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OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing Wins Scholarship Grant, Recruits More Men to Address Nation’s Nursing Shortage
Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing is pleased to be among the first institutions in the nation to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. Grants provided through this competitive program will be used for scholarships to increase the number of students enrolled in the school’s accelerated baccalaureate 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. OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing will address the nursing shortage by recruiting more men to the profession. The $120,000 grant will fund 12 scholarships during the 2008-2009 academic year. Scholarships will be awarded to men enrolling in the university’s Bachelor’s-to-BSN program, a 16-month accelerated program for students who already hold bachelor’s degrees. The scholarship program is part of the school’s new Moving and Mentoring Men into Nursing project. “This new grant will enable us to help students attain their BSN degrees and launch new careers in nursing,” said Oklahoma City University President Tom McDaniel. “We are pleased to increase the opportunities available to our students and offer scholarships that will make a positive impact on our community.” Kramer School of Nursing Dean Marvel Williamson said the recruitment of more men could significantly help to reduce the nursing shortage. Currently, men comprise just 5.8 percent of the nursing workforce. “OCU excels in Bachelor’s-to-BSN education as demonstrated by its faculty’s record of research on second-degree nursing students, its 99 percent pass rate on the national licensure exam and its specialized preparation of faculty to teach our exceptional students,” she said. Williamson said all men who qualify will be accepted into the nursing program. 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 school of nursing 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 will also address the overall nursing shortage, by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education. 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 U.S. 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. For information about the Kramer School of Nursing scholarships for Moving and Mentoring Men into Nursing, go to www.okcu.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. The Kramer School of Nursing continues to undergo a renaissance at Oklahoma City University. The school’s traveling RN-to-BSN program is helping dozens of nurses in rural Oklahoma complete their bachelor’s degrees, improving health care across the state. The school has proposed adding two doctoral programs in nursing and will begin construction on a new building to accommodate its rapidly expanding student body as soon as funds are raised.