Planting the Seed: Identifying, Developing and Nurturing Diverse Student Nurse Populations

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:00 AM

Ann Gakumo, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA


The primary goal of the Enrichment Academy for Nursing Success (EANS) program is to increase the number of baccalaureate prepared RNs from educationally and economically disadvantaged and underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds by recruiting and enrolling pre-nursing students, associate degree nurses, and BSN nursing students and supporting them to matriculate and graduate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing (UABSON).

Needs Assessment:  Minorities comprise 32 percent of Alabama’s population, but only 16.7 percent of the nursing workforce in the state.  Moreover, Alabama’s state ranking of 44th in high school graduation further compounds its health disparities and workforce problems.  Educationally and economically disadvantaged and minority students often enter college academically and psychosocially unprepared.  For this reason, the EANS program was created to provide a high level of intensive intervention in providing social, behavioral and academic support to students from diverse backgrounds and assisting them in earning their BSN degrees.  Once students graduate with a BSN, they will increase the diversity of the BSN workforce and can pursue advanced nursing education to impact quality and access to care.             

Preparing students:  The presenter will discuss opportunities provided for disadvantaged and minority high school and college pre-nursing students to learn about professional nursing as a career.  EANS faculty and staff collaborated with high school programs to aid in strengthening math and science skills through early academic advisement and active participation in health science programs.  Once entering the university, disadvantaged and minority pre-nursing majors are given an opportunity twice a year to apply to the program.  This phase of the program further assists in the development of study skills, coping successfully with college life and its expectations, and acquisition of the necessary pre-requisites that will lead to admission to the UABSON BSN program.  Once admitted, students continue with faculty mentoring in the retention program designed to support successful matriculation.


Strategies implemented:  The presenter will share examples of strategies used to enhance student preparedness and retention throughout the various components of the program.  Strategies included targeted outreach efforts to high schools, faculty support and mentoring, quantitative assessment and evaluation measures and tools to monitor student progress, networking opportunities, classroom observation experiences, and stipend and scholarship retention efforts.