LCON awarded $3.24M, five-year grant

Eric Bailey II headshotThe University of Memphis’ Loewenberg College of Nursing (LCON) was awarded a $3.24M, five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant will fund a project, Supporting the Retention of Next Generation Registered Nurses (STRONG-RNs), to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and  will be led by Project Director Dr. Eric Bailey, assistant dean for Nursing Students.

LCON has a strong record of educating nurse leaders across the health care continuum. In alignment with LCON’s, University of Memphis’ (UofM) and American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s core values, LCON is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion to improve the quality of nursing education, prepare the primary care workforce and reduce health disparities locally and globally.

LCON’s 800+ full-time students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program are a diverse group—61.9 percent are disadvantaged. Among these, 62.0 percent are first generation college students; 57.0% are economically disadvantaged; 28.9 percent are educationally disadvantaged; 31.8 percent are underrepresented minorities; and 35.9% of graduates work in medically underserved communities (MUCs). The continued national shortage of nurses, lack of diversity in the nursing workforce and evidenced-based barriers to matriculation encountered by disadvantaged nursing students provide an ideal foundation for establishing the Supporting the Retention of Next Generation Registered Nurses (STRONG RNs) project. 

The purpose of STRONG RNs is to (1) increase recruitment of nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities; (2) improve retention rates of economically and environmentally disadvantaged nursing students to expand nursing workforce diversity; and (3) empower nursing graduates to seek positions in primary care and work in medically underserved communities (MUCs). To be eligible for STRONG RNs, students must be enrolled full-time in LCON’s BSN program, have financial need and come from either an economically or environmentally disadvantaged background.