Nursing efforts to be recognized as a STEM field

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Philadelphia Inquirer 4/30/24

These two Philly-area nurses are on a mission to get nursing recognized as a STEM field

Marion Leary from Penn and Rebecca Love from Villanova are the co-chairs of the Nursing is STEM Coalition.


Two nursing professors from the Philadelphia area are leading a national coalition seeking to convince federal agencies to recognize their field as a science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, profession.

Nurses currently lack such recognition from most government agencies, which prevents them from accessing millions of dollars in grants for STEM-specific research and other opportunities like the White House's $1.2 billion investment in STEM in 2022.

Marion Leary and Rebecca Love, who cochair the Nursing is STEM Coalition, will submit a petition letter at the end of April asking the Department of Homeland Security to designate nursing a STEM profession.

DHS is the first target of their campaign for universal recognition among federal agencies. Currently, only some agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, recognize nursing as STEM....

Why is STEM important?

STEM professions have benefited from priority status by funders and government agencies over the past decade. For example, DHS allows foreign students to stay longer in the U.S. after graduation if they obtained a STEM degree. And the National Science Foundation sets aside millions of dollar in grants every year for STEM professionals....

Leary and Love heard stories from nurses who had to return grants, or lost fellowship opportunities, because their degrees aren't considered STEM. The impacts extend to nurses with doctorate degrees like Leary, whose research is based in statistics....

Per Nursing is STEM:

Nursing is STEM is a national coalition founded in 2023 aimed at having the academic and professional discipline adopted broadly by educators, policy makers, healthcare providers, and the public domain as STEM designated to accelerate the growth of the professional workforce

"Nursing fits squarely within the definition of STEM.  Categorizing Nursing a STEM field additionally helps rectify a long-standing perception that women are not pursuing rigorous math and science fields. More women graduate with nursing degrees than the next 30 STEM-coded degrees combined. (IPEDS)

Nurses utilize scientific principles, mathematical concepts, and cutting-edge technology to conduct assessments, make diagnoses, and plan the care of patients. They employ evidence-based interventions to address illnesses, sustain human life, and, ultimately, assess the outcomes of the care delivered to patients."

JOIN THE COALITION  to move this effort forward  -link bottom of page.

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