Category Archives: New Jersey (NJ) NJ

Aug 14 2012

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 the first in a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.


Symonne Kennedy
Hometown: Teaneck, NJ
Rising senior at Rutgers University
Major: Psychology
Internship Research Project: The Association between Prenatal Substance Exposure and Adolescent Emotional Competence

Human Capital Blog: What’s the most surprising thing you learned during internship?

Symonne Kennedy: The most surprising thing I’ve learned in Project L/EARN is the sheer extent of the amount of work that goes into a research project and the amount of statistics it takes to do it. I’ve taken advanced research statistics, so I thought I was “big man on campus.” But no, there’s so much more to learn, and I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg.

HCB: Are there any insights about your Project L/EARN experience you’d like to share?

Kennedy: The program is really tough, it is a grueling program. They said that beforehand – it’s going to be difficult, it’s an intensive 10-week research program, and that’s exactly what it is. They said you’re not going to believe us, but when you start going through you start to feel it. For future Project L/EARN students it’s important to know that it is a lot of work but it’s very doable. The program is good preparation for what grad school’s really going to be like. It’s tough but you just have to put your mind to it. It’s very accessible, you can do it.

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Aug 6 2012

Monitoring Health Care Needs in New Jersey: Assessing the Nurse Workforce

By Jeannie P. Cimiotti, DNSc, RN, Executive Director, New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing, Associate Professor, Rutgers University College of Nursing


For decades, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has employed experts in sampling and statistical analyses in its attempt to monitor the registered nurse workforce through the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN). Though the NSSRN has been used widely to estimate the supply and demand of registered nurses nationwide, it is often criticized in that states appear to be underrepresented. 

In New Jersey for example, it was reported that less than 1 percent of our registered nurses participated in the 2008 NSSRN.  To address New Jersey’s issue of monitoring the nurse workforce, the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing (NJCCN) has instituted a number of initiatives, including three surveys developed by the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.  These surveys assess New Jersey’s supply and demand of nurses, and the educational capacity of our nursing programs.

Even before the release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which recommends an infrastructure for collection and analysis of workforce data, NJCCN was collecting data on the educational capacity (registered nurse and licensed practical nurse) of all nursing programs statewide.

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Jun 7 2012

New Website Provides Information on Nurse Faculty Careers in NJ

New Jersey nurses considering careers as nurse faculty now have a new resource—the first of its kind in the state—where they can learn more about this career option. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) last week launched “,” a website providing important resources and information about what a career as nurse faculty involves and the pathway to that career.

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 nursing students, which would exacerbate the shortage of the 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 the state.

Many faculty at New Jersey nursing schools are approaching retirement, and there are not enough people in the pipeline to fill their positions, in part because few practicing nurses have the qualifications necessary to teach. One hurdle for some is the education requirement— candidates for nurse faculty in New Jersey must hold at least a master’s degree.” provides information on what to expect as a nurse faculty member, as well as the education and skills necessary to pursue that career path. It also includes profiles of current nurse faculty and a list of nursing programs in each county in the state.

Visit “”

Learn more about the New Jersey Nursing Initiative.

May 8 2012

National Nurses Week 2012 and New Jersey

Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say. This post is by Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, interim provost for The College of New Jersey, and program director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.


The American Nurses Association theme for National Nurses Week 2012 is “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.” It emphasizes critical areas of focus for professional nursing in New Jersey and the nation that align well with the 2010 Institute of Medicine report entitled Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. National Nurses Week is an opportune time to highlight nurses and nursing and the scientifically proven contributions that our profession makes to improve health and patient care.

It is also a good time to talk about what we still need to make happen to improve health and health care. For one thing, we must continue to push for more registered nurses to earn advanced (masters and doctoral) degrees. This is essential for nursing practice, education and research. We need many more advanced practice nurses for primary and specialized care, more nurse educators to prepare nurses for the future, and more nurse scientists to continue to build the evidence for our practice and teaching.


One of the wonderful aspects of a nursing career is that nurses can have multiple careers within it and can be clinicians, teachers and researchers. We need to advocate for a better educated profession with a higher proportion of nurses having baccalaureate and higher degrees as well as advocate for healthier lifestyle opportunities for our society and for a better health care system for those we care for.

We must lead for a better future. Nurses should seek to lead, wherever they are, throughout their careers. Leading requires gaining specific and broad knowledge, taking a public position, being willing to find solutions and engaging in difficult dialogue when necessary. It also requires us to be willing to speak up inside and outside of nursing, with members of other disciplines.

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Apr 6 2012

Community Service: Reaching Out to Others to Learn More About Yourself

By Danielle Reade, BS, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) scholar at New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University, which was recently highlighted by NCIN as an exemplar of incorporating community service for scholars in the school’s accelerated degree program


I felt the pressure build as I began the one-year accelerated nursing program at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). I was fearful and thought, “How could I make it through this program in one piece?” As a recipient of an NCIN scholarship, this honor also brought a responsibility to positively represent the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through my volunteer work in the community. I wondered, “How would I be able to add this responsibility to my academic commitments?”

That fear is now a thing of the past. Over the last seven months, my community service involvement has increased from only one activity per month to two or three. It has brought me closer to my classmates, enabling me to use team synergy to make a difference in the community while growing in my academic performance.

I feel helping the community and becoming a unit with my fellow classmates is an experience I will always take with me. In the nursing profession, it is so important to work together and help others who are in need. I consider one of the lessons learned was how to work together most effectively to find a volunteer option we were all interested in accomplishing, and ensuring the group effort makes the biggest impact.

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Feb 15 2012

Why I Love Being Nurse Faculty

The following post originally appeared on the blog of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, NJNI is hosting a blog carnival featuring posts from nurse faculty, deans and New Jersey Nursing Scholars on why they love being nurse faculty. This post is by Connie Kartoz, MS, RN, FNP-BC, a New Jersey Nursing Scholar.


I bet it’s the same for you, the memories of ‘the firsts.’ The first time you inserted a catheter, the first injection, the first prescription you ever signed your name to, the first time you told a patient they had cancer, the first time you discussed hospice with a patient, the first baby you ‘caught,’ the first patient you eased through a final breath. Fear holds court in varying degrees each time I walk through a first. A voice is usually in my head, a nursing professor, guiding me with the right steps, encouraging me to be confident, yet careful and keeping the fear from impeding the task.

There have been several voices and bits of knowledge I recall throughout my career, pearls of wisdom being slowly strung into my own strand and brand of expertise. They made their mark with the humor of the tap dancing arrhythmias, the clever mnemonics for the cranial nerves, or most importantly, their demonstration of human caring toward my fellow students and me. They taught us to continue to grow and always learn, encouraging a devotion to evidenced based practice.

As I climbed those infamous rungs of the novice to expert ladder, I learned to appreciate those voices and the expert they were creating. I realized that, in addition to the joy of providing high quality-care for patients, I might also be able to become a voice for future generations of nurses. I responded to an ad for an adjunct faculty, and found another aspect to nursing I love, teaching.

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Sep 22 2011

NJ Takes Lead - School Nurses in Key Position to Combat Bullying

Tracy Perron, MSN, RN, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Nursing Scholar. Her research is on school bullying. This post originally appeared on the blog of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Click here to see the original post.


Bullying is no longer considered a “rite of passage” or “what kids do” but instead has become an increasingly serious problem that can have deadly consequences.

On September 22, 2010 Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, jumped off the George Washington Bridge, just days after his roommate allegedly took a video of his romantic encounter with a man and streamed it on the Internet. Within weeks of the teen’s death the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie formed a task force to begin the process of enacting the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. The New Jersey Senate passed the bill on November 22, 2010, just two months after Clementi’s death.

On January 6, 2011 Christie signed the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights; this is the toughest anti-bullying law in the country. The new law can charge students with criminal harassment, criminal battery, stalking and violation of civil rights.

In order to comply with the new legislation, every school will have to appoint an anti-bullying specialist, coordinator and safety team. All schools will have a parent, teacher, paraprofessional and student representative as part of the safety team. School districts will be graded by the state on how they address bullying.

Children who experience bullying have both psychological and physical symptoms. Children experiencing symptoms related to being bullied may find their way to the school nurse’s office. Sometimes, the link between the visit to the nurse and bullying are obvious, like injuries from fighting related to bullying. But sometimes it might not be so obvious; victims of bullying can exhibit a wide range of both physical and psychological symptoms including: stomach ache, feeling tense or nervous, fatigue, irritability, headaches, severe depression, and school avoidance. These youths may be looking for an escape from the hallways, playgrounds or gym class and seek refuge in the nurse’s office.

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Sep 12 2011

NJ Celebrates a Milestone: So a Nurse Will Be There For You


This post is authored by Lynn Mertz, Ph.D., deputy director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. For more information visit

While this has seemed to be a summer filled with budget cuts, earthquakes, hurricanes and droughts, New Jersey experienced its own special rainbow—the graduation of 18 RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars, as part of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative’s (NJNI) Faculty Preparation Program.

What makes these nurses so special is they pursued their advanced degrees with the intent to serve as nurse faculty in New Jersey. And they are well on their way!

A number have already been hired as nurse faculty in New Jersey schools of nursing and some are continuing on for their doctoral degrees.

This is the first cohort of scholars to graduate—there are 42 scholars still enrolled—and so we are looking forward to increasing the nurse faculty ranks in New Jersey by 60, by 2016.

We know that this just won't happen on its own—our Faculty Preparation Program has been fortunate to have benefited from the expertise of Diane Billings, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who has spearheaded the Collaborative Learning Community (CLC). The CLC offers specific workshops to enhance the Scholars’ development, but it is also serving to cultivate a community of learners and, dare I say, nurse leaders.

We have our work cut out for us, but because of the bright, talented and motivated scholars who have taken up the charge to be nurse educators, we are excited about what the future will bring. Our efforts to transform nursing education in the state, including preparing nurse faculty leaders, are focused on making our tagline a reality—“so a nurse will be there for you.”

You can read more about our scholars by going to .

The Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, includes a number of recommendations designed to increase the number of nurse faculty and encourage more nurses to get advanced degrees. Read more.

Jun 9 2011

New Blog on All Things Nursing in New Jersey

This post is authored by Lynn Mertz, Ph.D., deputy director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. For more information visit


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) is proud to announce the launch of our blog, “News & Notes on Nursing in NJ,” last week. With it, we hope to provide timely updates relating to nursing, health, education and policy both in New Jersey and beyond, as well as cultivate lively and thoughtful discussion on issues of the day through our growing team of guest bloggers. They include leaders in health and health care, academia, business and our very own RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars.

NJNI is a multi-year initiative of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation working to transform nursing education in the state and to serve as a model nationwide. Our work is centered on eliminating, or significantly reducing, the state's looming nurse faculty shortage.

We count as one of our greatest strengths the close collaboration we have established among a diverse group of stakeholders including business, philanthropy and policy-makers.

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