Non-traditional nursing students to receive grant

Caleb Jenkins

$100,000 in scholarship money aimed to combat nation’s nursing shortage

Kent State joins the 75 colleges of nursing chosen to receive the $100,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholarship Grant in order to attract non-traditional nursing majors and improve the nation’s nursing shortage.

Kent State was chosen to receive the grant not only because it met the eligibility criteria, but also for the College of Nursing’s efforts at improving the quality of education for accelerated students, said Tracey Carlson, director of Kent State’s Accelerated BSN Program.

“We are currently seeking to improve our diversity percentage, enroll more students into the program to help decrease the nursing shortage and improve our mentoring program to help with retention,” Carlson said.

The college is also working on a hybrid web delivery of courses to meet the needs of accelerated students, she said.

Two scholarships have already been distributed to entry-level nursing students in the Accelerated Baccalaureate Nursing Program for this semester.

“After students were admitted to the program, students who met the RWJF diversity criteria were selected,” Carlson said.

This semester, 30 students were accepted into the program and 10 were eligible for the scholarship. The two students with the highest previous GPA were selected to receive the scholarship. Four more scholarships will be distributed in January and May.

Scholarship recipient and first-year nursing major Martin C. Duru said the scholarship will make a tremendous impact in his educational pursuit.

“Receiving (the scholarship) is an absolute godsend,” Duru said, ” because without it, I would have had to work about 30 to 35 hours a week in order to pay for my expenses.”

He added that transitioning back into the academic world would prove to be a challenge, considering he is a father of four and has been out of the school routine for over 15 years.

“This scholarship has helped to ease some of that pressure, allowing me to focus on my academic studies full-time without outside employment distractions,” Duru said, “particularly since the Kent State Accelerated Nursing program is fast-paced, academically intense and demanding.”

The College of Nursing is currently working with Cleveland hospitals to offer satellite programs in the Accelerated BSN. It is also working on ways to attract more students to the accelerated program to decrease the nursing shortage.

“In the last two years, we have increased our numbers of admissions by 70 students,” Carlson said. “The number of admissions is planned to increase next year as well.”

It has traditionally been difficult for second-degree undergraduate students to get financial assistance, so the RWJF scholarship becomes all the more important for potential students.

“The grant will help reduce the nursing shortage by attracting qualified, second-degree professionals into nursing as well as students who are high academic achievers whom, ordinarily, would not look at nursing,” Duru said.

Contact College of Nursing reporter Caleb Jenkins at [email protected].