The University of South Alabama College of Nursing has announced that for the third year in a row, it has received funding to award scholarships 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 USA College of Nursing accelerated 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 Dr. Denise A. Davis, RWJF program officer for NCIN. “We are very 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 USA College of Nursing, 10 scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to 10 students entering the accelerated nursing program during the 2010-2011 academic year. To date, the NCIN program has supported 40 NCIN scholars at the college and continues to develop culturally competent health professionals and future leaders of the profession.
To be admitted to the accelerated nursing program, students must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 grade point average and must have completed all prerequisite courses for the nursing curriculum. Accelerated students complete the bachelor of science in nursing component of the curriculum in 12 months and then sit for licensure as a registered nurse. Accelerated students have intensive classroom and clinical experiences and have the advantage of unique learning opportunities provided through the USA Health Sciences Division Human Simulation program.
According to USA’s College of Nursing Dean Dr. Debra C. Davis, “the NCIN scholarships have enabled the College of Nursing to increase enrollment in the accelerated program and to provide scholarships for students who are underrepresented in nursing. The caliber of the students in the program is remarkable, and these graduates are highly sought after by hospitals and health care agencies. The NCIN program provides a much-needed source of funding for these highly motivated and accomplished students.”
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.
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 examine 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 show 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 percent 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 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.
For more information on the New Careers in Nursing scholarships or USA’s accelerated nursing program, contact the College of Nursing at (251) 445-9400, or visit online at