May 30, 2014

Nancy Solomon

Grant to SLU Supports More Diverse Nursing Workforce

These SLU nursing students were among last year’s recipients of scholarships awarded through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Careers in Nursing program.

ST. LOUIS -- A $150,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will support scholarships for Saint Louis University students who are traditionally under-represented in nursing. These students include men and racial and ethnic minorities who already have a bachelor's degree and are part of SLU's accelerated bachelors and masters nursing degree program, which fast-tracks them into a nursing career.

SLU is the only university in St. Louis and among 52 schools nationally that received funding from the foundation's New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program for 2014.

SLU's diversity in nursing initiative has been supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation six out of the last seven years. Since 2007, SLU has received more than a half million dollars in scholarships, directly benefitting 53 students, said Sheila Leander, Ph.D., coordinator of SLU accelerated BSN program.

"It's important that we get more diversity, including men, into the nursing workforce. That improves the profession and makes us all stronger. Because people come with different approaches and perspectives to health care, we should reflect the patients we take care of," said Leander, an assistant professor of nursing.

"It's a way that patients can connect better with their nurses, and through these relationships we can provide better health care."

In addition to helping to defray the cost of tuition, the grants fund leadership and mentoring programs and activities for under-represented students who are financially disadvantaged. Robert Wood Johnson scholars from across the country support each other through a network where they can share information as they embark on a new career, Leander said.

Founded in 1928, Saint Louis University School of Nursing has achieved a national reputation for its innovative and pioneering programs. Offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral nursing programs, its faculty members are nationally recognized for their teaching, research and clinical expertise.

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