The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies has received a $50,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand the enrollment support of traditionally underrepresented students who are making a career switch to nursing through the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
UMKC will give five $10,000 New Careers in Nursing scholarships, a program of the foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Each fall, 24 students have been admitted into the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program; now there will be 29. The program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have decided they want to get a BSN. The track takes the three-year pre-licensure course work and condenses it to a five-semester completion.
The expansion of the program will work toward more accurately reflecting underrepresented populations in the Kansas City area.
“We believe that when nurses come from and mirror their communities, they can have a particularly effective impact on the health of the community by understanding barriers to health and solutions that can work with engaged populations,” said Ann Cary, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies. “This program will assist in the overall efforts of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create a culture of health in this country through adequate workforce preparation.”
Given the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projected need for more than 1 million new and replacement registered nurses by 2016, breaking the cultural divide is increasingly important.
In 2011, minorities made up 37 percent of the U.S. population. About 24 percent of registered nurses are minorities. Nursing students from minority backgrounds represented 26.8 percent of students in entry-level baccalaureate programs, 26.1 percent of master’s students and 23.3 percent of students in research-focused doctoral programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels, the New Careers in Nursing program also helps to address the nation’s nurse faculty shortage. This trend is reflected in the New careers in Nursing 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.
With this grant, the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies will expand recruitment, leadership activities and mentorship efforts with community partners, organizations, health care leaders and churches. Central Exchange of Kansas City will lead career transition mentorship.
“The accelerated nursing students in our program are an asset to the undergraduate program,” said Jolene Lynn, director of UMKC’s baccalaureate in nursing program. “They have already navigated college and set a great example to our pre-licensure students. This grant will help students attain their goal of becoming a registered nurse.”
Since 2008, the New Careers in Nursing 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.
“Nursing and nursing education are at a critical juncture right now, and New Careers in Nursing’s exemplary approach to supporting nursing schools is helping to strengthen both,” said Eileen Breslin, president of the American Association of Colleges in Nursing. “New Careers in Nursing’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 New Careers in Nursing program has truly raised the bar for recruitment, retention, mentoring and leadership development for nursing students from groups underrepresented in nursing.”