Nursing senior Myra Joe had heard stories about nurses assessing patients’ health, but she could never fully imagine herself in a doctor’s office performing that very task. She had also heard stories about students who could not afford schooling to become those nurses.
Today, she said she has hope and motivation to continue aspiring toward her life-long dream of becoming a registered nurse.
The College of Nursing and Health Innovation announced last week its decision to continue the American Indian Students United for Nursing Project. The project will fund eligible nursing students through 2016.
Joe said the program has guided her through her schooling.
“Without it, I would not have come this far in the program,” she said. “The assistance and advising the project provides helps alleviate a lot of the stress associated with tuition, advisement and school work.”
Joe said that ASUN has been a tremendous guide to her path toward graduation.
“Without ASUN, I know I would not have come this far in such a short amount of time and, because of their assistance, I am on track to graduate with my BSN in May 2014,” she said.
ASUN has helped her find a niche at ASU, Joe said.
“I was nervous and intimidated by the size and coursework at the University, but ASUN offers assistance and support in so many ways,” she said.
The project provides students with a nurse mentor, evidence-based practice tutor, a nurse elder and support from program coordinators and administrators.
Joe said the support offered by ASUN has been extremely beneficial.
“The support and assistance provided by ASUN is immeasurable, and I am grateful for their support,” she said.
Started by a grant from the Indian Health Service in 1990, the program has aided 67 American Indian/Alaskan Native students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. ASUN provides qualified students with scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, books and living expenses, academic advisement, peer mentoring and student services.
The program also aids students in finding job opportunities and notifies them when either a job or internship is available.
The goal of the project is to provide educational opportunities for 10 American Indian/Alaskan Native students to earn a degree in nursing. During the program, 14 students will be funded as ASUN scholars, and 11 students will graduate with nursing degrees.
Teri Pipe, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, said both students and the community benefit from ASUN.
“After graduating with their nursing degree, alumni fulfill a service commitment with the Indian Health Service, with many going on to leadership positions,” Pipe said. “ASUN students have been extremely successful in passing their NCLEX exams, the entrance exams required for RN licensure and one of our programmatic metrics of success.”
National Council Licensure Examination is an exam for the licensing of nurses in the U.S. After graduating from a school of nursing, taking the NCLEX exam is required to receive a nursing license. A nursing license gives an individual the permission to practice nursing, granted by the state where he or she met the requirements.
Pipe also said the program is a point of pride for both ASU and the College.
“We are very proud of and grateful for the renewed funding commitment to this important aspect of our college and ASU,” she said.
The project seeks to recruit gifted and talented students into the BSN program, Pipe said.
“Students are also encouraged to participate in academic socialization and cultural engagement activities,” Pipe said.
Brenda Morris, associate dean for academic affairs at the nursing college, said the funding will aid a handful of students.
“The continuation of funding will allow us to provide academic and financial support for approximately 14 students over the next three years,” she said.
Morris also stressed the impact of the decision to continue funding the program.
“The program is very important to ASU and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, as it provides us with funding that can be used to increase the recruitment and retention of American Indian/Alaskan Native nursing students,” she said.
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