The School of Nursing in Cleveland State University’s College of Education and Human Services is pleased to be among the first institutions in the nation to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. Grants provided through this competitive program will be used for scholarships to increase the number of students enrolled in CSU’s accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. This groundbreaking national initiative, launched by RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), aims to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs.
CSU’s School of Nursing received a one-year, $200,000 award that will fund scholarships for 20 students in CSU’s Accelerated BSN Nursing tract.
Through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be distributed to entry-level nursing students in accelerated programs during the 2008-2009 academic year. Award preference is given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding also will be used by the schools of nursing to help leverage new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients.
“This program aims to safeguard the health of the nation by helping to ease the nurse and nurse faculty shortage,” said RWJF President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A. “This new initiative also will advance our strategic goal of promoting leadership in the health professions.”
The RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program supports accelerated programs, which offer the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse for adults who have already completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing. Although enrollment in these programs has steadily increased over the past few years, many potential students are unable to enroll since already having a college degree disqualifies them for receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students. The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem, and will also address the overall nursing shortage, by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education.
CSU’s Accelerated Nursing tract, begun in 2002 in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, is a 15-month program for students who already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Classes start in January and in May with just 30 students accepted for each cohort through a highly selective process. CSU officials hope to grow enrollment from 60 to 80 students per year by targeting new populations with the scholarships.
“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is well respected in the health care field and we are thrilled with this recognition of CSU’s School of Nursing,” said Assistant Professor Cheryl Delgado. “Our Accelerated tract draws students from across the state and provides a professional pathway to the many career opportunities in nursing. The majority of our highly skilled nursing graduates remain in the Cleveland area to meet the health care needs of our community. This partnership with the RWJ Foundation will help attract and retain new students from target populations who are eager to better their own lives and the lives of others through nursing.”
Recipients of RWJ Foundation scholarships will be called Cheryl McCahon Scholars, in honor of the faculty member who was instrumental in CSU’s establishment of the Accelerated program. Dr. McCahon passed away last month.
By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels, the new scholarship 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 at the baccalaureate level are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing, which is the required credential to teach.
Additionally, the program targets the need to recruit students from groups underrepresented in nursing or disadvantaged backgrounds. According to the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, diversifying the nursing profession is essential to meeting the health care needs of the nation and reducing health disparities that exist among many underserved populations.
AACN serves as the National Program Office for this RWJF initiative and oversees the grant application submission and review processes. For more information about this program, see www.newcareersinnursing.org. For information about the CSU scholarships and nursing program, call 216.687.5525.
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