|Nursing programs for American Indian students renewed|
The College of Nursing grants to support American Indian students have been renewed by the federal Health Resources Services Administration.
The Recruitment and Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) Program has been renewed through 2008 and the Working for Indian Nurse Development (WIND) grant has been renewed through 2010. Funding for these two grants totals $1,426,742.
“These grants are critical to the support we provide our American Indian students,” said Chandice Covington, dean of nursing. “Without this support, our programs would not be here to support student success.” The RAIN program currently works with 60 students, both pre-nursing and students enrolled into the nursing program.
The program is designed to provide an accepting and supportive environment to promote a sense of belonging for American Indian students at the College of Nursing. Academic monitoring, supportive advisement and mentoring in nursing, writing and science are a few of the many services available to students. At the beginning of the fall semester, students are invited to a week-long orientation to become acclimated to the UND campus and the additional services it offers students.
The continued funding will allow the program to expand services to more students as well as producing a promotional DVD. The video will feature the RAIN program, along with similar programs across the country, to showcase their work and inform American Indians of the services they offer.
Deb Wilson, RAIN program coordinator, shares that “it's wonderful to know federal agencies believe in what we are doing and provide the financial support needed to help with nursing shortages in Indian Country throughout the nation.”
The overall vacancy rate for RNs in the Indian Health Service is approximately 14 percent, ranging from 2 percent in the Portland, Ore., area to 26 percent in the Navajo Area. Many Indian health facilities are in rural or isolated locations with limited staff, limited nursing support, and small numbers of patients. Many sites require nurses to function immediately almost independently in any setting within the facility, whether it is inpatient, outpatient, emergency room, or obstetrics.
Since its inception in 1990, the RAIN program has provided support and graduated 120 nurses at the baccalaureate level, BSN degree (from 1973-1990 only 19 American Indians graduated with a BSN). Twenty-nine BSN graduates have gone on to complete a master’s degree and 20 percent of master’s graduates have pursued a Ph.D. UND currently has its first three American Indian nursing students enrolled in its Ph.D. program.
-- Becky Cournia, Alumni & Development Coordinator, College of Nursing, email@example.com, 777-4526