The University of Alabama (UA) Capstone College of Nursing recently received a $1.7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity Program to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared Latino nurses.

With help from the grant, the university will target and recruit 80 Latino associate degree registered nurses to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through the College of Nursing’s online RN-BSN program as part of the Bama-Latino Project.

Dr. Norma Cuellar, UA professor of nursing, tells the Ledger-Enquirer: “Right now, the RN population is made up of 83 percent white/Caucasian nurses who are caring for a very diverse population. While we teach our students about cultural sensitivity, we know that many times when people are being cared for by someone who is not like them, there is a barrier that may impact health care outcomes. Sometimes it’s communication, sometimes it’s cultural. Both can pose a problem in delivered health care.”

Latinos make up 17.3 percent of the US population, but fewer than 5 percent of US nurses are Latino according to UA News. Latinos aren’t pursuing nursing because many do not receive the academic support they need in junior and high school in addition to financial barriers that keep them from pursuing higher education. UA hopes that once students in the Bama-Latino Project complete their bachelor’s degrees in nursing they will continue to pursue masters and doctoral nursing degrees.

To learn more about the Bama-Latino Project, visit here.

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