Salisbury, MD---The Salisbury University Department of Nursing is pleased to announce that it has received funding to award eight scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. Grants provided through this competitive program will be used for scholarships to maximize diversity and increase the quantity of students enrolled in Salisbury University’s accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. This significant 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.
“The Nursing Program is committed to all of its academic programs, but recognizes the additional financial burden on its second-degree students, many of whom are significantly challenged in financing their second college degree or have left a job to pursue their nursing career,” said Dr. Karen Olmstead, dean of Salisbury University’s Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology.
“Salisbury University is honored to have been selected for this $80,000 award particularly during these difficult economic times. Through the RWJF scholarship program, we will be able to facilitate program completion for eight career-change students. Because the program is only 3-semesters in length, these talented and motivated graduates join the local workforce quickly thereby adding to the pool of registered nurses in the region,” said Dr. Lisa Seldomridge, chair of the Salisbury University Nursing Department.
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 also 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 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. Consequently, bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels will help to address the nation’s nurse faculty shortage.
Through this award, Salisbury University plans to increase enrollment in its accelerated bachelor’s degree program from sixteen to twenty four students for the 2009-2010 academic year. For further information about the accelerated bachelor’s degree program, go to www.salisbury.edu/nursing.
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.