Program Details

Background
The national spotlight on the nursing shortage has raised awareness of the pivotal role nurses play in health care delivery as well as the many career opportunities available in the field.  In addition to providing direct patient care, nurses today can conduct research, teach in universities, advise public policymakers, lead healthcare organizations, establish independent practices, and share their expertise in many other ways.  This dynamic profession is attracting an increasing number of highly skilled individuals from other disciplines who are seeking new careers in nursing.

The most efficient way to prepare new nurses at an advanced level is through accelerated baccalaureate and master's programs in nursing.  These intense programs target students who have baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines and wish to transition into nursing.  Students receive the same number of clinical hours as their counterparts in traditional nursing programs and accomplish programmatic objectives in a shorter time by building on previous learning experiences.

Expanding capacity in all types of baccalaureate nursing programs, including accelerated options, is crucial to addressing the nursing shortage.  Nursing schools nationwide are working to admit all qualified applicants, yet a shortage of faculty is constraining these efforts.  Research shows that nurses prepared in baccalaureate programs are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue graduate degrees in nursing, the required credentials to teach.  By focusing on preparing more baccalaureate nurses, the population of potential future faculty will expand considerably. (See Fact Sheet)

A growing body of research also shows a relationship between higher levels of nursing education and better quality patient care. Graduates of baccalaureate nursing programs are particularly well-equipped to meet the demands placed on today's registered nurses and to satisfy the public's mandate for high-quality patient care.  The baccalaureate-prepared nurse enjoys the greatest opportunity for career advancement as well as the ability to move seamlessly into roles requiring a master's or doctoral degree.

In addition to preparing more qualified nurses, the need exists to develop a nursing workforce that reflects the nation's population. Nurse leaders recognize a strong connection between having a diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide culturally-competent patient care.  Though nursing has made great strides in enhancing the diversity of graduates, more must be done.
 
Grant Opportunities
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has joined with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to create New Careers in Nursing: an RWJF Scholarship Program to help alleviate the nursing shortage and increase the diversity of nursing professionals.  Through grants to schools of nursing, the program will provide scholarships to non-nursing college graduates enrolled in accelerated baccalaureate and master's nursing programs.  These fast-track programs allow talented individuals from other disciplines to enter the nursing profession.

Through the New Careers in Nursing program, at least 400 scholarships of $10,000 each will be awarded annually.  A school of nursing may apply for five to 30 scholarships per year to be awarded to students from underrepresented groups in nursing or disadvantaged backgrounds.  Schools of nursing must provide evidence that the availability of scholarship funds will expand enrollment in accelerated nursing programs.

A distinguished National Advisory Committee (NAC) will assist RWJF with the scholarship program selection process.  Members of the NAC and the National Program Office (NPO) will monitor the progress of each school in recruiting students from underrepresented groups in nursing or disadvantaged backgrounds as scholarship recipients.  Nursing schools that make significant progress will be eligible for additional scholarship funding in years two and three.

Use of Grant Funds
All grant funds are to be used for scholarships for students who may use them to pay tuition, academic fees and living expenses.