Access and Success focuses on access to the nursing school, inclusion and belonging, and success of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups. Nursing schools must critically examine the structures, policies, practices, and attitudes to ensure access, retention, and success for all faculty, students, and staff.
The design of an effective recruitment strategy should be driven by the mission of the educational institution and aligned to reflect the targeted population of potential students. Recruitment efforts and activities should be designed to improve the ability to attract a diverse population and more firmly establish a continuing pipeline of possible students. A first step to enhancing success is an active recruitment plan that does not end with admission to the university but with a successful career in nursing that reflects the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ensuring a diverse student body requires numerous strategies, both formal and informal, that will be described in this section.
How does my school define diversity?
Is there an organizational culture at my institution that actually promotes diversity?
What is your current pool of candidates both locally and nationally?
What is your program currently doing to recruit underrepresented students?
What messages do you want to convey to potential students?
How will you measure success?
Were you able to increase the amount of (a) interest in
the program and (b) accepted candidates?
Offered at all levels of education, pipeline programs are intended to target, enroll, and support to graduation those students underrepresented in the profession, including lowincome students and men, with the goal of increasing their representation in the field.
Articulation agreements between colleges and universities provide a streamlined pathway that promotes educational advancement opportunities for registered nurses. These agreements support education mobility and facilitate the seamless transfer of academic credit between associate degree (ADN) and baccalaureate (BSN) nursing programs and may include programs with progression through master’s and doctoral level programs. Typically negotiated by faculty from both types of academic institutions, these renewable agreements help to ensure equivalency between community college and university courses.
Articulation agreements among nursing education programs fall within three general categories: Mandated, Statewide, and Individual. For more infromation, view AACN's Articulation Agreements Fact Sheet.
AACN has compiled the following resources related to articulation agreements among nursing education programs:
Structured partnerships are an effective mechanism for expanding access to schools of nursing and meeting clinical needs.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Winston-Salem State University
Community Outreach and Partnerships
Service learning is an educational method that promotes community involvement and partnerships and can introduce and attract members of the community to careers in nursing.
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Dedicated funding is an effective mechanism for building a more diverse and inclusive academic nursing community. Many historically underrepresented students may face other challenges that prevent entry into nursing programs. The financial burden of nursing school’s additional clinical fees, books, uniforms, testing costs, etc. might make nursing education seem impossible. This may be especially true for those who are first generation college attendees.
Recruitment also should include attention to students who may already be on the university campus. Programs that bring pre-nursing or undeclared majors to the school of nursing are another strategy that might improve access to the nursing program by diverse students. Programs such as weekend visitation options, minority weekends, summer bridge programs, or other programs specifically targeted to diverse students are good opportunities with which to partner. If no such programs exist on the broader campus, investigate how one might be developed by the nursing unit for targeted populations.
Another area for recruitment of prospective diverse students is minority serving four-year colleges without nursing programs, such as historically black colleges and universities or colleges that serve predominantly Hispanic or Native Americans.
Word of mouth from students who have had a great experience is an excellent recruitment strategy for underrepresented students. In addition, remember to stay connected to alumni.
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Admission to nursing education programs must be designed to result in a student body that represents all areas of diversity and inclusion of individuals who are often marginalized.
Holistic review is a university or nursing program admissions strategy that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores. It is designed to help universities consider a broad range of factors reflecting the applicant’s academic readiness, contribution to the incoming class, and potential for success both in school and later as a professional. Many colleges and universities have employed a holistic admission process to assemble a diverse class of students with the background, qualities, and skills needed for success in the profession.
Schools of nursing cannot bring students into their programs without recognizing the factors that contribute to racial, socioeconomic, and gender gaps in student outcomes and then committing to supporting students in their needs. Programs and strategies to enhance success of all students within the school must be well planned, supported, and shared with prospective students as they are gaining access to nursing programs.
Be deliberate and intentional in your efforts. Pay attention to:
Academic advising may be performed in schools of nursing by professional advisors, faculty advisors, or both. The responsibilities of the academic advisor include recommending courses and scheduling, developing plans of study, personal counseling professional career counseling, and appropriate referrals.
Mentoring has come to mean someone who gives guidance, shares knowledge, and imparts wisdom. In academia, however, the term often gets diluted to refer to an advisor—someone who helps undergraduate students choose the right courses to graduate or oversees doctoral projects to completion. True mentors do much more, from serving as role models to helping incubate research projects to bringing protégés into a network of colleagues. Good mentoring takes much time and energy, yet compared with obtaining grants and publishing papers, mentoring often does not yield academic recognition.
Affinity groups are formed around a shared identity or common goal. Bringing together students with common backgrounds, interests, or orientations builds community among non-dominant groups and fosters inclusion and awareness in the broader community.
Bias as defined by the University of California San Francisco is a prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another usually in a way that is considered to be unfair. Biases may be held by an individual, group, or institution and can have negative or positive consequences. Bias may be Conscious (also known as explicit bias) or Unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias).
It is important to note that biases, conscious or unconscious, are not limited to ethnicity and race. Faculty cannot ignore bias and stereotyping and its impact on Access and Success. Bias is a natural, automatic favoring of an individual or group over another. Bias whether unintentional, implicit or explicit is automatic, associative, and adaptive and may influence the decision-making process. Bias and stereotypes may be directed toward diversity attributes, including race, ethnicity, age, gender identification, sexual orientation, and class, which in turn could affect recruitment, admissions, and retention. School of nursing leaders must acknowledge that bias exists and devote resources to ongoing faculty and staff training and development. This is especially true for implicit bias training. It is known that our implicit biases can derail our best explicitly stated intentions for fairness and equity. Faculty and staff must be aware of the detrimental effects the various forms of bias.
Additional resources and training on unconscious bias can be found here.
Source: Project Implicit
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) offers these suggestions to reduce unconscious bias in hiring and selection process:
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This section will examine recruitment, admissions, and retention as the key drivers of access and success for historically underrepresented students in school of nursing.
Click on the links below to navigate throughout the section.