For Chayna Hardy-Taylor, the second time’s the charm.
It was while earning her first degree and launching a career in healthcare administration that she uncovered her true passion: patient care.
“I received my first bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgetown College in Kentucky, and was focused on working in hospital administration,” said Hardy-Taylor, a Trenton resident. “While I was pursuing that degree, I worked for an on-campus clinic and a local doctor’s office where I fell in love with direct patient care.”
Rather than change her major, Hardy-Taylor completed her studies while searching for the right accelerated nursing degree program. In late 2014, she applied and was admitted to the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing’s Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program. Hardy-Taylor also earned one of the school’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) scholarships and explained that the financial support was essential in completing the program.
“Since this is my second bachelor’s degree, I did not qualify for grants to fund my education,” she said. “So any financial assistance I receive gets me closer to my goal of becoming a registered nurse.”
Hardy-Taylor grew up witnessing the love her mother, a local registered nurse, had for the profession.
“I grew up watching her work and saw the enthusiasm she had in caring for her patients,” she said. “Through her, I learned that the relationship established between a nurse and patient can make the difference in their recovery.”
The Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN Program is a 12-month, intensive academic journey for RN-hopefuls who already possess a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. On-campus classes, online course work and clinical experiences at Capital Health in Mercer County make up their curriculum.
“The scholarship funding allows me to focus on my education without having to worry about how I’m going to repay my loans,” said Hardy-Taylor, who is interested in earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree so that she can become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
“My goal is to become a nurse practitioner in the family practice specialty focusing on all stages of child development. I also plan on earning my master’s degree to become a nurse educator. I would like to assist others who are planning on becoming RNs in the same way that nurse educators are helping me now.”
The scholarship support also improves the college’s ability to attract students of Hardy-Taylor’s caliber to the program.
“Our ability to recruit and retain students like Chayna is priority in our program,” said Dr. Filomela Marshall, dean of the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing at the college. “Help from supporters like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ensure we have the ability to attract these students and lessens the burden of cost for them.”
Hardy-Taylor joined other NCIN scholars on April 25 at the NCIN Northeast Regional Scholars Network Leadership Conference, which was hosted for the first time by Thomas Edison State University and attracted more than 100 people.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, every NCIN scholar has already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and is making a transition to the field of nursing through accelerated programs like the one at Thomas Edison State University.
NCIN funding is awarded with the objective of increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce and assisting schools in making their institutions more inclusive. The program also promotes leadership development and provides mentoring to scholars.