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The Breen School of Nursing Receives 10 Scholarships

July 12, 2010

The Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing Awarded Scholarships for Second Degree Accelerated BSN Students: Scholarships funded through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Association of Colleges of Nursing


The Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing is pleased to announce that for the second year in a row it has received $100,000 in funding 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 strives to prepare culturally competent leaders in The Breen School of Nursing’s second degree accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. 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 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 The Breen School of Nursing, 10 scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to 10 students entering the second degree accelerated nursing program during the 2010-2011 academic year. By the end of this academic year, the NCIN-sponsored program at Ursuline College will have supported 20 students in two years, and continues to develop culturally competent health professionals and future leaders of the profession.


Since 2004, the Breen School graduated five classes of second degree accelerated students and accounted for 89 graduates. Another 54 students are projected for graduation in 2010-2011. This enrollment represents a goal established for the first 2009-2010 NCIN grant that has already far exceeded expectations, more than tripled the size of the program from an average of 17 students per year to the current 54 and created a need to expand and admit two cohort classes per year in January and June. Continued NCIN funding will provide the Breen School with leverage to expand faculty resources and investigate the potential for creating a second degree accelerated MSN program.


During the 2009-2010 academic year, the 10 scholars met with faculty and administration and were informed about program expectations that included mentoring and leadership. Each scholar was given a nursing alumnae mentor and together created goals that addressed growth and development in nursing and how to become a successful nursing graduate. The Breen School of Nursing is getting ready to recruit and select 10 scholars for the 2010-2011 academic year.


“The RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program has been vital for allowing the Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing to expand its second degree accelerated BSN program. As a result, we have two new cohorts of 30 students each and their graduations represent significant movement toward helping to solve the local nursing shortage. In addition, the scholarships are invaluable for assisting students toward the achievement of a nursing degree and provide financial aid to second degree students who are often unable to qualify for aid from other sources,” commented Dr. Christine Wynd, Dean of the Breen School of Nursing.


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. A complete list of schools receiving the NCIN scholarships is included below.

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 exam required for all RNs in as little as 12-18 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 shows 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% 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

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