Fairfield University School of Nursing re-awarded scholarships through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Program

Fairfield University School of Nursing re-awarded scholarships through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Program

Scholarships to go to men, minorities and others underrepresented in nursing profession

Scholarships funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Image: Nursing faculty Fairfield University's School of Nursing announced today that for the second year in a row, it has received funding to award scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN).

Grants provided through this competitive program will be given to students traditionally underrepresented in the field of nursing and it strives to prepare culturally competent leaders in Fairfield's accelerated B.S. in Nursing - Second Degree program. (The 15-monthlong nursing program is geared to adult learners who have earned a bachelor's degree in another field. Visit fairfield.edu/son/bssd_index.html for details.)

NCIN was launched in 2008 to address the national nursing shortage and fuel the pipeline of diverse nurse faculty.

"Through the NCIN program, we are challenging the nation's nursing schools to be innovative and resourceful in how they grow their nursing programs, diversify student populations and contribute to the nursing leadership of tomorrow," said Denise A. Davis, Dr. P.H, RWJF program officer for NCIN. "We are very pleased to support this unique approach, particularly at a time when growing numbers of Americans are gaining insurance and entering our health care system."

At Fairfield, five scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to students entering the accelerated Second Degree program during the 2010-2011 academic year. To date, the NCIN program has supported ten NCIN scholars at Fairfield, and it continues to develop culturally competent health professionals and future leaders of the profession.

Jeanne Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of Fairfield University's School of Nursing, said the grant will help provide scholarships to maximize diversity and increase the quantity of students enrolled in Fairfield's accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. "Increasing diversity and the number of male students in our nursing programs are major goals of the School," said Dr. Novotny, noting that a more diverse student body is at the heart of the University's strategic plan. "The foundation's scholarship program is a win-win initiative in that it also aims to help alleviate the national nursing shortage."

To learn more about the RWJF scholarships available at Fairfield, please contact the School of Nursing at (203) 254-4000, ext. 4150.

The NCIN program was created through RWJF and AACN to enable schools of nursing to expand student capacity in accelerated baccalaureate and master's programs, and build a more diverse workforce ready to serve the needs of a changing patient population. Schools receiving grants through NCIN provide scholarships directly to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. In its second year, 58 percent of scholarships went to students from diverse racial and ethnic groups and 37 percent went to male nursing students. Men currently account for only 6.6 percent of the national nursing population.

In the 2010-2011 academic year, 397 students in accelerated baccalaureate programs and 114 students in accelerated master's programs will receive scholarship funding.

The NCIN program addresses a number of the challenges confronting nursing education, professional development, and the national workforce shortage. Accelerated programs like the ones supported by NCIN provide scholars with the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse (RN) and create opportunities for adults who have already completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a field other than nursing. These programs prepare students to pass the licensure examine required for all RNs in as little as 12 to 18 months and provide quicker routes to workforce eligibility than traditional programs.

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. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession via baccalaureate programs are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. This trend is reflected in the NCIN scholars, as 95 percent of the students receiving funding in the first two years of the program indicate a desire to advance their education to the master's and doctoral levels.

Finally, the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program is clearly having a positive effect on the nation's nursing schools. Many programs that received awards have used the NCIN funding to help leverage additional resources to add new faculty, secure matching funding from state programs, develop mentoring and leadership development programs, strengthen outreach efforts, and establish new partnerships with community and practice leaders. These efforts will enable schools to sustain their program expansion while positioning them for growth.

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. 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. www.aacn.nche.edu

Posted On: 07-01-2010 10:07 AM

Volume: 42 Number: 321