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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Grant supports minority nurses

Grant supports minority nurses

In the nationwide nursing shortage, nurses from minority groups are especially hard to come by. The UA College of Nursing recently received a grant that will be used to support Hispanic and Native American students in the field.

The nearly $400,000 comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need grant. The grants provide scholarships for students pursuing the highest degrees possible in various fields.

“”We have a severe shortage of Hispanic and Native American nurses,”” said Terry Badger, professor and director of community and systems health science division in the College of Nursing. “”What it allows us to do is provide support for students who are underrepresented among nurses who have Ph.Ds.””

While Arizona’s population is 29 percent Hispanic and 5 percent Native American, only 4 percent of nurses are Hispanic and less than 1 percent are Native American, Badger said.

The grant is being used to provide fellowships to Native American and Hispanic students in the Ph.D. program. Three Hispanic students received the fellowship this year, which includes full tuition and fees as well as a stipend of up to $30,000 per year. The fellowship is renewable for up to five years.

Five students applied for the scholarship. Out of 60 students in the doctorate program, between eight and 10 were eligible, according to Badger.

Celia Besore, executive director and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, said nurses need to represent the population they serve.

“”Hispanic nurses are a very, very small minority,”” Besore said. “”The Hispanic population is growing. Hispanic nurses should be represented at least in the same proportion as the general population.””

Besore said part of this disparity is due to a lack of resources.

“”Some of it is a lack of scholarships,”” Besore said. “”Perhaps a lack of encouragement by some people.””

Shawn Murray, a graduate student in the College of Nursing, received the fellowship. Murray said she “”never really thought about”” being a minority and didn’t consider the lack of Hispanic nurses until after she applied for the scholarship.

“”I don’t really remember a lot of nurses of color or race,”” Murray said. “”I guess we are a minority.””

Murray said she is the first person in her immediate family to graduate college and the only one in her extended family to pursue nursing.

“”If I can do it, anybody can,”” Murray said. “”It’s just persistence.””

The fellowship recipients must also commit to teaching as a member of nursing faculty for four years upon graduation.

Badger said their position in academia will help attract other minority students.

“”A major barrier to increasing (the number of Native American and Hispanic nurses) is that we have a lack of faculty mentors and role models,”” Badger said.

“”Members of these groups will have a role model by having a faculty member.””

Besore said her organization provides Hispanic nursing students with mentors for the same purpose.

“”They need the encouragement,”” Besore said. “”They need to see people who are successful, and I think the numbers will change.””

Murray said she entered nursing to interact with people and wants to help others do the same.

“”I hope I do motivate people to consider it.””

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