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Grant allows SIUE to build diversity among nursing students

From Illinois Business Journal news services

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing student Forrest McClellan’s professional goal is to work as a registered nurse with the geriatric population. Helping support her ambitions is the school’s Student Nurse Achievement Program, also known as SNAP.

siuenursingsnap“I like to be around the geriatric population, and I find them easy to talk to,” said McClellan (left), a Freeport native and junior in the SIUE School of Nursing. “To me, SNAP is like a sisterhood/brotherhood. Nursing is a tough major, and I feel like some people need the extra support and help.”

SNAP is funded by a $997,076 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity Program. The school was awarded the second portion of the grant, worth more than $330,000, in June.

The program aims to increase the number of diverse professional nurses in the workforce by recruiting and retaining students from racially, ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

“The grant is used to help minority and disadvantaged students succeed within pre-nursing and nursing courses here at SIUE,” said Jerrica V. Amapdu, RN, director of SNAP. “Supporting minority and disadvantaged students through the nursing curriculum increases diversity in health care.”

The ongoing initiative includes tutoring, mentoring, study tables and networking opportunities. The projects population includes high school graduates in the Illinois Counties of Madison and St. Clair, along with collegiate pre-nursing students enrolled at SIUE.

“Each SNAP member has a mentor instructor,” said McClellan. “I utilized that person a lot as last semester was my hardest yet. When I was stressed out, I had that person to talk to.”

The program builds a social support system which students like McClellan will carry alongside them beyond graduation and long into their careers as healthcare providers.

“Knowing I’m not alone with my struggles as I go through the program is a major benefit,” she said. “From pep talks to study tips, being involved with SNAP has proven to be a huge support to me.”

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