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Supporting Future Nurses with a $1 million grant at Winston-Salem State University

By Maggie Brown | April 16, 2018 | Community Health

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Blue Cross NC announced today that it is investing $1 million in Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) Division of Nursing. 

The investment is part of Blue Cross NC’s commitment to contribute $50 million toward community health initiatives in 2018 and follows North Carolina Central University and Fayetteville State University announcements

WSSU will use the investment for scholarships to address access to care and nursing shortages and to enhance the division’s technology infrastructure. 

About the Winston-Salem State University nursing program 

The WSSU Division of Nursing, part of the School of Health Sciences, is one of the nation’s premier nursing schools, offering programs at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral levels. 

In 2017, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked WSSU no. 1 in North Carolina for graduating African Americans into the fields of nursing and health professions. 

WSSU also ranked as a top 10 nursing school in the eastern United States and is ranked in the top 10 percent for value. The WSSU Division of Nursing is the third-largest producer of baccalaureate nurses in North Carolina.  

We asked a current WSSU nursing student about his experience 

Rashaun Brown, a student at WSSU, said that he went into nursing because he wanted to feel like he was making a difference in someone life. 

“And nursing allows me to do just that,” he says. “I get to see all the skills that I’ve acquired throughout life work together in harmony for the sake of monitoring, maintaining, or improving various aspects of someone’s health in a field that continues to develop on a daily basis.” 

When looking at options for nursing schools, he said the reputation of WSSU was what originally drew his attention. “I decided to challenge myself knowing that if I was accepted, that when the time came I’d be more than ready to enter the labor force with everything I needed to be a great nurse.” 

“And then discovering that it was an HBCU and learning about the importance and impact that HBCU’s continue to have in society, it honestly felt like the perfect destination for not only my education as a nurse but my maturity as I progressed into adulthood.”   

Rashuan is grateful for Blue Cross NC’s gift, particularly that it is going toward new technology for the nursing school. He says, “No matter what a person hopes to achieve in life, access to resources and current technology serve almost as a springboard in assisting someone to accomplish their goals.” 

“It’s one of the most important aspects in the numerous contributing factors to the quality of education especially in fields where people have to make potentially life-altering decisions for others.” 

Rashaun says, “WSSU has a long history of producing amazing nurses. While I was not born in North Carolina, a lot of my friends and classmates were, and most of us intend to remain here as we embark on our careers.” 

“As an African American male heading into a profession historically dominated by white females, I’m honored to be an example to not only my peers but the next generation of health care professionals, as they watch me challenge one of the oldest stereotypes.” 

[button link=””] Related Story: Winston-Salem Blue Cross NC employee reflects on her WSSU nursing education. [/button]

He continues, “Diversity in healthcare is extremely important and I’m grateful to be in the position that I’m in. I’m also thankful for all the faculty, staff, classmates, and even my patients for the lessons they’ve taught me so far, and I’m ready for the all the lessons the future holds.”   

And it sounds like Rashaun definitely has a bright future ahead of him.