May and ends in July the following year.
At the MU SSON, ten students in the 2014-2015 class will be awarded NCIN scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each. Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,117 scholarships to students at 125 unique schools of nursing. This year, funding for 400 scholarships was granted to 52 schools of nursing.
“The Sinclair School of Nursing is grateful to again receive New Careers in Nursing funding to support our diverse students,” said Dean Judith Fitzgerald Miller, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This funding allows students to pursue their dreams and become part of the profession of nursing.”
In addition to their scholarships, NCIN scholars receive other support to help meet the demands of an accelerated degree program. All NCIN grantee schools maintain a leadership program and a mentoring program for their scholars, as well as a pre-entry immersion program to help scholars learn study, test-taking, and other skills that will help them manage the challenges of an accelerated program.
“NCIN is strengthening nursing education and creating a culture of change at schools of nursing across the country,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our grantee schools are committed to enrolling students traditionally underrepresented in nursing, and students are benefiting from the emphasis on mentoring and leadership development that are hallmarks of the NCIN program. AACN is proud to collaborate with RWJF on this ground-breaking effort.”
NCIN funding received the past three years allowed MU SSON to expand the number of accelerated students in each year’s class from 40 to 50 each year. Additional faculty were hired to meet the needs of the increased class size and improve the student/faculty ratio in clinical courses.
The 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommends increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher, and increasing the diversity of students to create a nursing workforce prepared to meet the health care demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. NCIN is helping to advance those recommendations, enabling schools to expand student capacity in higher education, and encouraging more diversity.
By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels, the NCIN program also helps to address the nation’s nurse faculty shortage. This trend is reflected in the NCIN scholars, as 91 percent of the students receiving funding in the first three years of the program indicate a desire to advance.