Clinical Nurse Leader Students Surprised with Scholarships

Aug. 4, 2009 — Imagine sitting in a classroom one afternoon, expecting an ordinary class session. Suddenly the door swings open and the front of the classroom fills with new faces, flowers and balloons.

This is exactly what happened to 21 students in the Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. The surprise did not stop with balloons; each student was informed that they will receive a $2,000 scholarship to be applied to their summer tuition.

The Roy R. Charles Charitable Trust gave $46,000 for the surprise scholarships, which were presented by Tom Johnson, trust president at the investment firm Morgan Keegan. The trust has previously provided endowed scholarship and fellowship support to the School of Nursing. The funds will provide $2,000 to each of the 21 Clinical Nurse Leader students who are slated to graduate later this summer, with $4,000 to be held until next year for similar purposes.

The students are pursuing a master's degree in nursing through a 24-month, full-time program. The curriculum prepares people with undergraduate or graduate degrees in other disciplines to become registered nurses who provide direct patient care and who lead at the point of care.

The Clinical Nurse Leader program takes into account students' educational, career and life experiences, as well as their critical thinking ability and maturity as they prepare to become a leader in nursing and health care. Each student is a nursing generalist, prepared to provide direct care at the unit level, in an inpatient hospital unit, an outpatient environment or in a public or community health setting.

Johnson, a former Air Force medic and an emergency medical technician, said this experience inspired great respect for the nursing profession. He also offered to mentor the students.

About the University of Virginia School of Nursing

The University of Virginia School of Nursing stands among the top 5 percent in the nation, ranked 19th by U.S. News & World Report magazine. Two of its graduate programs are currently listed in the U.S. News Top 10. With a vigorous research program that includes studies in rural health care and disparities, oncology, gerontology, complementary therapies and nursing history, the school has implemented new programs and strategies to address the national nursing shortage and the concurrent need for more highly educated nurses to deliver increasingly complex health care. The newly opened Claude Moore Nursing Education Building and upcoming renovation of McLeod Hall allow for an enrollment increase and expansion of the Clinical Simulation Learning Center and the Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry. Dean and Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing Dorrie Fontaine, is a past president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. For information about the School of Nursing and its programs, visit

— By Kelsey Schum