The UCF College of Nursing has been selected as a grant recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Scholarship Program.
During the 2013-14 academic year, UCF will receive $50,000 to support students in the college’s accelerated baccalaureate in nursing program who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of nursing and are pursuing a second career in nursing. Five UCF students who meet the NCIN scholarship requirements  will receive a $10,000 scholarship, which can be used to pay tuition, academic fees and living expenses over four semesters.
Underrepresented groups in the field of nursing include: African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Any Asian/Other Pacific Islander (other than Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Asian Indian or Thai), male, and/or individuals from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.
The NCIN Scholarship Program was launched in 2008 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to expand enrollment in accelerated programs in nursing, address the nursing shortage and increase the diversity of the nursing workforce.
“At this time when the nation’s need for highly educated nurses is growing, we are delighted to be able to support nursing students who will bring diverse and valuable perspectives to the field, and become capable, culturally-competent nurses,” said David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, RWJF senior program officer. “NCIN is not only helping these students succeed in school, it is helping prepare the nursing workforce to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
Schools receiving grants through NCIN provide scholarships directly to students who come from groups that are underrepresented in nursing or from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Students who receive the NCIN scholarships — in the amount of $10,000 each — have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and are making a career switch to nursing through accelerated nursing degree programs.
These programs prepare students to pass the licensure exam required for all registered nurses in as little as 12-18 months and provide quicker routes to workforce eligibility than traditional programs. The accelerated baccalaureate program at UCF can be completed in just four semesters.
Individuals who wish to pursue nursing as a second career should apply now to UCF for summer 2014 enrollment. A separate application to the College of Nursing must be submitted between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 in order to be considered for the Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The college admits 66 students to the second-degree program each May. Applicants will undergo a competitive selection and interview process. To be considered for the RWJF NCIN scholarship, students will need to submit a separate scholarship application by Feb. 16.
Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,117 scholarships to students at more than 124 unique schools of nursing. This year, funding for 400 scholarships was granted to 52 schools of nursing, including UCF.
Students also receive other supports to help them meet the demands of an accelerated degree program. All NCIN grantee schools are required to maintain a leadership program and a mentoring program for their scholars, as well as a pre-entry immersion program that will aid scholars in learning to study, as well as test-taking and other skills that will help them in managing the challenges of an accelerated program.
“We are honored to receive these scholarships,” said Jean D’Meza Leuner, PhD, RN, FAAN, who is serving as principal investigator on the grant. “The College of Nursing is dedicated to preparing highly skilled nurses who will contribute greatly to their community, and we are thrilled to be partnering with organizations such as RWJF and AACN, whose goals are so similar to ours.”
“NCIN is strengthening nursing education and creating a culture of change at schools of nursing across the country,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our grantee schools are committed to enrolling students traditionally underrepresented in nursing, and students are benefiting from the emphasis on mentoring and leadership development that are hallmarks of the NCIN program. AACN is proud to collaborate with RWJF on this ground-breaking effort.”
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 workforce prepared to meet the demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. NCIN is helping to advance those recommendations, enabling schools to expand student capacity in higher education, and encouraging more diversity.
“Nurses serve as patient advocates, which is why diversity in the nursing workforce is so imperative,” said Assistant Professor Kelly Allred, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, who is serving as the college’s NCIN program liaison. “Each nurse-patient encounter must successfully incorporate three different cultural systems: that of the patient, that of the nurse, and that of the setting. Practicing nurses must use their knowledge of cultural diversity to advance culturally sensitive approaches to patient care.”
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. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession via baccalaureate programs are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. This trend is reflected in the NCIN scholars, as 91 percent of the students receiving funding in the first three years of the program indicate a desire to advance their education to the master’s and doctoral levels.
For more information about the College of Nursing’s accelerated baccalaureate program and applying for the RWJF NCIN scholarship, visit nursing.ucf.edu/RWJFscholarship . To learn more about the NCIN program, visit NewCareersInNursing.org .