New Nursing Program Simplifies Switch to Healthcare Career

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If you’re trapped in a dead end job and lack the funds for more college, there are ways you can switch to an in-demand healthcare field like nursing.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN) eases the transition. Their accelerated bachelor’s or master’s degree nursing program is aimed at traditionally underrepresented students who will add diversity and value to the field. The program prepares students to pass the license exam--required for all registered nurses--in just 12-18 months. Participants are awarded a $10,000 scholarship and are eligible for the NCIN mentoring program and a pre-entry immersion program to enhance their study, test-taking, and other skills.

Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,117 scholarships to students at 125 unique schools of nursing. This year, funding for 400 scholarships was granted to 52 schools of nursing. With the coming avalanche of patients entering the healthcare system due to ObamaCare, healthcare providers will need senior level nurses to ease the burden. The NCIN program addresses this shortage, since 91 percent of students receiving funding in the first three years of the program say they hope to advance their education to the master’s and doctoral levels.

Success in numbers and diversity

The NCIN formula works. As many as 94 percent of NCIN students have graduated or are scheduled to graduate on time in the accelerated program. This is far better than the 76 percent graduation rate for nursing students nationwide. The demographics are equally impressive. The number of men enrolled in participating nursing programs rose from 36 percent to 41 percent. The number of Asian American students, jumped from 11 percent to 14 percent; African American students rose from 26 percent to 29 percent; and Hispanic students increased from 12 percent to 13 percent. The 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, noted the importance of adding more nurses with a bachelor’s degree or higher to the profession. It also underscored the need for more student diversity to ensure the nation has a nursing workforce capable of meeting the healthcare needs of an increasingly diverse population.

Taking lessons and giving back

NCIN’s accelerated degree program combines classes, clinicals, meetings with mentors and more in a tight time frame. Yet students still find time to get involved in community service. While it’s not a requirement, giving back is recommended as a way for students to demonstrate their commitment to serving others. Students often consider it a break from their studies and are only eager to help. Typical community service activities include leading a crafts workshop at an assisted living facility, cooking and serving meals at a residential AIDS program, recruiting participants for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, doing hands-on work for Habitat for Humanity, and collecting donations for Shelter Our Sisters, a nonprofit agency that helps domestic violence victims. Students meet people in the community or in their homes, which gives them a unique perspective in nursing. Students have also traveled to Japan to provide aid after 2011’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

If you feel that your current career path is leading you in the wrong direction, learn more about the NCIN program--visit

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