Scholarships funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Belmont University School of Nursing announced today that for the second year in a row, it has received funding to award scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). Grants provided through this competitive program will be given to students traditionally underrepresented in the field of nursing and strives to prepare culturally competent leaders in Belmont’s accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program. NCIN was launched in 2008 to address the national nursing shortage and fuel the pipeline of diverse nurse faculty.
“Through the NCIN program, we are challenging the nation’s nursing schools to be innovative and resourceful in how they grow their nursing programs, diversify student populations and contribute to the nursing leadership of tomorrow, said Denise A. Davis, Dr. P.H, RWJF program officer for NCIN. “We are very pleased to support this unique approach, particularly at a time when growing numbers of Americans are gaining insurance and entering our health care system.”
Dr. Chris Algren, Belmont’s associate dean of nursing, said, “We are so pleased that we have once again received funding for the New Career in Nursing scholarships. This program has increased enrollment in the accelerated program for second degree students who are underrepresented in nursing. Since little funding is usually available for second degree students, we are very appreciative to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for assisting us to meet the needs of these highly motivated students.”
At Belmont University, 10 scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to students entering the accelerated nursing program during the 2010-2011 academic year. To date, this brings the total amount awarded to Belmont University School of Nursing to $200,000. As a direct result of the grant, Belmont was able to increase enrollment into the nursing program with the creation of an additional accelerated nursing cohort and markedly increase the diversity of students in the accelerated program. Belmont continues to develop culturally competent health professionals and future leaders of the profession.
The NCIN program was created through RWJF and AACN to enable schools of nursing to expand student capacity in accelerated baccalaureate and master’s programs and build a more diverse workforce ready to serve the needs of a changing patient population. Schools receiving grants through NCIN provide scholarships directly to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. In its second year, 58 percent of scholarships went to students from diverse racial and ethnic groups and 37 percent went to male nursing students. Men currently account for only 6.6 percent of the national nursing population.
In the 2010 – 2011 academic year, 397 students in accelerated baccalaureate programs and 114 students in accelerated master’s programs will receive scholarship funding. The NCIN program addresses a number of the challenges confronting nursing education, professional development, and the national workforce shortage. Accelerated programs like the ones supported by NCIN provide scholars with the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse (RN) and create opportunities for adults who have already completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a field other than nursing. These programs prepare students to pass the licensure examine required for all RNs in as little as 12-18 months and provide quicker routes to workforce eligibility than traditional programs.
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. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession via baccalaureate programs are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. This trend is reflected in the NCIN scholars, as 95 percent of the students receiving funding in the first two years of the program indicate a desire to advance their education to the master’s and doctoral levels.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime.
About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 640 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.