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GW School of Nursing receives nearly $1 million grant to diversify nursing workforce

ASHBURN, Va. - The George Washington University School of Nursing was recently awarded a three year grant totaling nearly $1 million from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in support of the school's Success in Nursing Education project, which aims to increase the number and diversity of nursing professionals, specifically African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, male and economically disadvantaged students in the Washington D.C., and rural Virginia areas.

GW nursing administrators predict diversity of the nursing workforce can be increased through its accelerated bachelor's of science program at GW's Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Va., and its online programs, which include an associate's to bachelor's degree and master's of science in nursing and in other concentrations and the doctorate of nursing practice in which students can fulfill the clinical requirements in their home communities. Online programs require students to come to the GW campus three times a year.

"This grant is extremely important to the School of Nursing in fulfilling our mission to educate a diverse nursing workforce," said School of Nursing Dean Jean Johnson. "Being able to develop and implement a program that provides a strong support system is what will make a major difference in helping our students be successful while responding to this critical need."

A systematic recruitment plan will be developed to target potential students who are changing careers, already have a degree in another field and who also live in a medically underserved or health professional shortage area.

"By offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing we are confident that we can help meet the demand of nurses both in number and diversity," said Ellen Dawson, professor of nursing for the School of Nursing and the principle investigator and program director of the grant. "We expect our program will allow rural communities to have access to a greater number of primary care providers and urban and suburban communities will likewise benefit from a greater number of primary care nurses."

The School of Nursing will launch a marketing and recruitment outreach campaign using print, mail and social media mediums to reach disadvantage students. On-campus and virtual "open house" sessions geared specifically to the program's target audience will provide prospective students with the opportunity to meet faculty and ask questions about the program.

To assure that students who enroll in the nursing degree programs complete it successfully, the School of Nursing will utilize retention tools such a culturally-conscious mentoring program based on a national model and a peer-support study group will include the development of modules directed at study skills. The grant is also providing scholarships and other financial aid for students who meet the recruitment criteria.

"The success of the grant lies in the recruitment and most importantly the retention of these students," said Dr. Dawson. "Creating an atmosphere where the students have the tools and the mentoring to be successful is critical to their future and to the future of diversifying our nursing workforce."

Contact: Latarsha Gatlin
George Washington University

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