During the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) 2020 Inaugural Diversity Symposium, Dr. Eric Bailey II, assistant dean for nursing students, presented the Loewenberg College of Nursing’s (LCON) project Supporting the Retention of Next Generation Registered Nurses (STRONG-RNs). Held online, Dec. 2-3, the symposium is designed for individuals with an interest and focus on advancing diversity and creating more inclusive learning environments. Because inclusive excellence embodies both quality and diversity, AACN is placing emphasis on the need for assessing and carrying out a comprehensive process for preparing a more diverse nursing workforce to provide high-quality care, which is critical to addressing healthcare disparities and health inequities.
STRONG-RNs, led by Project Director Dr. Bailey, was funded thanks to a $3.24M, five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 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.
The purpose of the presentation was to discuss the strategies that will be used to 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).