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Push for Nursing Diversity Reveals Rich Talent Pool

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, June 3, 2014

For instance, the AACN fact sheet cites an April 2000 report prepared by the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, which found that "a culturally diverse nursing workforce is essential to meeting the health care needs of the nation and reducing the health disparities that exist among minority populations."

Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,517 scholarships to students at 130 different schools of nursing. The schools receive grants to support traditionally underrepresented students who are also making a career switch to nursing through an accelerated baccalaureate or master's degree program.

Each NCIN scholarship recipient has already earned a bachelor's degree in another field, and is making a transition to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program, which prepares students to assume the role of registered nurse in as little as 12-18 months. In addition to the scholarship, the program also provides support to the students throughout their studies.

By targeting underrepresented students who already have bachelor's degrees enter accelerated baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs, the scholarship program not only increases nursing diversity, but also helps to advance the IOM's goal of having 80% of nurses hold a bachelor's degree by 2020. It also introduces into the workforce nurses who are focused, driven, and carry with them the experiences of past careers.

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