Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Funds New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program

October 1, 2008

YSN is pleased to be among the first institutions in the nation to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Barbara Guthrie, RN, PhD, FAAN received the award on behalf of YSN. Grants provided through this competitive program will be used for scholarships to increase the numbers of students enrolled in YSN’s Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN) program. This groundbreaking national initiative, launched 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.

Eight entering YSN students received scholarships through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program in the amount of $10,000 each for the 2008-2009 academic year. The awardees are: Stephanie Bedolla, Krystal Davis, Allison Grady, Timothy Jones, Jamie Low, Benjamin Pease, Teresa Svart, and Nhu Tran.

Award preference is given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding also will be used by the YSN to help leverage new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients. “This program aims to safeguard the health of the nation by helping to ease the nurse and nurse faculty shortage,” said RWJF President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A. “This new initiative also will advance our strategic goal of promoting leadership in the health professions.”

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. 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 for receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students. The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem, and will also address the overall nursing shortage, by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education.

YSN’s GEPN program was the first of its kind when it opened in 1974. It is a recognized model for other programs and ranks among the top graduate entry accelerated nursing programs in the United States. Students spend their first 11 months in a basic nursing curriculum and then move into advance practice programs, graduating after 7 semesters with an MSN degree.

By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels, the new scholarship 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 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.

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 health care needs of the nation and reducing health disparities that exist among many underserved populations.

YSN will award scholarships to first year GEPN students who self-identify as being from an underrepresented group in nursing or from a disadvantaged background. These categories include racial and ethnic minorities, men, and first generation college students. Each year, first year GEPN students will be invited to participate in a competitive process that includes a review of GRE scores and GPA, a written statement, and an interview. The RWJF scholarship is awarded to students who have demonstrated academic success, leadership potential, commitment to ensuring quality health care for all people, and commitment to seeking a PhD in nursing.

Scholarship recipients are paired with alumni mentors, participate in Dean Margaret Grey’s leader seminars, meet twice yearly with the Associate Dean, and are strongly encouraged to become active members of the Student Diversity Action Committee.

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.