The nursing program at Colorado State University-Pueblo School of Nursing is among the first institutions in the nation and the only institution in Colorado to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. The CSU-Pueblo School of Nursing has been awarded $100,000 to fund 10 scholarship awards in its 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. 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 nursing program 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 also will address the overall nursing shortage by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education.
CSU-Pueblo’s Accelerated Program is designed for students with a previous non-nursing baccalaureate to complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 14 months. 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 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.
Information on how scholarships will be awarded at CSU-Pueblo will be posted on the school’s web site by January, 2009.
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 http://www.newcareersinnursing.org