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A competitive grant from the New Careers in Nursing Scholarship by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will support low-income students who would otherwise be unable to participate in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (A-BSN).
With an average pass-rate of over 90 percent on the state licensure exam, graduates of the A-BSN program are sought after by hospitals and other healthcare settings. Because the program is so intensive, students cannot work for the duration, so although the program offers a better future for graduates, it also means finances will be tight. For low-income students, an opportunity like CSUN’s A-BSN program has been out of reach–until now.
With an eye toward creating greater opportunity for those who cannot afford to make the leap into a full time intensive academic program, the grant reaches out to low-income students from cultures that are under-represented in the health professions.
Samira Moughrabi, Nursing faculty and principal investigator for the grant, said that last year over 300 applicants vied for entry, but only 36 could be admitted. Demand for the program is pushing growth, but it is also important to the community and the program that the economic factor does not shut out qualified students. “Our experience shows that traditionally underrepresented students may have different needs when it comes to socialization into the nursing role, and we want to provide the support they need for success,” Moughrabi said.
Nursing department chair Marianne Hattar-Pollara described the demographic of students who can benefit from the grant, and stressed that “With the goal of providing more culturally competent patient care, we want our program to prepare graduates who can represent the health care needs of our diverse population."
The 15 month A-BSN terms overlap, one starts in fall and the other summer, but with further development the program hopes to weave in a spring term as well. The New Careers in Nursing Scholarship provides momentum for this crucial phase of program development. More important, the five students who will benefit from this grant will not only bring class sizes to capacity, but will also focus efforts on preparing nurse leaders from under-represented ethnic minorities.
“We acquired a Song-Brown grant that allows us to offer education and training as nurse educators for fast track faculty development,” Hattar-Pollara said. “At the same time our collaboration with Centralized Clinical Placement Systems (CCPS) and our strong relationships with community health affiliates are helping us ensure the clinical placements for our students.” All of this lends to growth and development of the program, and a faster turnout of professional level nurses with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
- Jean O'Sullivan