New Jersey Nursing Initiative Brings Together New Scholars

    • November 24, 2009

“You are answering the call to ensure that New Jersey has the well prepared and diverse nurse faculty it needs… Your job is critically important… You’re going to touch the entire health care system—in New Jersey and beyond,” said Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., at the first New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) Annual Meeting last month. “We want New Jersey to be the go-to place for nursing and nursing education.”

Hassmiller was a keynote speaker at the event, which brought together nearly 30 New Jersey Nursing Scholars for the first time. Launched in May, NJNI is a joint project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Its goal is to increase the number of nurse faculty in the state, to ensure that there will be enough faculty to educate the next generation of nurses and a nursing workforce able to meet New Jersey’s future health care demands.

A key component of the initiative is a Faculty Preparation Program, which recruits and supports the New Jersey Nursing Scholars, who receive full tuition and fees, a $50,000 per year stipend and a laptop computer as they study for their advanced degrees. Each Scholar commits to teach in the state for three years after completing his or her studies. The Faculty Preparation Program also includes grants to schools of nursing around the state to develop, implement and evaluate new curricula for students at the masters and doctoral levels.

Hassmiller said the Scholars will teach the next generation of nurses and instill a deep sense of responsibility so patients receive quality care. She encouraged them to conduct research critical to the nation’s health, and to encourage their best students to continue their education. Hassmiller quoted turn of the century author Henry Adams: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

First Annual Meeting

Meeting for the first time, the Scholars assembled with program staff, mentors, NJNI leaders, and experts in nursing education at RWJF in Princeton, N.J. They were introduced to the Foundation, and to their new roles as New Jersey Nursing Scholars and future nurse educators. Sessions led by top nursing educators addressed how to maximize their experiences, make their teaching engaging, use simulations and technology as teaching tools, work in teams and learn from each other.

Project directors attended sessions that addressed how to build productive teams and mentor effectively.

Patricia Benner, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania and professor emerita from University of California, San Francisco, shared best practices for compelling and effective teaching in nursing, using information from the Carnegie Preparation for Professions Program nursing education study—the first comprehensive national nursing education study in 30 years. Benner served as senior scholar for the study.

“We’re doing a lot of things that are really good in nursing education. We’re really focusing a lot on experiential learning. Our signature pedagogy is coaching and actual clinical situations for knowledge use,” Benner said. “We need to really upgrade our teaching of science and humanities—both the natural sciences and social sciences—and we need to do a much better job of integrating clinical and classroom teaching.”

NJNI also is developing a series of webinars, online discussions, and face-to-face meetings called the “Collaborative Learning Community” to offer additional learning opportunities over time. Diane M. Billings, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., chancellor’s professor emerita of Nursing at Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, will facilitate the Community. She led the Scholars in a discussion on the role of a nurse educator. She and a panel of experts stressed that nurse faculty are more than teachers; they are researchers and mentors who give back to the community as they continue to practice as nurses.

“I’ve been very inspired these two days. Being here has clarified the journey for me,” said New Jersey Nursing Scholar Andrea Taylor, who is pursuing a masters degree in nursing at Kean University. “You have a voice and you will be shaping the next generation… and you have a family to support you.”

“This is going to change my life because it’s given me the opportunity to address a lot of issues in nursing, said fellow Scholar Latoya Rawlins. “It’s going to help me make a difference for future nurses.”

“This is about all of you. This is about your journeys,” said NJNI Director Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., R.N., P.N.P.-B.C., the Carol Kuser Loser dean and professor of nursing at the College of New Jersey in Ewing. She encouraged the Scholars to make the most of the opportunity to help ensure that New Jersey will have the faculty it needs to educate the nursing workforce of the future, adding, “We believe in all of you.”

For more information on the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, visit

The Scholars

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative award recipients are:

The College of New Jersey, School of Nursing, Health, & Exercise Science, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Hye Jin Gehring, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Kristine Martinho, R.N., B.S.N.

Fairleigh Dickinson University, The Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Erin Cleary, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Andrew Fruhschien, R.N., B.S.N., N.J.E.M.T.B.

Kean University, College of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Elizabeth Arnold, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Andrea Taylor, R.N., B.S.N.

Monmouth University, School of Nursing and Health Studies, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Latoya Rawlins, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Michelle Skiber, R.N., B.S.N.

Richard Stockton College, School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Christine Bray, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Caitlin Lehrfeld, R.N., B.S.N.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, College of Nursing, Ph.D. in Nursing Program

  • Rashida L. Atkins, M.S.N., A.P.N., F.N.P.-B.C.
  • Catherine Jirak Monetti, R.N., M.A.
  • Shanda Johnson, M.S., F.N.P., A.P.C.-N.
  • Tracy Kalemba, M.S.N., R.N.
  • Aleesa Mobley, R.N., M.S., A.P.N.C.
  • Robert Scoloveno, M.S., R.N.

Seton Hall, College of Nursing, Ph.D. in Nursing Program

  • Connie Kartoz, R.N., M.S., F.N.P.-B.C.
  • Sheila Linz, R.N., P.M.H.N.P.-B.C., A.P.N.
  • Maria LoGrippo, M.S.N., R.N.
  • Kristi Stinson, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N., A.P.N.-B.C.
  • Murina Wells, M.S.N., R.N.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Nursing, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Primerose Germain, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Maryann Magloire-Wilson, R.N., B.A.
  • Patricia Saveriano, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Jenée Skinner-Hamler, R.N., B.S.N., T.N.C.C., A.T.C.N.
  • Lia Valentin, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Dorothy Withers, R.N., B.S.N.

William Paterson University, College of Science and Health, M.S.N. in Nursing Program

  • Tara Lynne Parker, R.N., B.S.N., A.N.P.
  • Mary (Rusti) Restaino, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A.