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ASU granted continued funding for American Indian nursing students

October 16, 2013

The College of Nursing & Health Innovation has announced the continuation of the American Indian Students United for Nursing project (ASUN) that will fund eligible nursing students through 2016.

Started in 1990 by a grant from the Indian Health Service, the project has assisted 67 American Indian/Alaskan Native students graduate with a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing by providing academic support services, cultural engagement activities and financial assistance. The ASUN project aims to increase the number of American Indian and Alaskan Native nurses by recruiting gifted and talented students into the BSN program. The project provides scholarships to qualified students to cover the cost of tuition, books, living expenses, academic advisement and student support services. Students are also encouraged to participate in academic socialization and cultural engagement activities.

“ASUN is a point of pride for (the college) and this grant continues to celebrate and acknowledge the success of our Native American nursing students,” said Teri Pipe, dean of the College of Nursing & Health Innovation.

ASUN supports educating students to become nurses who apply evidence-based practice and principles of health care innovation, work effectively in interdisciplinary teams, deliver culturally competent/transcultural health care, understand health disparities among rural and urban American Indians and Alaskan Natives, and demonstrate leadership-related competencies.

The overall outcome of the project is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for 10 American Indian/Alaskan Native students to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. During the three-year project, 14 students will be funded as ASUN Scholars and 11 students will graduate with nursing degrees.

“We’ve all become attached to this project and worked hard to elevate its impact to the level it is at now,” Brenda Morris, associate dean for academic affairs said. “Students significantly benefit from ASUN and it has helped increase the number of American Indian and Alaskan Native students entering the nursing profession.”

Nursing student Myra Joe is one of the students benefitting from the ASUN project. “I am very fortunate to have found the ASUN program. Without it, I would not have come this far in the program,” Joe said. “The assistance and advising the project provides helps alleviate a lot of the stress associated with tuition, advisement and school work.”

As part of the project, students have a service obligation to the Indian Health Service or tribes within the United States upon graduation; something students say has been instrumental in preparing them for their future careers.

“Through the ASUN program I was able to attend a nursing research conference, which made me feel much more at ease about graduating and then going directly into my field,” Joe said. “Without ASUN, I know I would not have come this far in such a short amount of time and, because of their assistance, I am on track to graduate with my BSN in May 2014.”

Learn more about the ASUN project:

Written by Shannon Murray

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