MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Nursing is among a select group of institutions to receive renewed funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN).

Grants provided through this competitive program are used for scholarships to increase the number of students enrolled in WVU’s accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. This groundbreaking national initiative, launched by RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), aims to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs.

The WVU School of Nursing has received $50,000 to be distributed to five students during the 2011-2012 academic year. To date, the School of Nursing has awarded 15 NCIN scholarships to students from groups traditionally 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.

“Through the NCIN program, we are challenging nursing schools across the country to expand nurse leadership and strengthen education, two clear goals of the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report on ‘The Future of Nursing,’” Denise A. Davis, Dr.P.H., RWJF program officer for NCIN, said. “By diversifying the nursing profession through these scholarships, we are also helping to create a healthcare workforce ready to meet the needs of the 21st century American patient.”

The New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program supports accelerated programs, which offer the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse for adults who have already completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing.

Although enrollment in these programs has steadily increased over the past few years, many potential students are unable to enroll, because already having a college degree disqualifies them for receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students. The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem and will also address the overall nursing shortage by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education.

The WVU School of Nursing’s BS/BA to BSN program allows students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree in another field to earn a BSN degree in 18 months. At the Morgantown campus, more than 65 students are enrolled in the accelerated BS/BA to BSN program. The program began in 2001 with eight students. Since then, more than 150 students have graduated from the program. 

By bringing more nurses into the profession, the new scholarship program also helps to address the nation’s nurse faculty shortage. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession at the baccalaureate level are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing, which is the required credential to teach.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and healthcare of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 670 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work 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 healthcare and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice. For more information, visit

For more information about the WVU School of Nursing see

For more information: Leigh Limerick, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
lal: 04-14-11