Breakthrough to Nursing

“Established in 1965, the mission of the Breakthrough to Nursing (BTN) project is to organize, represent, and mentor students preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses, as well as those nurses enrolled in baccalaureate completion programs, in becoming practitioners sensitive to the cultural diversity that exists in our society. The project promotes the development of the skills needed to be responsible, accountable members of the nursing profession who respect the differences and similarities between people, advocates high quality care, utilizing the principles of transcultural nursing, and facilitates the development of peer support systems, which enhance recruitment and retention within the nursing profession.”

Breona Church - Chair

Breona Church - Chair

Christine Smothers

Christine Smothers

Mary Vitullo - Ex-Officio

Mary Vitullo - Ex-Officio


The Breakthrough to Nursing Committee’s primary responsibility is that of recruitment of minorities into the OhSNA and the nursing profession. These would include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, men, non-traditional students and disadvantaged persons. We live in a diverse society, and culturally competent care is a major pillar of our professional practice, therefore providing access to minorities into the field of nursing is of major importance.


Message from Jamie Burchett, past BTN Chair 

MentorCenter Wordle

Hi my name is Jamie Burchett. I was honored to be the Breakthrough to Nursing Director for 2015-2016 and proud to represent the mission of enhancing nursing diversity throughout the field of nursing. I am a first generation college student and I started nursing school at the age of 35. There have been many times throughout the past 3 years that I have questioned my decision to attend college. Many struggles and many sleepless nights later, I was privileged enough to attend the 2015, NSNA annual conference, with the company of a great friend I met in the nursing program. At this conference, I was encouraged by the words of the many nurse guest speakers and nursing students that I met; I have never felt more inspired and awed.

Then I experienced the ASCEND program, Assuring Success and Commitment to Enhance Nursing Diversity, an internship that I applied to and was granted the summer of 2015. This was the very first year for this program and it was a great experience for me. That conference and the ASCEND internship program have completely transformed my self-expectations. My combined experiences, local, state and national, have left me with a great passion for bringing awareness of diversity and encouraging leadership to nursing students. I want to advocate for every student out there and help them reach their potential by offering the support and leadership skills they need to become the best student and the best registered nurse they can be. I believe that every student deserves the opportunity and experience that is afforded to members of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) and Ohio Student Nurses Association (OhSNA), which is why I strive to not only bring the need for diversity to light but also to inspire all student nurses to unite in the journey of leadership and personal growth that I have experienced. I feel the NSNA and the OhSNA has helped me reach my potential as a student nurse and through those organizations, I want to help others achieve their potential as students.

I believe that learning how to help each other and support each other is the first step in creating an environment that is conducive for enhancing nursing diversity. This is the basis of the program our BTN Committee has created and continues to implement. We hope to make a difference within the nursing field by starting locally and maintaining an environment that is encouraging and welcoming to all. I challenge all students to adopt the basics of this program and allow each other to be a part of change. Diversity is accepting the differences that we have and inspiring others to do the same.

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