October 20, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Nursing Awarded Grant Funds by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University has once again been selected as one of 52 schools to receive grant funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN).

During the 2014-2015 academic year, VSU will receive $50,000 to support select students making a career switch to nursing through the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Second Degree Students program offered by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The university previously received funding during the 2013-2014 academic year.

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 David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, 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 career switch to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program, which prepares students to pass the licensure exam required for all registered nurses in as little as 12 to 18 months. The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at VSU is 15 months.

At VSU, five students will be awarded NCIN scholarships and welcomed into the College of Nursing and Health Sciences in May 2015. The first cohort of scholars started in May of this year. Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,517 scholarships to students at 130 unique schools of nursing. Funding for 400 scholarships was granted to 52 schools of nursing this year.

“We at the Valdosta State University College of Nursing and Health Sciences feel privileged to participate in a program like New Careers in Nursing, which will help us be more responsive to the needs of our diverse student body and our diverse community,” said Dr. Sheri Noviello, interim dean. “As our region becomes more diverse, it is essential that we support graduates who are reflective of the greater community.  Evidence suggests that patients have better outcomes and are more satisfied when the health care environment mirrors the diversity of the community. In promoting nursing workforce diversity, this grant benefits not only the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the scholarship recipients, but it also benefits the community, the region, and the nursing profession.”

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 Eileen Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN. “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 health care demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. NCIN is helping to advance those recommendations, enabling schools to expand student capacity and 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.

Contact Dr. Rebecca Green at rdgreen@valdosta.edu or (229) 333-5959 or visit http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/nursing-and-health-sciences/programs/accelerated-bsn-program-for-second-degree-students/welcome.php to learn more about VSU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Second Degree Students program. Visit www.NewCareersInNursing.org to learn about NCIN.

About NCIN

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) joined with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to create New Careers in Nursing (NCIN): an RWJF Scholarship Program to help alleviate the nursing shortage and increase the diversity of nursing professionals. Through annual grants to schools of nursing, NCIN provides $10,000 scholarships to college graduates with degrees in other fields who wish to transition into nursing through an accelerated baccalaureate or master’s nursing program. For more information, visit www.newcareersinnursing.org.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About AACN

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 750 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s and graduate degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice. For more information, visit www.aacn.nche.edu.