Nursing Earns ‘New Careers’ Scholarship Funding for Fourth Year

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The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is pleased to announce that, for the fourth year in a row, it has received funding to award scholarships.

The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is pleased to announce that, for the fourth year in a row, it has received funding to provide scholarships. The monies support the New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Through the NCIN program, not only do the scholarships provide financial assistance, but also academic and social support, as well as leadership training. The grants are awarded to students from disadvantaged backgrounds or minority and male students who are underrepresented in the nursing field.

The purpose of the NCIN program is to address the nation’s nursing shortage and create a diverse pool of nursing professionals. NCIN supports students entering an accelerated bachelor’s degree nursing program, or an accelerated master’s level nursing program for students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields.

During the past four years, NCIN has supported a total of 50 students at the UT College of Nursing. For the 2011-2012 academic year, the college proudly awards $10,000 each to 10 students enrolled in its accelerated master’s in nursing program. Scholarship recipients are: Jesse Bebout, Helen Castro, Wayne Creag, Brandon “Chase” Habkouk, Gloria Hicks, Dorothy Kabutu, Karen Kuusisto, Lisa Phillips, Tiffany Trowles, and James Winters.

“We are excited about the 2011-2012 class and especially proud of the retention and on-time graduation rates of our previous scholarship recipients,” said Patricia Cowan, PhD, RN, associate professor at the UT College of Nursing. “It is common to have retention rates of 80 percent or less in nursing programs, with greater attrition and lower graduation rates among underrepresented groups. However, at UTHSC, we have a 100 percent retention rate and 98 percent on-time progression among our New Careers in Nursing scholarship recipients.”

To date, the NCIN program has awarded 2,317 scholarships at 109 nursing schools across the country. NCIN scholarship recipients participate in weekly mentoring, leadership and academic support activities to ensure success in the program.

“Through the NCIN program, we are challenging nursing schools nationwide to expand nurse leadership and strengthen education, two clear goals in the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report, ‘The Future of Nursing,’ ” said Denise A. Davis, DPH, RWJF program officer for NCIN. “By diversifying the nursing profession through these scholarships, we are also helping to create a health care-ready workforce to meet the needs of the 21st century American patient.”

This year, 320 students in accelerated baccalaureate programs and 80 students in accelerated master’s programs will receive scholarship funding. To view the list of schools nationwide receiving 2011-2012 NCIN scholarships, visit: http://www.newcareersinnursing.org/current-programs.

Many of the programs have used NCIN funding to leverage resources for adding new faculty, securing matching funds from state programs, developing mentoring and leadership development programs, strengthening outreach activities, and establishing new partnerships with community and practice leaders. These efforts will enable schools to sustain their program expansion while positioning them for future growth.

“AACN applauds the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their continued commitment to providing much-needed scholarship support, mentoring, and leadership development to students enrolled in accelerated nursing programs,” said AACN president Kathleen Potempa, PhD, RN, FAAN. “By focusing on students entering the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, the NCIN program is effectively working to raise the education level of the new nurses, which is in the best interest of the patients we serve.”

Accelerated programs, like the one at UTHSC, provide the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse (RN) and create nursing opportunities for adults who hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a field other than nursing. The programs prepare students to pass the licensure exam required for all RNs in as little as 12 to 24 months and provide quicker routes to workforce eligibility than traditional programs.

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. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

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. For more information, visit www.aacn.nche.edu