The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has received $120,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to award 12 scholarships to students in the accelerated master's nursing program.
Through RWJF's New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, the scholarships of $10,000 each will be distributed during the 2009-10 year to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. The scholarship program is designed to ease the shortage of nurses and nurse faculty.
The national initiative initiated by the RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing aims to help alleviate the nation's nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs. The School of Nursing Alternate Entry Master of Science Program provides an accelerated path for a student with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree to become a registered nurse and then obtain a master's degree.
"Texas lags behind the rest of the country in the numbers of nurses prepared at the graduate level," said Dr. Alexa Stuifbergen, interim dean of the School of Nursing. "The alternative entry program is helping to address that need, particularly in preparing future faculty."
Stuifbergen said the grant will help the school prepare future nurse leaders from underrepresented groups, who will make significant contributions in developing and leading programs, delivering expert clinical care and preparing the next generation of nurses.
"It is important that we continue to press toward the goal of increased diversity in the workforce to better serve our diverse population and represent all voices in our professional dialogue," she said.
The School of Nursing has graduated 363 master's prepared nurses through its Alternate Entry Master of Science in Nursing program, which began in 1989.
Grant funding also will be used to help leverage support for new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients.