RWJF Launches National Program to Build Next Generation of Academic Nurse Leaders

    • January 9, 2008

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced a new scholars program to develop the next generation of nurse leaders in academia and boost the stature of junior faculty in nursing schools. The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program will provide $28 million over the next five years to outstanding junior nursing faculty to help them advance in their fields and seek faculty positions earlier in their careers by providing mentorship, leadership training, salary and research support.

Despite a rise in applicants, nursing schools around the U.S. turn away thousands of prospective students from baccalaureate and masters programs because of an acute shortage of faculty and clinical preceptors, training sites, space and funding constraints. Since the stature of nursing schools and the promotion of nursing faculty are dependent on the quality of the nursing faculty's scholarly and/or research pursuits, the Nurse Faculty Scholars program will work to strengthen the link between institutional reputation and faculty success by providing career development and other opportunities for outstanding junior faculty.

Scholars will be given opportunities to develop a research program and other scholarly activities; work closely with institutional and national mentors; participate in leadership training; and network with scholars, experts and colleagues in their field and other related fields. Scholars also will be able to gain much-needed protected time to get the critical skills needed for a successful career in academic nursing.

"Universities are turning away thousands of qualified applicants to nursing schools each year because they lack the faculty to teach them. We have a pipeline problem. We need to fill that pipeline or we all will suffer the consequences," said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A. "We're committed to supporting the next generation of nursing leaders and encouraging more nurses to seek faculty positions earlier in their careers. Recruiting more nurse educators to the classroom and retaining them in academia is critical if we want to successfully address the nursing shortage."

There are also not enough nurses lined up to fill positions that will be vacated by retiring faculty, and the Nurse Faculty Scholars program will aim to encourage junior nurse faculty to continue on in their roles as educators.

"Our intent is to retain the most talented junior faculty we have and create outstanding role models so that more nurses might choose nursing academia as a career," said RWJF Senior Program Officer Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.

The program will be run out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Anna D. Wolf chair and professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, respectively, will direct the five-year program.

"The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) is proud to be the national program office of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program, and I am excited to have the opportunity to direct the program," Campbell said. "As one of the leading schools of nursing in the country, JHUSON holds among its highest priorities the development of nursing faculty as academic leaders—leaders who combine excellence in research, teaching, practice and service.

"This program is exactly what Schools of Nursing like JHU need to develop our young, promising faculty members so that they continue to teach the future nurses of this country," Campbell added.

The program will award up to $350,000 for three years to each RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar; up to 15 scholars will be selected each year. Applicants must be junior faculty members with at least two but no more than five years of experience in a faculty role. Candidates who completed their doctoral degree within 10 years of receiving their initial nursing degree are encouraged to apply.

Learn more program information in the Nurse Faculty Scholars Call for Applications. The deadline for applicant registration is April 1, 2008.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is a global leader in nursing research, education and scholarship and is ranked fourth among U.S. nursing schools. Our community health program is second in the nation and the nursing research program now holds seventh position among nursing schools securing federal research grants. The School is recognized for its reputation of excellence in educating nurses who set the highest standards for patient care, exemplify scholarship and become innovative national and international leaders in the evolution of the nursing profession and the health care system. For more information, visit http://www.son.jhmi.edu/.