By Amy J.B. Knowles, MSEd
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
NYU College of Nursing
The New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) has a long
tradition of promoting and celebrating diversity in the nursing
profession, and a strong commitment to the recruitment and retention of minority students. The College, which is "in and of New York City," has as its goal to mirror the diversity of the citizens of the City through its diverse student body.
Of the currently enrolled NYUCN students in the baccalaureate nursing program, 6% are African American; 5% are Hispanic/Latino/Chicano; and .3% are Native American. In the graduate nursing programs, 16% of students are African American and 5% are Hispanic/Latino/Chicano. At the national level, 12.1% of undergraduate nursing students are African American, 5.4% are Hispanic/Latino/Chicano, and 0.7% are Native American. At the
graduate level nationally, 11.3 % of students are African American and 4.8% are Hispanic/Latino/Chicano.
NYUCN is committed to increasing diversity in the nursing profession by expanding the number of underrepresented students it enrolls, and providing these students with
academic support systems, including the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which provides pre-advisement, academic advisement, personal counseling, tutoring, and educational workshops, and NYUCN's recently created Office of Academic Advisement, led by Lesley Field, MS, RN. A native of Barbados, Ms. Field, who serves as Director of Academic Advisement, implements study programs within the College to ensure that students have the resources and tools necessary for success, and also works toward this goal in
collaboration with The Learning Center at the NYU College of Arts and Sciences. Minority
students are also encouraged to seek cultural and social activities through the University's Center for Multicultural Education and Programs (CMEP).
Recruitment activities conducted by the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions include attending the annual National Black Nurses Association Conference and the National Hispanic Nurses Association Conference. In addition, certain high schools in New York City, such as the Young Women's Leadership High School in Harlem, are targeted for minority recruitment. The Scholarship and Recruitment Officer for the College visits these high schools along with a College of Nursing faculty member to promote nursing as a profession to the
students, who are subsequently invited to the College of Nursing for College Day, where they receive information on the application process and have the opportunity to view the nursing science labs and the human simulation labs.
The staff also participates in the University's annual Diversity Open House each fall, when high school students are invited to NYU's Washington Square campus to learn first-hand about the opportunities available at NYU for minority students.
Special Programs to Alleviate US Nursing Shortage and Nurture Future Leaders
The College has recently been awarded funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to
provide 15 scholarships, of $10,000 each, to minority students who hold a baccalaureate degree and enroll in the College's 15-month accelerated program, which grants a baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing. This initiative aims to help alleviate the nation's nursing shortage by expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs. The College is committed to seeking additional scholarships of this kind for its students.
The Leadership Institute for Black Nurses is a highly successful program led by Dr. May Dobal, Assistant Professor of Nursing, and Dr. Yvonne Wesley, Adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing. The intent of the Institute, which is unique to NYU, is to prepare black nurses for positions of leadership in nursing.
Through education and mentorship, the Institute seeks to empower nurses to pursue career advancement in education, research, and administration. The fall 2008 enrollment of two graduates of the Institute in
the College's PhD program is an example of its effectiveness.
The NYU College of Nursing can claim a number of minority graduates and faculty who have gone on to become leaders in the profession, including Ms. Estelle Osborne, a
former NYUCN faculty member, and Dr. Yvonne Wesley, a graduate of the College's PhD program. Each February the College hosts the annual Estelle Osborne celebration, which honors a minority nurse leader who has made significant contributions to the profession. Recent honorees have included Jean Elizabeth Swinney, PhD, RN, Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Nursing, and Phyllis Jenkins, MA, RN, a 1969 graduate of the NYU College of Nursing.
Through these and other activities, the College of Nursing aims to motivate currently enrolled minority students to aspire to greatness in their own lives.