Category Archives: New Jersey (NJ) NJ

May 13 2014
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An RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholar on Why She Wants to Be a Nurse Leader

National Nurses Week just ended, but several nurses are continuing the conversation, blogging about the reasons they aspire to leadership. Jenee Skinner-Hamler, DNP, RN, FNP, completed her master of science degree at the Rutgers School of Nursing as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) New Jersey Nursing Scholar, and received additional support from NJNI to pursue her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree at Wilkes University.

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Becoming a nurse leader permits me to give voice to help bridge theory and practice by reflecting on educational and practical learning. Nurse leaders help to shape the next generation of nurses. With that being said, why wouldn’t I desire to become a nurse leader? Having a voice helps not just myself, but others to overcome setbacks while constantly thinking of solutions in nursing.

Throughout my nursing career, I have had the opportunity to function as a team leader on a critical care unit. Functioning in such a capacity requires that I engage my co-workers, while at the same time balancing my own ambitions and competence. Nurse leaders broadcast their knowledge and skills, and then share their knowledge with their co-workers, to improve patient outcomes. To become a nurse leader, one must possess a passion for learning.

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Mar 3 2014
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New Jersey Health Initiatives is the ‘Face of the Foundation’ in New Jersey

Robert Atkins, PhD, RN, is associate professor of childhood studies and nursing at the Camden campus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and director of New Jersey Health Initiatives, a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). He is an alumnus of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars (NFS) program.

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Human Capital Blog: Congratulations on your position as director of New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI). What is RWJF’s vision for the program and for the state?

Robert Atkins: Thank you. As the largest philanthropy in the country devoted specifically to health and health care, the vast majority of Foundation resources are, of course, targeted outside of New Jersey. However, New Jersey is the Foundation’s home state. Consequently, the Foundation has a history and connection to New Jersey that is distinctly different from other states and reflected in the kinds of grants made by the Foundation that benefit individuals, communities, and institutions in New Jersey. Although NJHI is only one facet of the Foundation’s philanthropy in the state, as the only national program office of the Foundation that focuses on a state, NJHI is “the face of the Foundation in New Jersey.”

The Foundation’s vision for NJHI and its other New Jersey or “backyard” grants is that they reflect the very best of what the Foundation can do to improve health and health care. I think this tradition of meeting the Foundation’s highest standards of excellence is evident in the legacy of NJHI, and it is a tradition that I feel privileged to sustain and improve upon.

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Sep 5 2013
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Nurses on Hospital Boards – Why Is It So Important?

The Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommended that nurses be empowered and prepared to take leadership roles, becoming full partners in hospitals and other health care settings to redesign health care in the United States.

In this video, produced by the New Jersey Action Coalition, Dave Knowlton, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, and Robert Wise, president and CEO of the Hunterdon Healthcare System, talk about the importance of having nurses in leadership positions on hospital boards.

Jul 3 2013
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A New Nurse Aids Some of Those Who Lost So Much During Hurricane Sandy

Olivia Jackson is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) program. She graduated summa cum laude from Fairleigh Dickinson University's Accelerated Bachelor's Degree in Nursing program this past May. She has a BA in Biological Sciences from Rutgers University. She is currently pursuing a career in medical surgical nursing.

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The Jersey Shore is open for business this summer, and I am proud to say that I played a small part if making that happen, and helping the community that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy last year.

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, especially in New Jersey and New York. For our November volunteer project, I and several other NCIN scholars at Fairleigh Dickinson University devoted a Saturday to helping the citizens of Rockaway Beach, New York, where the storm was particularly strong.

Through online research on Newyorkcares.org, I located a bus going to the Rockaways that needed more volunteers to help assemble and distribute care packages to the people affected by Hurricane Sandy. As our bus pulled into the Rockaways, the first thing we saw is what used to be a parking lot for beachgoers. It looked like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. Mounds of debris, most of which used to be the homes of Rockaway residents, extended across the horizon. I felt a deep sense of sadness and could not even imagine how devastated these people must feel having lost everything.

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Dec 12 2012
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Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge: What’s in the Latest Issue

Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of RWJF’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research and trends relating to academic progression, leadership and other critically important nursing issues.  Here are descriptions of some of the stories in the December issue:

Nurse Heroes
In the weeks after Hurricane Sandy pummeled shores in New York and New Jersey, a number of stories surfaced about the critical role nurses played during and after the storm hit. Nurses are gaining widespread recognition for their emergency-relief work—even a nod from President Obama. But the contributions of nurses working as emergency responders is not new.  Read the story.

CDC Recognizes Nurse Leader for Groundbreaking Research on Domestic Violence
RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar program director Jacquelyn Campbell is being hailed as one of the 20 most influential researchers in injury prevention over the last 20 years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Campbell’s groundbreaking research has shown that nurses can work alongside partners in health care, law enforcement and social work to protect women from the ravages of domestic violence. The school nurse turned domestic violence prevention pioneer is the only nurse to receive the CDC’s prestigious distinction. Read the profile.

Signs of Progress in Addressing New Jersey’s Nurse Faculty Shortage
Legislators had praise and questions for the health, business and academic leaders who gathered at the State House in Trenton on Nov. 19 to provide updates on progress made so far by the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI)—a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation that is working to fill nurse faculty positions in the state. Since its inception in 2009, NJNI’s Faculty Preparation Program has supported 61 New Jersey Nursing Scholars who are pursuing (or have completed) master’s or doctoral degrees that qualify them for nurse faculty positions. Read the story.

Why Nurses Go Back to School
A new study from the RWJF RN Work Project identifies the characteristics and factors that best predict whether nurses will return to school to earn higher degrees. The researchers identified internal and external motivators, and barriers, to advancing nurses’ education.  Learn more.

See the entire December issue here. Sign up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge here.

Sep 17 2012
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Improving Nurse Education Matters to Businesses, Too

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Human Capital Blog is asking diverse experts: What is and isn’t working in health professions education today, and what changes are needed to prepare a high-functioning health and health care workforce that can meet the country’s current and emerging needs? Today’s post is by Dana Egreczky, BS, MBA, senior vice president of workforce development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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As head of workforce development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, I’ve seen a vast shift in the education levels employers expect in their employees, and nurses are no exception. It makes good sense: Nurses have more responsibilities than ever, and are caring for an increasing, and increasingly complex, patient population. They need to understand vast amounts of medical knowledge and be able to make quick, sound decisions that affect the lives of their patients.

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Certainly, all nurses play a valuable role in our health care system, but we need more nurses with baccalaureate degrees and higher to meet increasing demands and to provide higher quality, more complex care. Studies show a clear link between nurse education levels and patient outcomes.

We also need more nurses with advanced degrees to fill faculty vacancies. Our population is aging, and in increasing need of nursing services, but there aren’t enough nurse educators to train the next generation of nurses. And that does not bode well for our health—or our economy.

At the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we are doing our part to solve this problem. We have teamed up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to create the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), which is working to transform nursing education and address the nurse faculty shortage in our state.

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Sep 11 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Alison Hernandez
Hometown: North Bergen, NJ
Rising senior at Rutgers University
Major: Pharmacy
Internship Research Project: The Influence of Patient Health Perceptions on Engagement in End-of-Life Discussions

Human Capital Blog: How does your Project L/EARN experience relate to or support your educational and professional goals?

Alison Hernandez: Before Project L/EARN I did not have appreciation for research the way I do today. As a prospective clinician, I think it’s important that clinicians know about research and improving health outcomes through programs and initiatives. And if clinicians don’t know about this research that’s going on, nothing’s going to change. So it’s important that I take these lessons I’ve learned at Project L/Earn and bring it to my fellow classmates.

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Sep 5 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Stephanie Jimenez
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Rising junior at Rutgers University
Major: Sociology
Internship Research Project: Breast Cancer Survivors’ Perceptions of Quality Cancer-Related Care from Primary Care Providers

Human Capital Blog: What aspect of the Project L/EARN internship has been most helpful and why?

Stephanie Jimenez: The most helpful part of my Project L/EARN experience this summer was the guidance that I received from my mentor as well as the things I learned from my instructional staff. The feedback I gained from my presentation helped me gain perspective.

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Aug 29 2012
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Meet the New Jersey Nursing Initiative

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.

New Jersey has a staggering 10.5 percent vacancy rate for nurse faculty.

If those positions are not filled, nursing schools may have to turn away prospective students, which would exacerbate the shortage of nurses required to meet the state’s growing health care needs. That shortage could have a significant negative effect on health and health care in New Jersey.

Additionally, many faculty at New Jersey nursing schools are approaching retirement, and there are not enough people in the pipeline to fill the positions. The situation is dire, but a relatively young statewide initiative is working to change that.

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. NJNI’s goal is to increase the number of nurse faculty in the state, so there will be enough nurses to meet the health care needs of New Jersey residents.

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Since its launch at a state Senate hearing in May 2009, the initiative has prepared young nursing scholars to take on leadership roles and has brought the issue of the nurse faculty shortage to the attention of policy-makers, businesses, academia, and health and community leaders.

Its signature Faculty Preparation Program is preparing 61 RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars to become the next generation of nurse faculty in the state. Of those, at least 21 will be doctorally prepared candidates.

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Aug 27 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Brandon McDonald
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Rising Senior at the University of Rochester
Major: Public Health
Internship Research Project: Marital Status as a Predictor of Dental Health Service Utilization

Human Capital Blog: What did you expect before you arrived? How different is the reality?

Brandon McDonald: When I first arrived at Project L/EARN, I expected there’d be a sense of difficulty as well as more independent-based projects. In actuality, I realized that there’s a broader sense of structure and a bigger support system than I would have ever expected. There are different segments when the papers are due so you have [more] connections with your mentor than what I would have thought as well.

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