The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence will reach an important milestone this fall, as the third cohort of nursing doctoral candidates in its Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program brings the program to a national scale. Launched in 2008 with six scholars in three states, the program now includes more than 200 students in nearly 85 schools across the US. It is the largest program addressing the nation’s dire shortage of nursing faculty—nursing schools turned away more than 67,000 qualified applicants in 2010 alone due to 1,000-plus faculty shortages —by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role.
The new cohort includes 142 PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) scholars representing all 50 states. The scholars will be funded through 2014 with $2 million from the Jonas Center, which the schools leveraged to raise an additional $1.5 million. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing will administer the program, bringing their vast experience and expertise in nursing leadership programs.
“Our mission is to improve healthcare through nursing, and by reaching all 50 states, we can improve healthcare for all Americans,” said Darlene Curley, Executive Director. “Enthusiastic support from our donor and education partners has made all the difference as we built this innovative way to support future nurse leaders to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs.”
This cohort also marks the beginning of two new partnerships – with the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation and The Hearst Foundations – designed to strengthen primary care capacity by training scholars to work in this under-serviced field. Together with the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation and The Hearst Foundations, the Jonas Center will fund 25 DNP scholars to serve as advanced practice nurses in primary care.
“One of our main areas of emphasis is improving health outcomes, particularly in underserved populations, which we know can be achieved through increased numbers of advanced-practice nurses providing primary care,” said Jane Blaustein, President of the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation. “We are especially excited about this opportunity to combine our knowledge and resources to broaden the impact of our work nationally in partnership with the Jonas Center.”
According to Curley, Jonas scholars will serve a vital role as the nation’s health care system is undergoing sweeping transformations.
“As health reform is enacted, the need for primary care will skyrocket at a time when there aren’t enough doctors,” said Ligia Cravo, Senior Program Officer for The Hearst Foundations. “This partnership is especially important for states where nursing is traditionally under-funded, as it will prepare these capable health professionals to step into the role of primary care practitioners. We are very enthusiastic about the potential impact of this partnership to help meet the health needs of underserved patients.”
A full list of partner colleges and universities is available on the Jonas Center’s web site. Scholars in states that don’t have doctoral nursing programs are able to study in nearby states; for example, the University of Colorado – Denver is hosting a Wyoming scholar and the University of Connecticut is working with one from Vermont.
“We wanted the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program to dramatically change the landscape of nursing education and, ultimately, the future of nursing and healthcare,” said Donald B. Jonas, co-founder. “We feel we’ve made great strides towards the first goal and look forward to the impact these remarkable men and women will have on the healthcare of future generations.”
Founded in February of 2006, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence is supported by the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund. Its mission is to advance professional nursing through grant making and programs that improve nurse recruitment and retention, increase ethnic and racial diversity among the nursing workforce, advance innovative practice models and improve practice settings in New York City.