UB Nursing Grad Wins National Scholarship

Scholarship program complements UB efforts to confront nursing shortage

By Lois Baker

Release Date: March 13, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sara Rivera-Riemer of Tonawanda, a 2003 graduate of the University at Buffalo's School of Nursing, is one of five persons selected to receive a 3-year, $75,000 scholarship to complete doctoral training in nursing at UB.

The new national award program was launched last fall by Monster Healthcare and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to address the growing nursing shortage by increasing the number of nurse educators needed to enable entry-level nursing programs to admit more students.

AACN received a total of 36 completed applications for the five awards.

Rivera-Riemer holds a master's degree from UB as a pediatric nurse practitioner and currently works as a pediatric neurosurgery nurse practitioner at Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo.

"We are very proud that Sara was one of the first five winners of this national scholarship," said Jean Brown, Ph.D., UB professor of nursing, nutrition and rehabilitation science and acting dean of the UB nursing school. "As a graduate of our baccalaureate and master's programs, we know she will be an excellent teacher, scholar and leader in nursing after completing her doctoral study."  

In announcing the scholarship winners, AACN President Jean E. Bartels said: "All efforts to address the shortage of nurses in the U.S. will fail unless we focus on increasing the supply of faculty needed to prepare new nurses. Last year, AACN found that more than 32,000 qualified students were turned away from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs due largely to a faculty shortage."

The UB nursing school in the past three years has undertaken several efforts on its own to address the shortage of nursing faculty and nursing graduates. It added a doctoral program in 2005 to its long- standing Doctor of Nursing Science program. The doctoral program is focused on producing faculty nurse researchers for careers in academia.

The nursing school launched a fast-track degree program in 2004 that allows persons who hold a bachelor's degree in another field to receive a bachelor of science in nursing in 12 months. The primary goal of the program, called the Accelerated Bachelor's of Science in Nursing Option for Second-Degree Students, is to prepare well-qualified registered nurses to enter the workforce in the most expeditious manner possible.

The first graduating class of 16 students completed the program in 2005. Eighteen students currently are enrolled in the program, all of whom are expected to graduate in May 2006. Twenty students already have been selected to begin the program in May. The program is a partnership with the Catholic Health and Kaleida Health Systems in Buffalo.

Yvonne Scherer, Ed.D., associate professor of nursing, received a $1 million, 3-year grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in 2003 to support new academic programs aimed at alleviating the chronic shortage of skilled nurses and nursing faculty.

The AANC scholarship program stipulates that students use the scholarship money to help cover living expenses so they can attend school full-time. After graduation, recipients are expected to teach at a nursing school for a minimum of one year for every year they received scholarship monies.