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Rounds With Leadership: Building a Solid Foundation

Published December 22, 2020

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

December 23, 2020 - Building a Solid Foundation

Though 2020 has been a year marked by astonishing challenges and unexpected struggles, we still have much to celebrate. The pandemic has ushered in a period of unprecedented change and innovation across all sectors of the economy, including higher education. Nurse educators have shown incredible courage and leadership as they have successfully adapted their programs to ensure that nursing students could finish their education and join the fight against COVID-19.

The need to quickly pivot and mobilize in response to the coronavirus has illustrated the importance of having a closely connected academic nursing community. Schools across the country are collaborating to help overcome challenges by sharing strategies, contingency plans, and exemplars on how to sustain quality nursing education programs given these extraordinary times.

Our mettle was tested this year, yet together we persevered and thrived.

As we look back on where we had an impact, AACN is grateful to all those who helped make the newly launched Foundation for Academic Nursing a great success. Guided by an advisory committee with education, corporate, and philanthropic leaders, the foundation serves as the focal point for supporting AACN’s mission and the needs of the community we serve. Through contributions to the foundation, we offered much needed relief to students impacted by COVID-19, support to nursing faculty studying disaster planning and competency-based education, and a new mechanism to shape future nurse leaders.

In its first year, the foundation introduced a variety of new programs, including:

  • COVID-19 Nursing Student Support Fund, which distributed $500 scholarships to 158 nursing students facing hardships linked to the pandemic. Since the program’s launch in April 2020, the Foundation has received almost 8,000 applications for funding from students in need across all 50 states. See the gallery of scholarship recipients posted on the web.
  • AACN Faculty Scholars Grant Program, which provides support to nurse educators whose scholarly activities reflect AACN’s strategic priorities. Through this initiative, the foundation will grant a total of $100,000 in funding through 2022. With $50,000 dispensed this year, 104 applications were received from faculty seeking to advance nursing science.

  • Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader Scholarship, which is funded by Liaison International to support graduate nursing students at schools affiliated with NursingCAS, the nation’s centralized application service. In addition to support for educational expenses, funded students will participate in a customized leadership development experience at AACN’s offices in Washington, DC. Two $3,500 scholarships were awarded in 2020.
  • Hurst Reviews-AACN Scholarship, which was launched to support entry-level nursing students at AACN member schools. Through this program, one $2,500 scholarship will be awarded at the start of the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms each year.

AACN extends a hearty thank you to the 150 nursing schools and organizations that contributed to our Faculty Scholars program and the 21 individual donors who made our scholarship programs a resounding success. We are looking forward to continuing this momentum in 2021.

Click here to find out more about contributing to the Foundation for Academic Nursing.

As we look forward to the return of more daylight and the hope that comes with the start of a New Year, we wish you health, safety, and wellness.

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