July 24, 2013
13-217

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

VSU Nursing Awarded Grant Funds by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University has been selected as one of 52 schools to receive grant funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN).

During the 2013-2014 academic year, VSU will receive $50,000 to support students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Second Degree Students program who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of 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.”

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 Accelerated BSN program at VSU is 15 months.

At VSU, five students will be awarded NCIN scholarships and welcomed into the College of Nursing and Health Sciences in May 2014. 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.

“As diversity across the United States grows, it is essential that the health care workforce reflects that diversity,” said Dr. Anita Hufft, dean of VSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences and professor of nursing. “This grant will provide essential financial and other support to traditionally underrepresented populations in nursing, including, but not limited to, those of African-American and Hispanic/Latino heritage. Statistics show that hospitals and patient care areas are seeing increasing numbers of minority patients, and as such, the demand for minority health care professionals also grows.

A nursing workforce that reflects the characteristics of the population improves the ability to meet the needs of patients from more diverse backgrounds and broadens the scope of nursing in any care environment, promoting a more expert level of care for patients from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We are fortunate to have nurse scholars, such as the PI on this grant, Dr. Rebecca Green, who understand the impact of ethnicity and culture on the needs of both patients and students.”

In addition to a $10,000 scholarship, NCIN scholars receive other support to help them 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.”

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 their education to the master’s and doctoral levels.

Contact Dr. Rebecca Green at rdgreen@valdosta.edu or (229) 333-5959 or visit http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/nursing-and-health-sciences/programs/accelerated-bsn-program.php to learn more about VSU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Second Degree Students program. Visit www.NewCareersInNursing.org to learn more about the NCIN.

About NCIN

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) joined with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to create New Careers in Nursing (NCIN): an RWJF Scholarship Program to help alleviate the nursing shortage and increase the diversity of nursing professionals. Through annual grants to schools of nursing, NCIN provides $10,000 scholarships to college graduates with degrees in other fields who wish to transition into nursing through an accelerated baccalaureate or master’s nursing program. For more information, visit www.newcareersinnursing.org.

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 health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 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. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About AACN

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 720 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.