Grant enhances nursing school

Enrollment at The School of Nursing could see an increase now that the school has acquired a $150,000 grant from the Florida Department of Education.

The grant is offered through a SUCCEED Florida grant.

Associate professor Delores Lawson said SUCCEED Florida is a “Florida university initiative sponsored by the Department of Education. The main purpose of the grant when it is given to a college is to increase the capacity of the specific undergraduate program.”

Currently, the nursing school admits 40 students into its upper division, but should increase thanks to the grant.

“We have been given permission to increase our enrollment by a total of 20 (students),” Lawson said. “That works out to 10 (students) per semester.”

Lawson said the college is working to not have the increase in enrollment impact the school negatively.

“It really has not, because the SUCCEED grant monies will allow us to hire additional personnel, to get additional supplies, allows us to do various workshops and to enhance what we have.”

To ensure that more students graduate with a degree, the school has created different programs.

“We are working to make sure that those that get in will get out, so we have a retention program,” Lawson said.

She said for the retention program, the school has hired staff to tutor students having problems with classes.

The school has also been able to create a “simulation lab,” allowing students to simulate the experience of working with patients. Lawson said the lab is a “virtual hospital that allows the students to be critiqued without causing harm to an actual patient.”

“The initial purchase of the Human Patient Simulator was done through Title III funding,” said Ruena Norman, interim dean of the School of Nursing. “The SUCCED grant this semester will help continue the use of the simulators.”

The Department of Education’s Web site described Title III as a program that helps eligible institutions become self-sustaining and enlarges their capability to help at-risk students. The program provides funds to advance the academic caliber, management and fiscal balancing within a college.

In 2007, the School of Nursing was awarded $300,000 from the SUCCEED grant. That was the maximum amount that can be awarded.

“With the lack of funds on campus, the funds allotted by the Department of Education will allow for faculty to travel and learn different things, so that they can bring the information back,” Lawson said.

Lawson said there was a deficit in regard to nurses in the country, especially in Florida.

“There is an acute need for nurses in the state,” Lawson said.

With the money that has been given to the college, the School of Nursing plans on being a major benefactor in making sure there are nurses available for the job market.