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TODAY news for Thursday, September 22, 2005

School of Nursing news

School of Nursing receives $840,000 grant for nursing diversity project

A project to encourage nursing diversity began in the School of Nursing in July 2004. The project, titled Pipeline to Registered Nursing: Increasing Diversity (PRN), assists students to obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing. It was initiated to substantially benefit groups that are underrepresented in nursing and to help meet the nursing needs of the state of California and the nation.

“This is a recruitment and retention program that begins at an elementary school level to encourage nursing as a career option,” says Vaneta Condon, PhD, RN, Pipeline to Registered Nursing project director.

Dr. Condon and Charlie Jo Morgan, PhD, RN, co-authored the project proposal, which allows 25 new students a year for three years to enter the baccalaureate nursing program at LLUSN. The almost $840,000 grant for this project was awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

Selection criteria for the project include: ethnicity underrepresented in nursing (American Indians, Blacks, Hispanics, and some Asian groups),  motivation/persistence, self-esteem/realistic self-appraisal, presence of strong support person/systems, GPA, critical thinking, and ATI composite score.

“A lot of students aren’t even aware that these options are open to them, but nursing is a wonderful career choice,” adds Dr. Condon.

Financial benefits of PRN include a tuition discount of $1,000 per quarter for the first three quarters the student is enrolled at LLUSN, a stipend of $250 per month to be used for living expenses while a nursing student at LLUSN (if you qualify using U.S. government family income guidelines), or scholarships of at least $750 per quarter for tuition, fees, and books during the PRN funding period.

Other PRN benefits include free testing to determine specific knowledge and skills levels, an individualized program of classes based on testing results, individualized advising, peer group support, peer mentoring, free study groups/tutoring for difficult classes, a free Kaplan review course to prepare for the exam to become a registered nurse, and a new computer and printer for home use, if needed.

In addition, each pipeline student has an academic adviser of the same or similar ethnicity, as far as possible.

The data regarding the shortage of nurses in general, and underrepresented groups in particular, indicates that it is imperative that nursing be more diligent in aggressively recruiting and educating individuals to meet the demands for a diverse nursing workforce in California, the Inland Empire, and the nation.

Entry points into Pipeline to Registered Nursing are for elementary, middle, or high school and college/university students, hospital/longterm care workers, and students admitted to the LLU School of Nursing. Ethnically diverse students from the School of Nursing will partner with teachers and other appropriate individuals at area schools to develop and implement plans for activities to expose students to nursing as a career choice.

Culturally diverse registered nurses will partner with hospital/longterm care agency personnel to expose other workers to nursing as a career. Individuals who indicate an interest in nursing will enter the pipeline, where there will be a variety of activities to support and cultivate that interest.

The National Survey Sample of Registered Nurses (2000) shows that only 13.4 percent of the nurses in the United States are minority; however, the minority population is 30.9 percent. Data from the California Nursing Workforce Initiative shows that 27.5 percent of the state’s registered nurses are minority while 53.3 percent of the population is minority. The greatest disparity is in the Hispanic group, where 5.6 percent of the nurses are Hispanic, compared to 32.4 percent of the population.

“Based on this data, it is clear that some groups are underrepresented in California and the Inland Empire,” says Dr. Condon. “Recruitment and retention of culturally diverse RN student populations in all programs must occur to provide care to an increasingly diverse Inland Empire population.”

Pipeline partnerships have been formed with at least four elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools, and two colleges or universities. In addition, there are partnerships with health care facilities that have diverse groups of non-nursing workers.

Pairs of School of Nursing students from similar backgrounds will be trained to work with designated teachers, administrators, and counselors within each school to plan activities that will expose students to information about careers in nursing and to mentor, tutor, and track students who express an interest in becoming registered nurses.

These nursing students will be trained by a multicultural team of nursing faculty and consultants and will be financially compensated for the time spent working in the partnering schools. This financial help is expected to increase their retention in nursing.

For more information on the PRN project, please contact Vaneta Condon at (909) 558-1000, ext. 83826 or <vcondon@llu.edu> or Charlie Jo Morgan at (909) 558-1000, ext. 45438 or <cmorgan@llu.edu>.

TODAY news for Thursday, September 22, 2005