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The Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing Awarded Scholarships for Accelerated Students

August 10, 2009

Scholarships funded through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Program

The Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing is pleased to announce that it has received $100,000 in funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. Grants provided through this competitive program are used for scholarships to maximize diversity and increase the number of students enrolled in The Breen School of Nursing’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 Breen School of Nursing at Ursuline College will use this funding to award 10 scholarships to eligible students during academic year 2009-2010. “This funding is extremely important to our accelerated nursing students,” commented Dr. Christine Wynd, Dean of Nursing. “Accelerated baccalaureate nursing students are here to earn a second degree in nursing. They are frequently ineligible to receive additional financial aid because they already have one degree in a discipline other than nursing. The RWJF/AACN funding allows students from underrepresented and disadvantaged populations to pursue a highly respected and lucrative career in nursing. Upon graduation, these well-educated students will contribute significantly toward reducing the critical nursing shortage faced by our nation today.”

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, PhD, RN, FAAN. “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.

Five scholarships will be awarded to students entering into the January 2010 cohort (college prerequisites will be taken this fall 2009 at Ursuline College) and an additional five scholarships will be awarded to students entering the June 2010 cohort. Students can apply for funding by contacting Ms. Rebecca Bofinger, The Breen School of Nursing Student Recruiter and Advisor at 440-646-8171, email: rbofinger@ursuline.edu

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.

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