We recently received this thought-provoking letter from Marie L. Lobo, RN, PhD, FAAN, a professor at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing in Albuquerque:

“I was recently given a copy of Minority Nurse and it had information about the scholarships your magazine gives to BSN students,” she writes. “I would like you to consider scholarships for master’s and doctoral students. If we are ever to increase the number of [nursing] faculty members who are African-American, Native American, Hispanic, etc., we need to be able to indicate where there is support for them to go to school.

“I lived in South Carolina before moving to New Mexico. I had successfully recruited African-American students into doctoral study in the past, but saw little emphasis on graduate education in the local African-American newspaper. I am being confronted with the same issues in New Mexico, particularly among Native American students.

“Perhaps Minority Nurse could help with community information to encourage families, churches and other institutions centered in the communities of people of color to be supportive of students going on for graduate degrees,” Dr. Lobo continues. “Many of my students who announced to their family and friends that they had been accepted into MSN or PhD programs were confronted with the response: ‘You already have a job for life. Why would you want to go back to school?’ I was not surprised at the financial lack of support, but I was surprised at the emotional lack of support.”

Editor Pam Chwedyk responds: The Minority Nurse Magazine Scholarship Program focuses on helping students of color complete BSN degrees because this has historically been the prerequisite that makes graduate study possible in the first place. However, given the growing popularity of master’s entry nursing programs–e.g., accelerated RN-to-MSN programs that bypass the traditional BSN degree–we are currently considering expanding our scholarship eligibility criteria to include students enrolled in these programs. In the meantime, we will continue to publish articles that encourage minority nurses to pursue advanced degrees and we are printing your letter in the hopes that it will inspire our readers to initiate this dialog in their own communities.

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