USA College of Nursing Receives Grant for Nursing Scholarships through RWJF New Careers in Nursing Program

Posted on July 16, 2014
Alice Jackson

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The University of South Alabama College of Nursing has been awarded a grant from the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program for the fifth time.

USA is one of 52 schools of nursing that will comprise the final cohort of the program. For the 2014-2015 academic year, the University’s College of Nursing will receive $100,000 to support traditionally underrepresented students who are making a career switch to nursing through an accelerated baccalaureate or master’s degree program. NCIN is a program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

“New Careers in Nursing has made amazing strides in helping schools of nursing recruit and retain diverse students in these competitive and rigorous accelerated degree programs,” said Dr. David Krol, RWJF senior program officer. “Through supporting these institutions, NCIN is working to increase the diversity of our nursing workforce, while also assisting schools of nursing in making their institutions more inclusive. The leadership, mentoring and other support these institutions provide are helping to prepare a diverse nursing workforce able to meet the challenges associated with building a culture of health in our nation.”

Each NCIN Scholar has already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, and is making a transition to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program, which prepares students to assume the role of registered nurse in as little as 12 to 18 months.

At the USA College of Nursing, 10 students will be awarded NCIN scholarships. Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,517 scholarships to students at 130 unique schools of nursing. This year, funding for 400 scholarships was granted to 52 schools of nursing.

Dr. Sheila Whitworth, USA coordinator for the New Careers In Nursing scholarship program, stated, “The University of South Alabama and the College of Nursing has a long-standing history of addressing diversity and publically commits to providing support to students of all races, ethnicities, faiths, and cultures. To support these efforts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholarship program had been instrumental in making the difference between being able to continue their education or having to abandon their personal and professional goals.  The role of this scholarship program cannot be overestimated in how much it helps our second degree students”.

 In addition to a $10,000 scholarship, NCIN scholars receive other support to help them meet the demands of an accelerated degree program. All NCIN grantee schools maintain a leadership program and a mentoring program for their scholars, as well as a pre-entry immersion program to assist scholars in learning essential study, test-taking, and other skills needed to succeed in their program of study.

 “Nursing and nursing education are at a critical juncture right now, and NCIN’s exemplary approach to supporting nursing schools is helping to strengthen both,” said AACN President Dr. Eileen Breslin. “NCIN’s creative, innovative and responsive approach to providing grantees with tools to ensure academic success will result in lasting changes at nursing schools nationwide. The NCIN program has truly raised the bar for recruitment, retention, mentoring and leadership development for nursing students from groups underrepresented in nursing.”

 The 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” recommends increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher, and increasing the diversity of students to create a nursing workforce prepared to meet the healthcare demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. NCIN is helping to advance those recommendations by enabling schools to expand student capacity and by encouraging more diversity.

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. This trend is reflected in the NCIN scholars, as 91 percent of the students receiving funding in the first three years of the program indicated a desire to advance their education to the master’s and doctoral levels.

 For more information about University of South Alabama College of Nursing accelerated program, visit To learn more about the NCIN program, visit

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