Kent State’s College of Nursing Receives Scholarship Funding
Kent State University’s College of Nursing has received funding to award 10 $10,000 scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. This is the third consecutive year that Kent State has received the RWJF scholarship assistance, bringing the total amount of funding in three years to $400,000.
Grants provided through this competitive program will build upon Kent State’s College of Nursing’s previous efforts to increase the number of students enrolled in its accelerated nursing program and to diversify its student base. “This funding will help us make a direct contribution to balancing the diversity of the nursing population to better match the diversity of the patient population,” said Laura Dzurec, dean of the College of Nursing at Kent State. “It also allows us to bring in students who otherwise would not be financially able to pursue nursing as a career.”
Kent State is the only Ohio college to receive the funding three years in a row. Modern Healthcare magazine has ranked Kent State's College of Nursing as the fifth-largest nursing school in the United States.
This significant national initiative, launched in 2008 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.
While there currently is a temporary hiring plateau, the need for nurses in the short-term future will increase dramatically, according to Gail Bromley, associate dean of the College of Nursing at Kent State. “Under the new Health Care Reform Act, 32 million more people will enter the patient population,” Bromley said. “In addition, large numbers of nurses will be retiring, and the aging population will increase demand for services. It’s a perfect storm.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the nursing shortage is projected to grow to an estimated 340,000 by 2020. This shortage is not just in hospitals, but also in nursing homes, which project that they will need 66 percent more registered nurses in 2020 based on 1991 data.
Through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN), scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be distributed to entry-level nursing students in accelerated programs during the 2010-2011 academic year. Award preference is given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding will be used by schools to help leverage support for new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients.
"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 Denise A. Davis, Dr. P.H., 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.”
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. “The pass rate on the nursing licensure exam for Kent State students with a bachelor’s degree is 99 percent,” Dzurec said.
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 from receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students. The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem and also will alleviate the overall nursing shortage by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education not otherwise possible without scholarships.
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 healthcare needs of the nation and reducing health disparities that exist among many underserved populations. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration also 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.
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.
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Laura Dzurec, ldzurec [at] kent.edu, 330-672-7930
Gail Bromley, gbromley [at] kent.edu, 330-672-8801
Bob Burford, rburford [at] kent.edu, 330-672-8516