VNA Foundation began our scholarship program in the fall of 2005, awarding our first grants to the Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing programs at Rush and Loyola Universities. We chose to support students in the ABSN programs because we felt that the students had made very purposeful decisions to return to school to study nursing, and because these unique candidates would be prepared to enter a career in nursing at an accelerated rate — usually ready to sit for their RN licensure within one year.
The goals of our scholarship program were two-fold: first, to encourage qualified candidates, who might otherwise not attend nursing school due to financial considerations, to apply to the ABSN programs; and second, to support and promote community nursing services to the underserved, by requiring scholarship recipients to practice in a Chicago-area community- or home-based setting for at least two years after graduation.
Following the success of the first scholarship year, the VNA Foundation Board committed to fund awards to Rush and Loyola for nursing scholarships through the 2009-2010 academic year, for a total of five years. Two years ago, Rush College of Nursing discontinued its ABSN program and implemented a Generalist Entry Master (GEM) of Science in Nursing program with a focus on clinical leadership. VNA Foundation agreed to continue its support for Rush nursing students, and subsequently, three GEM students have received VNA Foundation scholarships in support of their education.
Over the five year period, VNA Foundation’s scholarship program has awarded a total of $369,100 to Loyola and Rush to support eleven nursing scholarships. And, as a result of their post-scholarship commitment to service, by the time the last scholarship is completed, underserved communities in Chicago will have received twenty-three years of nursing services from these well-prepared and dedicated young people.
Below are links to more information about the scholarships and the recipients of the scholarships: