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University of Iowa News Release

 

Oct. 8, 2008

Iowa benefits from New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program

The University of Iowa College 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 RWJF 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 UI College of Nursing's accelerated Master of Nursing: Clinical Nursing Leader degree 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.

The UI College of Nursing received an $80,000 award.

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 2008-09 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 UI College 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. "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.

The UI College of Nursing pioneered the concept of the second-degree accelerated program. The M.S.N.: Clinical Nurse Leader degree allows students to build on their non-nursing bachelor's degrees. After 18 consecutive months of intensive study, these students graduate with a master's degree. Because students in the program have completed core courses, the college is able to prepare nurses for registered-nurse licensure at a faster rate than with the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program alone.

By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master's degree levels, the new scholarship program also helps 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.

Students eligible to begin study in Jan. 2009 and who meet the UI College of Nursing definition of underrepresented in nursing, are eligible to apply for the scholarships and will be contacted directly by college staff. For more information contact wilene-lapenteur@uiowa.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/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Francis, University of Iowa College of Nursing, 319-335-8960, michele-francis@uiowa.edu