New grant addresses minority nurse shortage

Many heath care systems are seeking new ways to address the continuing nursing shortage in America, which has nursing homes, hospitals and institutions of higher learning struggling to hire and retain qualified professionals.

But faculty in the department of nursing at Temple University's College of Health Professions now have a plan in place to reduce the shortage by increasing the number of African Americans and Hispanics entering into the profession.

Nursing professor Karen M. Schaefer, D.N.Sc., R.N., recently secured funding from the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help local students who want to become nursing professionals achieve their dream. The $500,000 award will be used over the next three years to provide support to students from the North Philadelphia area entering into the first year of their nursing program.

Schaefer and her colleagues hope that the "Developing Diverse Diamonds Project" (DDDP) will open doors for those whose "financial, academic and personal" circumstances limit their educational pursuits. To help these individuals, two full-time nursing faculty members will work with Schaefer to develop a set of "culturally sensitive activities" to supplement each student's current academic curriculum.

The 15 juniors invited to participate in the project also must attend weekly "Professional Development Sessions," where they will learn how to manage stress and time, take notes, study and take tests in classes and how to prepare for the culturally diverse environment that they will enter upon graduation.

"It is expected that all students will graduate in two years, maintain their self esteem [and] use of healthy coping skills by graduation and [that] 90 percent of diverse students will pass the NCLEX-RN [national licensure exam] the first time," said Schaefer.

The second component of the project will use the DDDP nursing students and ot

Contact: Tory Harris
Temple University

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