Rivier Success and Visionary Project to enhance diversity in nursing workforce

 RSVP Welcome Reception
Rivier University welcomed Rivier Success and Visionary Project (RSVP) nursing students for summer enrichment and bridge programs on July 25. Incoming RSVP freshmen and sophomores will reside on campus for a month-long series of pre-entry workshops and activities to include academic preparation, service projects, opportunities to learn college life skills, and an introduction to the many University support systems available to them.

The Project was launched in July 2015, with federal funds from a $930,000 Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant focuses on supporting students from ethnic and racial minority groups, as well as students who are the first in their families to attend college or who qualify for a need-based Pell grant; these students are underrepresented among registered nurses. The goal is to increase the graduation rate for these students and to build a nursing workforce that reflects the growing diversity in U.S. communities. 

"Last year's Rivier Success and Visionary Project students achieved tremendous success academically and as community leaders," says Dr. Paula Williams, Dean of the Division of Nursing and Health Professions. "I'm proud to say that 100% are returning to the University for the fall semester. This is an impressive retention rate for any student population, but especially so for one that historically has a higher-than-average dropout rate."

RSVP students must meet all University admission requirements for nursing students, which are more stringent than those for students pursuing other academic majors, have demonstrated a strong work ethic, and commit to the summer enrichment program and Project's goals.

Summer housing, food, co- and extra-curricular activities are provided at no charge to RSVP students thanks to HRSA grant funds and an additional grant received from the Endowment for Health specifically supporting the summer programs. Daily academic, service and social activities familiarize students with the college community and foster community within their group. Along with strong mentoring programs, these activities help students enter the fall semester with greater confidence and an established network of support.

"The RSVP summer programs enable students to comfortably transition into the academic year," says Dr. Judith Stanford, RSVP Coordinator. "The Enrichment Program provides early exposure to college life and academics for incoming students, and the Bridge Program helps rising sophomores prepare for the challenges they'll face in the second year of the nursing program."

Rivier University offers associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in Nursing and Public Health. The Division of Nursing and Health Professions is committed to cultural diversity and global engagement for all students; the Rivier Success and Visionary Project furthers its mission to graduate culturally competent nursing professionals to serve the greater global community. For more information, visit www.rivier.edu/nursing.