St. Louis University Receives Over $2 Million in Scholarship Funds to Boost Diversity and Address Nursing Shortages

St. Louis University Receives Over $2 Million in Scholarship Funds to Boost Diversity and Address Nursing Shortages

In an effort funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, St. Louis University (SLU) received over $2 million in federal funds to provide nursing scholarships to disadvantaged students over the next three and a half years. Similar scholarship programs at schools around the country are being put into effect to address issues facing the nursing profession as a whole (i.e. lack of diversity, nursing shortages).

The first year of the grant will provide 20 scholarships to SLU students – 10 to freshmen and 10 to sophomores. Mentoring is part of the award package, a huge benefit to students who are participating in a high pressure program and career. In the future, high school students will be recruited specifically from disadvantaged campuses.

A 2010 Institute of Medicine report titled Future of Nursing specifically addressed diversity as an issue. Compared to the general US population, nursing students show both gender and racial disparities. In 2015 men made up just 12% of the students in pre-licensure programs, and white students were 10% more prevalent in nursing programs compared to the general population, with fewer African American and Latino students being represented in nursing programs.

The current population of registered nurses has even higher racial disparities. Nursing populations now are overwhelmingly white at nearly 75%, but the rising generation has a more representative ratio at just 61% white students. Diversity in the nursing workforce has become such an important issue because of the diversity of those being cared for. Future of Nursing’s Campaign for Action explains, “A nursing workforce that reflects the diversity of the country’s communities and populations will lead to better understanding of the many elements that affect a person’s health and emotional well-being and, ultimately, to improved interactions and treatment.”

“A nursing workforce that reflects the diversity of the country’s communities and populations will lead to better understanding of the many elements that affect a person’s health and emotional well-being and, ultimately, to improved interactions and treatment.”

Scholarships also offer another important aspect in that they form a path that leads to jobs. Many popular degrees in college today do not match up with high demand jobs so incentives to get students into fields that offer high post-graduation success is beneficial to everyone involved. There are 3.6 million registered nurses in the US, but with an aging population, the demand for nurses continues to grow.

Nursing isn’t an easy profession, but for those talented in providing care for others, especially those who thought they wouldn’t be able to afford nursing school, scholarships like the ones being offered at St. Louis University could make a difference. The fact that these scholarships contribute to creating a more diverse nursing workforce in the US is an added bonus.

University of Florida College of Nursing to Increase Diversity with New Director

University of Florida College of Nursing to Increase Diversity with New Director

The University of Florida (UF) College of Nursing has named Dr. Jeanne-Marie Stacciarini, PhD, RN, FAAN, its first director of diversity and inclusion. Created to enhance awareness and dialogue about important issues in diversity, the newly established position was created based on recommendations from UF’s diversity and inclusion task force.

Stacciarini is an associate professor in the college and has been with UF since 2006. Her research focuses on mental health promotion among minorities and community-based participatory research for minority, rural, and international populations. Stacciarini has been recognized for her work with underserved populations with the 2012 Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS) Award for Research in Minority Health and the 2014 APNA Award for Excellence in Research. Outside the College of Nursing, Stacciarini is a leader on campus as chair of the UF President’s Council on Diversity and she sits on President Fuchs’ leadership cabinet.

In her new position she aims to create better dialogue and educate others about the need for diversity. She will work on student and faculty recruitment to create a better working and learning environment. Leading a new initiative with undergraduate students in the College of Nursing, Stacciarini will be launching a program called Engaging Multiple-communities of BSN students in Research and Academic Curricular Experiences (EMBRACE).

UF College of Nursing Dean, Anna M. McDaniel, says she believes that Dr. Stacciarini’s diversity work will have a positive impact on the entire college and serve as a campus-wide model. Dr. Stacciarini is a tireless advocate for faculty, staff, students, and patients from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, and as director of diversity and inclusion she will play a lead role in carrying out the College of Nursing’s commitment to diversity and inclusion for all members of the community.

Casey Dillon, a nursing graduate student in the college and former student of Stacciarini says she thinks more diversity in the college will prepare students for nursing careers. Nurses work with a wide variety of people every day, so diversity education is a necessary thing.

As nurses, Stacciarini says we need to be prepared to care for a more diverse patient body. She is honored to fill this important position and work to help more people understand diversity and inclusion to sustain that culture across the College. She hopes to bring ideas from the President’s Council on Diversity to new initiatives in the College of Nursing.