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Mount Again Earns Prestigious Nursing Scholarship Funds

Dec. 6, 2010 -- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) have announced that Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, is among a select group of schools nationwide to receive nursing student scholarship awards in the amount of $10,000 each.

The College's first four recipients for the 2010-11 academic year are: Marleen Blanco, Crystal James, Eric Michaels and Rafael Rivero.

The Mount is one of 63 schools of nursing to receive scholarships this year through the foundation's New Careers in Nursing Scholarship program. This is the third year of awards, and Mount St. Mary's has received funds each year for a total of 40 student scholarships. This year, eight students in the College's accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program are receiving scholarships.

"As health reform expands coverage to 32 million Americans and new patients enter the health care system, many more nurses will be needed to meet the demands of our nation's diverse patient population," said AACN President Kathleen Potempa. "AACN applauds the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their commitment to continuing the New Careers in Nursing program, which is helping to expand and diversify the nursing workforce while developing a highly-educated cadre of entry-level nurses."

Accelerated nursing students are a good fit for these scholarships. The intensive programs prepare students to pass the licensure examine required for all RNs in as little as 12 to 18 months. Although enrollment in these programs has steadily increased, many prospective students are unable to apply since already having a college degree disqualifies them from most federal financial aid programs.

"The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding enables us to address the shortage of bachelor's degree-holding nurses," says Sarah Shealy, director of the accelerated BSN program at MSMU. "The scholarships allow our students to focus on what is most important: their studies. We are so pleased to know our students can take advantage of these funds and excel in the Mount tradition to become superior nurses in our communities."

The Mount was the first college in California to provide a BSN degree in nursing beginning in 1952, and continues to be an innovator in nursing education. Now, nearly 60 years later, the College provides five nursing degrees to help meet employment demands: the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program; the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program; the accelerated BSN program; the traditional Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program; and the ADN-MSN Bridge program.

In October, the Institute of Medicine/Robert Wood Johnson committee on the Future of Nursing recommended that a greater percentage of U.S. nurses – as much as 80 percent of the nursing workforce – should hold their BSN degree. The Mount's five programs fill the need addressed by committee co-chair Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami, that "nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression."

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