This fall, 24 juniors and seniors pursuing a BSN were selected as Prisma Scholars, with each receiving a $2,500 award. Prisma Health will also offer employment opportunities to interested graduating seniors, and provide internships to those who are still students.Prisma’s gift seeks to increase the pipeline of skilled nurses in South Carolina, which is anticipated to have the fourth highest nursing shortage in the nation by 2030, according to data compiled by RegisteredNursing.org.Dr. Shirleatha Lee, dean of MBCON, said the partnership is a win for students and the region. “There are a lot of facilities and clinical sites that need nurses right now,” Lee said. “Being able to make that transition into practice much easier and more streamlined is a benefit to not only the student but also the facility.”
Additionally, she said, “The scholarships help support student success and progression toward degree completion because they allow students to work less and focus more on their education.”
While a portion of the grant will be used on immediate scholarships, the majority has been set aside to grow an endowment for future aid. The gift also provides funding for a recruiter/liaison who will help recruit students for the BSN program and provide information about career opportunities available at Prisma Health.
For students who already have an interest in working with Prisma, the partnership will help them connect early with the health care system, and take advantage of internships, shadowing experiences, and NCLEX support, Lee said.
“As students graduate, it ensures they feel more comfortable. And when you are more comfortable, and more connected to the facility, your likelihood of staying there increases,” she said.
Akira Salley, a USC Upstate senior who will graduate in May, said the grant has ensured she stays on track this year. In addition to helping her cover her rent and her travel expenses between Spartanburg and Prisma Health in Greenville, where she is doing her clinicals, the grant will also help her purchase NCLEX study guides and attend prep classes. After graduation, Salley hopes to work as an ICU nurse or further her education and become a certified registered nurse anesthetist in the Prisma system.
“I had medical problems myself and seeing how the nurses helped me get through that made me want to become a nurse,” she said. “I want to make a difference in the people of color community, because everyone should receive the same good quality of treatment.”