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Duquesne Receives Nursing Scholarship Funding Through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Duquesne University School of Nursing has been named among the first of 58 institutions in the nation to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. This ground breaking national initiative, launched by RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is designed to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the corps of new nurses by providing financial aid to students who enroll in accelerated nursing degree programs.

One of only four schools in Pennsylvania to receive the RWJF funding, the School of Nursing will utilize the $100,000 for scholarships to support students enrolled in its second-degree nursing program.

“This scholarship funding not only addresses the current nursing shortage, but also prepares these second-degree students to become future nursing leaders,” said Leah Cunningham, assistant dean of student services in the School of Nursing and co-director of the project. “We are honored to be among the first institutions in the nation to receive this funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.”

The Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Duquesne enables a non-nurse with a baccalaureate degree to earn a B.S.N. in one year. After 12 months of intensive full-time study, students are eligible to take the nursing licensure examination. Interest in the program has increased so dramatically that the nursing school is considering adding a second cohort of students to the second-degree program within the next few years. Currently, 33 students are in the program’s cohort.

“Over the next 10 months, we have planned a number of activities for our 10 scholarship recipients that will provide mentorship opportunities with nursing faculty and local nursing leaders,” added Dr. Joan Such Lockhart, associate dean of academic affairs in the School of Nursing and co-director of the project. “The students are expected to engage in leadership development both as a mentee and a mentor to future second-degree students.”

Through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be distributed to entry-level nursing students in accelerated programs during the 2008-2009 academic year. Award preference is given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grant funding also will be used by the School of Nursing to help leverage new faculty resources and provide mentoring and leadership development resources to ensure successful program completion by scholarship recipients.

“This scholarship program is designed to ease the shortage of nurses and nurse faculty—an urgent national problem that potentially jeopardizes the health of all Americans,” said John Lumpkin, senior vice president and director for the Health Care Group at RWJF. “Fewer students will be turned away by schools of nursing because of the availability of this support for accelerated nursing degree programs.”

Other schools in Pennsylvania to receive the RWJF funding include Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania.

The RWJF is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, and works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 630 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, the AACN works to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.