For the fourth time, the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded a grant from the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Scholarship Program. It is one of 52 schools of nursing that will comprise the final cohort of the program. For the 2014-15 academic year, the UTEP School 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.
“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 David Krol, M.D., 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 12-18 months.
Armando Anchondo, Matthew Castanon, Otto Niel Madrigal, Librado Rafael Rodriguez, Hilda Terrazas, Karina Nicole Valdespino, Maria Ester Barbosa, Naomi Magallanes, Katherine Ann Torres and Holly Victoria Villegas each received a $10,000 scholarship for UTEP’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Fast Track program. 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.
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.
The 2010 Institute of Medicine 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 health care 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.