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The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has received a big boost in its mission of preparing highly skilled nurses to meet a growing demand. The college has received a $50,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. This funding arrives as new numbers show a growing deficit of nurses in the state.

The funding will help pay for five students who meet certain criteria—they are making a career switch to nursing and are underrepresented in the field.

“These scholarships will support a well-educated, diverse nursing workforce that will provide safe, quality care for our citizens,” Dean Victoria Niederhauser said. “NCIN is helping to fill the nursing pipeline with capable, culturally competent nurses.”

The grant comes on the heels of numbers released by UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research which predict an increasing deficit of registered nurses as the decade progresses, culminating in a shortage of 14,910 RNs in 2020 in Tennessee.

“Nurses are needed now more than ever as the baby boomer population ages,” said Dean Niederhauser. “Yet, we are losing nurses because we lack funding and faculty to educate them. Grants like this one help tackle this challenge.”

The grant will provide five $10,000 scholarships to accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree students who are either underrepresented in nursing or from a disadvantaged background for the 2012-13 academic year. The accelerated program enables students with a bachelor’s degree in another field to complete the bachelor’s degree in a year of full-time study. Students are then eligible to take the National Registered Nurse licensure examination.

The scholarship recipients will participate in a yearlong mentoring program where they will work to develop leadership skills related to self-knowledge, strategic vision, risk-taking and creativity, interpersonal and communication effectiveness, and inspiring and leading change. With this grant, the college has increased enrollment the program by 50 percent for the fall with a total of twenty-four students.

The New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Scholarship Program was launched in 2008 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to expand enrollment in accelerated degree programs in schools of nursing while increasing diversity in the nursing workforce. Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 2,717 scholarships to students at more than 100 unique nursing schools. This year, funding for 400 scholarships was granted to 55 schools.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing our country. For more information, visit

UT’s College of Nursing is a nationally recognized leader in nursing education. The college enrolls more than 600 students in undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs. For more information, visit

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,