Science / Technology and Health

Meeting a Critical Need

Written by Natalia Vinokhodova, College of Nursing

June 2, 2014

Four nursing students in a nursing lab

The College of Nursing receives scholarship funding to support second-career nurses from underrepresented groups.

The College of Nursing is one of 52 schools to receive a grant from the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. 

The college will receive $50,000 to support traditionally underrepresented students who are making a career switch to nursing through an accelerated baccalaureate or master's degree program. Five SU students will be supported through New Careers in Nursing (NCIN), 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, 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 transition to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program, which prepares students to assume the role of registered nurse in as little as 12-18 months. 

"We are thrilled to be able to offer significant financial support to very deserving underrepresented students," said Anne Hirsch, associate dean for graduate education in the college. "In addition, the students will benefit from active mentorship by selected faculty members to ensure their success in the program. We are very thankful that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing made these funds available and we are honored to have been selected to receive the grant."  

In addition to the $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. "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 healthcare demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. NCIN is helping to advance those recommendations by enabling schools to expand student capacity and by 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. 

For more information about Seattle University College of Nursing accelerated program, visit the College of Nursing Homepage To learn more about the NCIN program, visit