Annette Bourgault and Michael Valenti from the UCF College of Nursing are on one of four research teams in the U.S. recently awarded funding to study the impact of the New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Program.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) awarded the competitive grants to four teams after reviewing more than 40 submissions. Launched in 2008, the NCIN national scholarship program was created to alleviate the nursing shortage and increase diversity of nursing professionals by awarding grants to schools with accelerated, second degree baccalaureate and master’s degree nursing programs. In its eight years of operation, the program awarded $44 million in grants that provided scholarships to 3,571 students at 130 schools of nursing, including the UCF College of Nursing.

The NCIN program compiled a large data set regarding accelerated nursing programs and students underrepresented in the profession, which will be used by the four research teams. “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is pleased to support this important research effort, which promises to enhance our understanding of how to generate the best student outcomes from accelerated learning in nursing,” said David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Findings from these studies will help guide nursing schools interested in launching high quality, sustainable programs while enhancing the learning experience of those transitioning into nursing from other fields.”

Bourgault and Valenti, both assistant professors at the college, are co-investigators on a collaborative study led by principal investigator Lovoria B. Williams, PhD, APRN-BC, FAANP, of the Augusta University College of Nursing. The team will review psychological, social and cultural factors that influence NCIN scholar success. In addition, the team will analyze institutional climates at predominantly white programs to understand perceptions of micro-aggressions of minority students.

Prior to joining UCF in 2015, Bourgault was a faculty member and interim assistant dean for assessment and development at the Augusta University College of Nursing. During her tenure at the college, Bourgault, together with Williams, received a total of $650,000 in NCIN funding and worked closely with program scholars. The college was one of five schools to receive funding for all years of the NCIN program.

Each research team will be awarded $3,000 to support their research and must seek publication of their studies by Spring 2017.

“Uncovering best practices related to accelerated nursing degrees will help to ensure the success of students entering these important pipeline programs,” said AACN board chair Juliann Sebastian, PhD, RN, FAAN. “AACN applauds the nurse researchers who were selected to leverage the NCIN data set to help identify predictors of student success in accelerated programs as well as identify essential support systems that promote student engagement and inclusive learning environments.”