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First RN from UM Prince George’s Hospital Center Completing Bachelor’s at UMSON through Conway Scholarship Hospital Partnership Program

February 27, 2020

Student completing Bachelor of Science in Nursing with full scholarship funded by Bill and Joanne Conway.

Baltimore, Md. – Lauren Russell, BS, RN, became the first student from the University of Maryland (UM) Prince George’s Hospital Center to take advantage of a full scholarship and enroll in the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) through its Conway Scholarship Hospital Partnership Program.

Funds for the Conway Scholarship Hospital Partnership Program, which seeks  to facilitate baccalaureate-level education for registered nurses at the UM Prince George’s Hospital Center, part of UM Capital Region Health, and at the UM Medical Center Midtown Campus, come from a transformational $10 million gift from Bill and Joanne Conway through their Bedford Falls Foundation. The Conway Scholarship covers in-state tuition, fees, books, and the cost of community college prerequisites required for admission to UMSON’s RN-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. The gift will fund Conway Scholarships for 42 registered nurses to earn their BSN degrees through the Hospital Partnership Program. 

Russell, a clinical nurse I on the Trauma Intensive Care Unit at UM Prince George’s Hospital Center, has recently begun her second semester in UMSON’s RN-to-BSN program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in community health from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2013 and an Associate Degree in Nursing from Baltimore City Community College in 2016. She becomes the second RN-to-BSN student to enroll at UMSON through the program, following a student from the UM Medical Center Midtown Campus who began the program in spring 2019.

Russell said she is excited to be continuing her education at another University of Maryland institution and hopes eventually to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist.

“Receiving the Conway Scholarship has opened so many doors for me,” Russell said. “My plan was always to go back to school, even though I knew it would be difficult to do so while working full time, and I didn’t know how I would afford it without taking out more loans. Now everything is coming together as it was meant to, and that’s an amazing feeling.”

“We are excited to welcome Lauren Russell as the first Conway Scholar from UM Prince George’s Hospital Center under our Hospital Partnership Program,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “As a clinical nurse, Ms. Russell has already demonstrated her dedication and commitment to excellent patient care. This program gives us the opportunity to support her further education, so that as a BSN-prepared nurse, she can continue to expand her role in serving our community. Ensuring a well-prepared nursing workforce is in keeping with our longstanding academic-practice partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System and the truly visionary philanthropy of the Conways.”

The Conway Scholarship Hospital Partnership Program is helping to respond to one of the central recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which seeks to increase the percentage of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level.

The Conways have pledged more than $15 million to UMSON since 2015. Their most recent gift was the largest outright scholarship gift in UMSON’s history. In addition to funding the Hospital Partnership Program, the Conways’ latest gift will fund 341 scholarships, bringing the total number of students benefiting from Conway Scholarships to more than 470.

The Conways decided several years ago that their philanthropy should help people who have demonstrated financial need to receive the education necessary to obtain jobs. Bill Conway is a founder, co-chief executive chairman, and director of the Carlyle Group in Washington, D.C. The Conways are trustees of the couple’s Bedford Falls Foundation, which has bestowed significant nursing scholarships in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,000 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.