Scholarships funded through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Program
Cleveland State University announced today that its School of Nursing has received a one-year, $100,000 award that will fund scholarships for 10 students in the Accelerated BSN Nursing tract. This is the second consecutive year the School has received scholarship funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program.
Grants provided through this competitive program will build upon CSU’s previous efforts to increase the number of students enrolled in its accelerated nursing program and to diversify its student base. This significant national initiative, launched in 2008 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.
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 2009-2010 academic year. Award preference is given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding will be used by schools to help leverage support for new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients.
“New Careers in Nursing aims to safeguard the health of the nation by helping to ease the nurse and nurse faculty shortage. Nurses are critical to delivering health care that is effective, patient-centered, timely efficient and equitable,” said RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan B. Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. “This important initiative will also advance the Foundation’s strategic goal of promoting a health professional workforce that reflects the diversity of the American public.”
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 from receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students. The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem and will also alleviate the overall nursing shortage by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education not otherwise possible without scholarships.
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 healthcare needs of the nation and reducing health disparities that exist among many underserved populations. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration also 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.
CSU’s Accelerated Nursing tract, begun in 2002, allows students who already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and have taken the prerequisite courses, to earn a BSN in just four semesters. New cohorts begin in January and in May comprised of students accepted through a highly selective process. The goals of this scholarship program align perfectly with CSU’s Center of Excellence for 21st Century Health Professions. These scholarships will help CSU grow the ranks of nursing graduates by targeting new populations.
“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 are called Cheryl McCahon Scholars, in honor of the faculty member who was instrumental in CSU’s establishment of the Accelerated program, the late Dr. McCahon.
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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