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OCU Awarded Accelerated Nursing Scholarships for Second Year
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Careers in Nursing Program Provides 15 Scholarships OKLAHOMA CITY— Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the second consecutive year, and the 2009 grant will award 15 scholarships through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. Grants provided through this competitive program will build upon the Kramer School of Nursing’s efforts to increase the diversity of its student base and enroll more people underrepresented in nursing in its accelerated nursing program. This significant national initiative, launched in 2008 by RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, aims to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs. OCU’s Moving and Mentoring Men into Nursing program launched last year and is designed to help reduce the nursing shortage by contributing to greater diversity. After seeing instant success in 2008, the program again has received funding to expand its efforts. “Because just 5.8 percent of the nursing workforce is male, recruiting more men could help reduce the shortage,” said Marvel Williamson, Ph.D., OCU nursing dean. The number of men enrolled in OCU’s Bachelor’s-to-BSN program has grown from 27 percent to 49 percent in the past two years. Williamson said the scholars have shown great leadership. “Having more men in the program has really made a positive difference in the character of the classes,” Williamson said. Through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be distributed to qualifying students entering the Bachelor’s-to-BSN accelerated program during the 2009-2010 academic year. Award preference is given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding 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 already 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. 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 . For more information about the scholarships and OCU’s Bachelor’s-to-BSN program, call (405) 208-5900 or visit www.okcu.edu/nursing/men.aspx .