Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing

    • September 18, 2012

Dates of Program: May 2008 to August 2014

Field of Work: Expanding the diversity of the nursing workforce, alleviating the national nursing shortages, and building the pipeline of potential nurse faculty members.

Problem Synopsis: Though there are 3 million registered nurses nationwide, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that all 50 states will face a shortage of nurses by 2015, and the national shortage will top 1 million by 2020. National organizations have called for increasing the share of registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees from 50 percent to 80 percent of all nurses, and doubling the number with doctoral degrees. A nursing workforce that can provide culturally competent care is also critical to meeting the health care needs of all Americans.

Synopsis of the Work: New Careers in Nursing provides scholarships to college graduates who have degrees in other disciplines but have decided to become nurses. The recipients must be from groups underrepresented in nursing based on gender, race, and ethnicity, or from disadvantaged backgrounds, and enrolled in accelerated bachelor's and master's nursing programs. Nursing schools that apply to participate in the program award the scholarships. The program began in May 2008, and so far has received funding through July 2014.

Key Results to Date

  • Staff at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and evaluators at the Educational Testing Service reported the following results:

    • Some 120 nursing schools in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia have awarded 2,717 scholarships to students in accelerated nursing programs, as of 2012–13.
      • 58 percent of all students are underrepresented racial or ethnic minorities.
      • 39 percent of all students are male.
    • Some 1,125 students had graduated from the accelerated programs as of January 2012, including 937 with a bachelor of science in nursing degree and 188 with a master's in nursing degree.
      • 94 percent of students who receive the scholarships graduate or remain in the program.
      • 96 percent of those who have graduated have passed the National Council Licensure Examination, which is required to become a registered nurse.
      • 52 percent of graduates with a bachelor's degree in nursing say they plan to pursue a master's degree in nursing, and 43 percent plan to pursue a doctorate.