The University of South Alabama’s College of Nursing has received a $1.9 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to increase diversity among the nursing workforce. Increasing diversity in nursing is part of a general effort to increase diversity in healthcare overall.
Racial and ethnic minorities are vastly underrepresented in the Nursing population. In Alabama, 75% of nursing graduates identified as white, while Black, Latino and Asian populations were underrepresented. Since research shows that a diverse healthcare workforce improves patient outcomes, this is important. Grants like this can help affect the healthcare profession as a whole.
Specifically, this grant will fund an initiative called the EMPOWER project. This initiative will have two initial purposes:
- To advance South Alabama’s goal of educating a more diverse nursing workforce
- Focusing on reducing the health care disparities in underserved communities
“We are very excited to receive this significant funding to start the EMPOWER project,” said Dr. Shanda Scott, The College of Nursing’s EMPOWER Project Director. “We plan to recruit, retain and graduate undergraduate nursing students from underrepresented backgrounds that will one day serve rural and underserved populations. We are striving to increase the number of minority students entering the nursing workforce. Understanding the needs of diverse student populations is critical for student retention through graduation.”
Increasing Diversity In Nursing To Help Patients Thrive
So, how will the EMPOWER project work?
EMPOWER will focus on recruitment, retention, and helping to graduate nursing students from diverse and underrepresented communities.
A focus on more diversity among nursing graduates and healthcare, in general, seems to point to better outcomes for patients. And it’s more than just better health outcomes. Research presented in the Journal of the National Medical Association, points to three benefits of a more diverse healthcare workforce:
- Better paitent outcomes
- Increased innovation in healthcare
- Better financial outcomes
The EMPOWER project’s first cohort will include 10 traditional Bachelor in Science Nursing (BSN) students. Over a four-year period, this grant funding will aid 100 students to go through this program. Grant recipients will receive a scholarship that covers tuition, books, and fees, as well as a monthly stipend for food and gas.
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