Loyola Nursing receives $4M gift from local order of nuns 

Loyola Nursing receives $4M gift from local order of nuns 

Sisters of the Resurrection establish endowment to support scholarships for nursing students from diverse backgrounds  

A generous gift from the Sisters of the Resurrection will increase access for underrepresented students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. 

The $4 million endowment supports scholarships for students in the CARE (Collaboration, Access, Resources, and Equity) Pathway, which was created in 2021 with funding from a four-year $2.2 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant and a one-year, $170,000 grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education with the goal of increasing the recruitment of Black and Latinx students and faculty to Loyola’s BSN program.  

The CARE Pathway includes multiple support services: alumni, peer, and professional mentoring and coaching; application support and holistic admissions; and financial support for underrepresented students. A resiliency and well-being program will help students build capacity to respond well when faced with difficult and stressful situations during and beyond their nursing education.  

“This transformational gift from the Sisters of the Resurrection will allow us to sustain financial support for students in the CARE Pathway beyond the HRSA grant funding period,” says Dean Lorna Finnegan, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The CARE Pathway will be a lasting partnership between Loyola University Chicago and the Sisters of the Resurrection, demonstrating impact for many generations.” 

A distinguishing feature of the CARE Pathway is a pipeline program created in partnership with Loyola’s Arrupe College, an accessible, two-year degree program that mostly enrolls first-generation students of color from in and around the Chicago area. Through this partnership with Arrupe College, students begin their nursing foundation courses while they are enrolled in  Arrupe College and can earn their BSN in just five years. Since its creation, the CARE Pathway has enrolled 22 students and expanded beyond Arrupe College to serve other underrepresented students at Loyola. 

“Our mission is to serve those in need and treat all people with dignity and respect,” says Sister Donna Wolowicki, CR, Provincial Superior (BSN ’71, MSN ’75). “Through this endowment, we hope to continue that legacy by helping students who need financial support achieve their aspirations and live out this mission.” 

Improving diversity in the nursing workforce is a growing need both locally and nationally. According to the “Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity,” patients from diverse backgrounds have better outcomes when cared for by registered nurses of their own race or ethnicity. In Illinois, 15 percent of the population is Black, yet only nine percent of the state’s nursing workforce is Black, according to 2020 U.S. Census and Illinois Nursing Workforce Survey data. Similarly, Latinx nurses comprise only 6 percent of the state’s nursing workforce, despite accounting for 17.5 percent of the state’s population. 

In Chicago, the need for a diverse nursing workforce is even more compelling with a Black population of 30% and a Latinx population of 29%. “Creating a more diverse nursing workforce that reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of communities served is a tangible and essential step toward achieving the far-reaching goal of reducing health disparities and inequities,” says Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Lee Schmidt, PhD, RN.   

In September 2021, the Sisters of the Resurrection endowed two other scholarships for students in the BSN Program: one for students in the Pathway to the BSN from Arrupe College and another for Resurrection College Prep High School graduates.