The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established a $1.17 million grant earlier this month in an effort to offer more opportunities to minority graduate nursing students interested in becoming nurse educators. Currently, fewer than 3,000 nurses in the US have doctoral degrees, a level of experience that is becoming more and more necessary among nurse educators as standards for advanced practice nursing continue to evolve. Even so, the number of universities offering PhDs for nurse educators is extremely limited.
Furthermore, minorities are underrepresented in the faculties of nursing schools across the country. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, less than 12 percent of nursing school faculty members are part of a minority group. The NIH, saw these numbers and recognized the necessity for patient care providers and educators to reflect the populations they serve.
To help increase the number of minority nurses and close the gap, the NIH established the grant to develop a pipeline for the Ph.D. program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Students enrolled at Cleveland State University and at Ursuline College in Cleveland will be able to enter into the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing operated by Case Western.
The funds will be spent developing programs specialized for nursing students and offering diverse opportunities that will differentiate their program from a standard medical doctorate. Furthermore, money will also be set aside to hire and maintain minority staff members.
“Hospitals serve people of all races and ethnic backgrounds…that starts with having a more diverse faculty that can serve as role models for future nurses.” said Case Western Reserve’s associate dean for academic affairs Elizabeth Madigan, the program lead at the School of Nursing.
The program could make a huge impact on the state of minority nurses throughout the country, especially in the Cleveland area. The use of grant money at Case Western could very well provide a standard for new graduate nursing programs for nurse educators.