Promoting Inclusion of Diverse Students into Nursing Education for Leadership Development

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 11:40 AM

Sharon Elizabeth Metcalfe, EdD, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, USA


The purpose of the Nursing Network: Careers and Technology Program as authorized in Title VIII, Section 821 of the Public Health Service Act is to increase nursing education leadership opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (including racial and ethnic minorities under-represented among registered nurses). The NN-CAT (Nursing Network-Nursing Careers and Technology) program is designed to provide student stipends, scholarships, and opportunities for mentorship through three innovative sub-programs focusing upon increasing cultural inclusivity in nursing education.


Methods/Clinical Research Expertise Area/Pedagogy:


The NN-CAT Mentoring Program was established in 2013 at Western Carolina University whose faculty were concerned about the shortage of a diversity of nursing students and nurses in the Western North Carolina region.  The nursing mentoring program was established to provide individualized nursing mentors to guide minority and rural students to success in their pursuit to enter nursing school and become future nursing leaders in practice.  The nursing mentoring program provides nursing mentors from both the community as well as the School of Nursing. Mentors are university prepared nurses that are trained to provide comprehensive individualized mentoring to prenursing students from rural counties in Western North Carolina.

The second NN-CAT sub-program is the WCU School of Nursing (SON) and the MedCat Academy Program of Wake Forest University which partners to offer a summer collaborative in exploring health careers to promote academic success. The program features enhanced science preparation for high school students preparing to enter nursing school. The focus is upon encouraging students from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds to pursue nursing and strive to become leaders for their profession.

The third NN-CAT sub-program consists of an enriched virtual Second Life science curriculum that is being developed by both the IT department of WCU and the science teachers in Cherokee, Graham, Swain, and Jackson counties and the Cherokee Indian Qualla Boundary. The purpose is to increase interest in both science and the nursing profession for high school students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The program strives to increase the leadership goals of young students who are completing high school and hoping to enter college.



Preliminary educational program progress and results will be presented for each of the three programs.  The three programs are individual educational research studies that have been funded by the HRSA division of the nursing government.



Preliminary conclusions and recommendations based upon the progress of the three programs will be presented to the participants. Recommendations for other educators will be presented to help foster similar programs with the overarching goal to increase inclusion of diverse students both into applying and being accepted into nursing schools, as well as increasing the multicultural heritage of nurses entering the profession for future leadership development.