The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) scholarship program was a national program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).


Letter from the National Program Office

The story of NCIN’s accomplishments will be written for decades to come, as the program’s more than 3,500 scholars advance in their careers. The ways they transform the nursing profession, our health care system, and our communities will be felt for a generation.
As NCIN grantee schools enhanced their diversity, they also began to create initiatives designed to foster inclusiveness among all students. Those efforts included committees, programs, and curricular reviews that, in some cases, were implemented acros
s entire universities. And that has led to real culture change.
Of course, our scholars were the primary focus of NCIN. We worked with grantee schools and created a cadre of nurses with the leadership skills needed to provide high-quality patient care, conduct groundbreaking research, guide the transformation of hea
lth care, and build a Culture of Health. The NCIN scholars are the proud, lasting legacy of the New Careers in Nursing program.

Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, Chief Executive Officer, AACN
Vernell DeWitty, PhD, RN, Program Deputy Director, NCIN
Geraldine (Polly) Bednash, PhD, RN, FAAN, Former Chief Executive Officer, AA

Read the full letter here.

National Program Office Communications

Annual Reports

FasTrack Newsletters

Our History

In 2008, the United States was ill-equipped to meet the rapidly growing demands of an aging and diverse patient population. Experts projected a shortage of 340,000 nurses by 2020 and a nurse faculty shortage limited schools’ capacity to train and graduate future nurses. The writing was on
the wall: failure to address the shortage would have dire consequences on health care delivery.

The program is designed to:
  • Help alleviate the national nursing shortage
  • Increase the diversity of nursing professionals
  • Expand capacity in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs
  • Enhance the pipeline of potential nurse faculty

Our Program

To meet these objectives, NCIN provided annual grants to schools of nursing between 2008 and 2015. Scholarships of $10,000 each were then awarded to more than 3,500 students—many from diverse or nontraditional backgrounds—in accelerated baccalaureate and master’s programs. Funding agreements required schools to recruit, enroll, and offer mentorship and leadership development activities for their scholars.

As the program grew, so did NCIN’s support for nursing education. Collaborations with grantees, policymakers, and leaders produced a suite of resources to help nontraditional students succeed academically and professionally. Over seven years, NCIN developed toolkits, programs, and best practices in the areas of recruitment and retention, orientation, academic support, mentoring, and leadership development. These resources grew to be valuable not just for NCIN grantees but their broader university systems and other non-funded schools of nursing.

Our Impact

NCIN’s impact far surpassed expectations. With an investment of $44 million across seven years, RWJF helped 130 schools of nursing support 3,571 scholars in their dreams to become nurses. The guidance and skills NCIN scholars received will help to transform the nursing profession and contribute to a Culture of Health in communities across the country. That is the proud and lasting legacy of NCIN.

Our Leadership

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing thank the following individuals for the guidance and support they provided to NCIN and the Doctoral Advancement in Nursing program.

National Advisory Committee Members

Chair: Carolina G. Huerta, EdD, MSN, RN (2008-2015)
Gaurdia Banister, PhD, RN (2008-2015)
Catherine Crowley, EdD, RN (2008-2015)
Daisy Cruz-Richman, PhD, RN (2008-2015)
Debra J. Danforth, BSN, RN (2008-2015)
Paul Gorski, PhD (2012-2015)
Teri A. Murray, PhD, RN, FAAN (2008-2015)
Carmen Portillo, PhD, RN, FAAN (2008-2010)
Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP (2008-2015)
Phyllis W. Sharps, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN (2008-2015)
Diane Tsukamaki, MS (2008-2015)
Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH (2008-2015)
Brenda K. Zierler, PhD, RN, RVT (2011-2015)

National Program Office Staff

Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN (2013-2017)
Vernell DeWitty, PhD, RN (2008-2017)
Geraldine ‘Polly’ Bednash, PhD, RN, FAAN (2008-2013)
Christine Downing, MA (2010-2017)
Jihanne Jeanty, BA (2010-2015)
Karann Shaw, BA (2015-2016)
Alexa Tehansky, MS (2008-2016)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Staff

Nancy Wieler Fishman, MPH, Senior Program Officer
Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Adviser for Nursing
David M. Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, Senior Program Officer
Linda Wright Moore, MS, Senior Communications Officer
Robyn B. Tyminski, National Program Services Associate

Evaluation Team Members from Educational Testing Services

Catherine M. Millett, PhD
Leslie M. Stickler, MSS
Haijang Wang, PhD

Pictured above are members of the National Program Office: Christine Downing, Jihanne Jeanty, Vernell DeWitty, and Alexa Tehansky. This moment was captured while facilitating the 2014 Annual Meeting.