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Nursing gets grant to boost careers

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Colorado State University-Pueblo’s nursing recently received a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program.

CSU-Pueblo was the first institution in Colorado to receive this funding, said Mary Kontz, associate dean of nursing, and one of the first universities in the nation to receive the funding.

The grant will fund 10 scholarships of $10,000 each to entry-level nursing students enrolled in the nursing accelerated degree program. The scholarships will be distributed during the 2008-09 academic year.

This innovative national initiative was launched by the foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and is expected to help solve the nation’s medical personnel shortage by quickly expanding the number of students in the accelerated nursing program, Kontz said.

“This program aims to safeguard the health of the nation by helping to ease the nurse faculty shortage,” said Risa Lavisso-Mourey, president of the foundation.

Nursing students in the accelerated nursing degree program have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a different subject area and are in the process of a career change. They have already invested, both financially and physically, in the previous degree, Kontz said.

Since financing a second degree is quite difficult, and most students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in another discipline are not eligible for most federal financial aid programs, this grant will help those students become involved in the nursing industry achieve their full potential.

Kontz said scholarship award preference will be given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The accelerated program is intense, Kontz said, since students participating in this program will take 19-20 credit hours per semester and will complete the degree in approximately 14 months, rather than the average 2.5 years.

The accelerated program is effective because students who have completed a bachelor’s degree should already have their prerequisite and general education requirements taken care of.

These students should already know how to study and function in the university environment, Kontz said.

She said the nursing program plans to use grant funding to get new faculty resources. The funding will also provide students with resources in leadership development and mentoring in order to ensure all recipients have the tools and resources necessary to successfully complete the accelerated degree program.

For more information on scholarships or careers in nursing, contact 549-2409.