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Robert Wood Johnson Grant and Simons Match Helps Stony Brook Address Nursing Shortage, Diversity

Simons gift helps elevate nursing education and develop educators

December 17, 2012—Stony Brook University School of Nursing (SON) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which will be used to fund scholarships designed to expand enrollment to help address the nationwide nursing shortage and increase the diversity of nursing professionals. The grant will be matched by the Simons Foundation Challenge Grant for a total impact of $200,000.

The RWJF’s “New Careers in Nursing Program” grant enables the SON to provide ten $10,000 individual scholarships in 2013 to college graduates without nursing degrees who will enroll in the Accelerated Baccalaureate Program next June.

The $100,000 Simons match will support the academic progression of three RWJF scholars enrolled in the Accelerated Baccalaureate Program to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program. These scholarships are in support of a RWJF initiative, in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine, which places a premium on advancing the level of education for nurses nationwide to accompany the need for more nurses. The goal is for schools of nursing to build their resources to prepare more students at the graduate level for professional roles in advanced practices, leadership, teaching, and research.

“These scholarships make it possible for promising new students to enter the profession, advance their education, and facilitate the rapid entry of new nurses into the workforce,” said Lori Escallier, PhD, RN, CPNP, Associate Dean for Evaluation and Outcomes and Clinical Professor in the School of Nursing. “The support we are receiving from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Simons Foundation will also help us further grow nursing research and higher education within our program.”

“With the additional support from the Simons Foundation, the top performers in the RWJF scholars program will have an opportunity to move quickly to develop the most advanced nursing skills and become well-prepared to train and educate other nurses in best practices,” said Dr. Lee Anne Xippolitos, Dean, of the School of Nursing. “There is a shortage of both nurse practitioners and nurse educators, and promoting seamless academic progression in nursing is a step toward alleviating these shortcomings in clinical and academic settings.”

Dr. Xippolitos added that scholarships like those supported by the Simons Foundation will serve as a pipeline to growing Stony Brook’s DNP Program. She explained that students moving quickly from the Accelerated Baccalaureate Program to the DNP Program will also have clinical practice opportunities at Stony Brook University Hospital.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by the year 2016. The Bureau also estimates that employment for registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. In addition to increasing nurse numbers, the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, policy advisors to Congress, agrees that diversifying the nursing profession is essential to meeting the health care needs of the nation.

“While the number of underrepresented nurses has increased, the current amount is still inadequate to meet the needs of underrepresented populations on Long Island and the New York Metropolitan area,” said Dr. Escallier. “Studies indicate that patients respond better when care instructions are delivered in their own language and their cultural background is taken into account. For these reasons, we will continue to increase our support of underrepresented students within the School of Nursing.”

As a result of previous RWJF grants, the SON’s Accelerated Baccalaureate Program has graduated 23 RWJF scholars. One of the stipulations of the RWJF grant is that enrollment increases. Currently, 62 students are enrolled in the Accelerated Baccalaureate Program. The SON expects to continue increasing enrollment for the program. Thirty-two students are enrolled in the DNP Program.


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