In This Issue

In National Spotlight
NJNI Welcomes New Scholars
Leader’s Column – Building a Stronger System in 2011
New Jersey Nurse-Led Program Recognized for Nursing Excellence and for Being a Model of Community Support
Investing in Talent, Strengthening NJ’s Health Care Workforce
Did You Know?

In National Spotlight

Edna Cadmus, Ph.D., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., clinical professor and director, DNP Program-Leadership Track of Rutgers University College of Nursing, and co-chair of New Jersey’s Regional Action Coalition.
Edna Cadmus
NJNI Leads a Regional Action Coalition
New Jersey was recently selected as one of only five pilot states in the United States to participate in the first phase of the prestigious The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. NJNI will have a significant role in the campaign, which will build on the infrastructure NJNI has built and its work to date.
The Campaign for Action isan unprecedented initiative to address the increased demands for care by utilizing all the skills, talents, knowledge and experience of nurses. Its purpose is to guide implementation of the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) landmark report Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The goal is to transform the nation’s health care system so that all Americans have access to high-quality, patient-centered care where they live, work, learn and play and across the lifespan.
With leadership from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and partnerships from diverse sectors in the health care sector—including doctors, nurses, insurers, consumers, business, government, foundation, academia and health systems—this nonpartisan coalition will work to transform the health care workforce through implementation of the IOM report recommendations.
NJNI has Key Role with the NJ “RAC”
The Campaign has identified five pilot states, including New Jersey, to take leadership roles in moving the recommendations forward at the grassroots level. The Future of Nursing Regional Action Coalitions (RACs) involved in these pilot programs will help move key nursing-related issues forward. NJNI will serve as the headquarters for the New Jersey RAC.
Building on the work of NJNI and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, New Jersey’s RAC is directed by three distinguished co-chairs who are known throughout the state for their keen insight and leadership. Representing the fields of nursing practice, education and public policy/advocacy, the co-chairs are: Edna Cadmus, Ph.D., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., clinical professor and director, DNP Program-Leadership Track of Rutgers University College of Nursing; Mary Ann Christopher, M.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N., president of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey and chair of NJNI’s National Advisory Committee; and David Knowlton, president of New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
The other states chosen to host RACs and some of their affiliated groups are:
  • California – Betty Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis; California Institute of Nursing and Health Care;
  • New York – Institute for Nursing; New York State Workforce Center; New York AARP Executive Council;
  • Michigan – Michigan Health Council; and
  • Mississippi – Mississippi Department of Budgeting and Administration; Nursing Workforce Center.
NJNI’s selection as a RAC was announced at the National Summit on Advancing Health through Nursing on November 30 in Washington, D.C. The nation’s top health leaders from government, business, public health, academia and other sectors gathered to discuss how to move forward with report recommendations pertaining to nursing education, interprofessional collaboration, scope of practice and leadership.
For more information, visit To become involved with the RAC, contact NJNI Deputy Director Lynn Mertz at
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NJNI Welcomes New Scholars

A small and very promising cadre of America’s future leaders in academic nursing have a few things in common: they are enrolled in rigorous nursing programs that teach them about cutting edge information in the field, they have supportive mentors who are dedicated to guiding them as they pursue advanced degrees, and they go to school in New Jersey.

At the end of October, the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, welcomed the next generation of nurse faculty at its second annual meeting, “Nursing Leadership: Education, Practice and Policy,” in Princeton.
“You are our future leaders,” NJNI Program Director Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., R.N., P.N.P.-B.C., told the Scholars. “We are going to be counting on you to be using your voices, to be leading change.”
NJNI is working to ensure that New Jersey has the well prepared, diverse nurse faculty needed to educate nurses to meet the demand for health and health care in the 21st century. The program is providing $13.5 million over the next five years to New Jersey’s master’s and doctoral level nursing programs and collaboratives, and will produce at least 46 new nurse faculty.
“You don’t know how exciting it is for me to see all of you here,” former New Jersey Governor and Chairman of the RWJF Board of Trustees Thomas Kean told the scholars at the meeting. “You are the future. What you do with your degrees will be wonderful for nursing.”
The New Scholars
NJNI’s second and final cohort includes 20 scholars who are pursuing master’s degrees from New Jersey nursing programs and collaboratives. They join the first class of 29 scholars in masters’ and doctoral programs as they prepare to become nurse faculty.
“I feel as though now I’m becoming part of the bigger picture and I have an opportunity to give back to the profession,” said Marlin Gross, B.S.N., R.N., a member of the second cohort who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at Richard Stockton College. “Being a part of this is phenomenal.”
The meeting gave the new scholars the chance to meet their peers, network with mentors and faculty, and hear from renowned experts in nursing and health care.
Second cohort scholar Grace Qarmout, B.S.N., R.N., who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at Fairleigh Dickinson University, appreciated the opportunity to get to know her fellow scholars and faculty at other nursing schools over the course of the three-day meeting. “It made the program more exciting to see the collaborative that we have here and to know the other people that I’m working with,” she said.
Each scholar has received a scholarship covering tuition and fees, and a $50,000 per year stipend to cover living expenses for the two to four years spent as full-time students. Scholars also receive mentoring from nursing leaders from across the country who help them complete their graduate or doctoral studies. Upon graduation, scholars have the opportunity to receive financial incentives if they become faculty members at schools of nursing in the state.
Being a part of the program “is an honor and a huge stepping stone… in getting to the faculty role,” said Ruta Brazaitis, B.S.N., R.N., a member of the second cohort who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at William Paterson University. “Now I have the assistance I need to do that.”
Building a Nursing Career
A career is an evolution, Angela Barron McBride, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., told the group in her keynote address. McBride is the chair of the National Advisory Committee of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program and distinguished professor and university dean emerita at Indiana University School of Nursing. She recently published a book on nursing careers, leadership and optimism, The Growth and Development of Nurse Leaders.
“A career means you are not doing, in every decade, the same thing. You keep evolving,” she said. McBride provided an overview of an academic career – from initial preparation to the final stage of “gadfly or wise person” – and the key transitions between the stages.
Mentoring, she said, comes at every stage of a career in academic nursing. “You incur the obligation to nurture subsequent generations and to shape the future. You have the obligation to nurture and mentor even if you’re a curmudgeon.”
She encouraged the scholars to honestly analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and to make friends with people who have skills different from their own.
“Other people cannot keep you optimistic; you have to manage yourself,” McBride said. Failure is expected, but you should admit your mistakes and move on. “I can’t tell the difference between failure and life experience anymore.”
“I wish each one of you a happy career,” she said in closing.
Advice from Mentors, Experts
The meeting featured several breakout sessions designed to give scholars a more intimate look at their future as nurse faculty and at emerging trends in the field. Topics included aligning practice with education, quality and safety, negotiating a clinical role, and establishing a dedicated education unit.
Scholars in NJNI’s first cohort, who are each in their second year pursuing a master’s or doctoral program, had lively discussions with mentors about their futures. They received candid advice on tenure tracks, research and publication, and transitioning from students to faculty.
“I think some of the best moments have been the mentorship and the ability to work closely with faculty,” said Andrew Fruhschien, B.S.N., R.N., N.J.E.M.T.B., a scholar from the first cohort who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “I think that’s been really important in learning to become an educator when I come out of this program.”
Robert Scoloveno, M.S., R.N., a first cohort Scholar pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing at Rutgers, said the meeting left him feeling “reinvigorated.” To hear from experts in the field and learn how to become a better educator “makes me feel like there’s great potential not only as a nurse but as a nurse educator,” he said.
Encouraging Nursing Leadership
The meeting came just weeks after the Institute of Medicine, in collaboration with RWJF, released its groundbreaking report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report is the result of a two-year initiative to assess the nursing profession and make recommendations to transform it. The report recommends that nurses play an increased leadership role in our health care system.
Susan B. Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., RWJF’s senior advisor for nursing, briefed the scholars on the recommendations. “This report was written for you. It really is an opportunity for nurses to lead the transformation of our system,” she said. “You are part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ambassador team. Reach out and educate policy-makers and others on the report’s findings.”
Hassmiller encouraged the scholars and their mentors to host “watch parties” for the report’s launch summit, which was broadcast online from Washington D.C. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Laurie Cancialosi, legislative director for New Jersey Senator Joseph Vitale, agreed that nurses should be full partners with other health care professionals. “I think putting nurses into leadership positions is important,” she said after the briefing. “Every component [of the health care system] needs to have an equal seat at the table for appropriate medical care and patient care. Nurses need to be at the table for every decision.”
Ellen-Marie Whelan, Ph.D., R.N., a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, briefed the scholars on the health reform law and its implications for nursing. Whelan is an alumna of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program (2003-2004), where she spent a year working in the office of then-Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).
The scholars also heard from panels that challenged them to take an active role in public policy. They were encouraged to get involved in their communities and to talk to diverse audiences about nursing issues and improving patient care.
“This has given me so much to think about,” said Maryann Magloire-Wilson, B.A., R.N., a member of the first cohort is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “I never really thought of myself in that regard, in policy, in government… I feel like I can do more than I probably thought that I could… because if they think that we can, then we can.”
“Each of us is a leader. We’re not to wait for someone else to lead,” Bakewell-Sachs said at the close of the meeting. “I’m newly inspired to step up again… This is a rare opportunity in time. This is a momentous opportunity in time, and aren’t we lucky to be here.”
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Leader’s Column – Building a Stronger System in 2011

By Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., R.N., P.N.P.-B.C., NJNI Program Director
2010 has been a banner year for the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), culminating with the selection of 20 new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Scholars, and the honor of having been selected as a Future of Nursing Regional Action Coalition. So it is with great excitement and momentum that we look to next year and the promise it brings—most notably the graduation of our first cohort of scholars.
In 2011, 18 Scholars will graduate from their master’s degree programs. They will bring the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm that New Jersey needs for its future nurse faculty. We look to them to guide the new generation of nurses as they navigate a rapidly changing environment for health and health care.
That is why we are calling on practice and academe to work together to create a strong and well-balanced nurse faculty base from the outset, by exploring the many benefits of joint appointments.
Created intentionally and with the goal of supporting the most capable and best prepared professionals in the field, joint appointments stem from the understanding that the research and science of nursing informs practice, and vice versa. Rather than a piecemeal arrangement of two jobs at differing institutions, the joint appointment signifies a thoughtful collaboration between education and practice. It is precisely the kind of partnership we need to develop a dynamic nursing workforce, able to respond to our state’s growing health care needs.
As our scholars begin to prepare for their roles as nurse faculty, we ask institutions of clinical practice and education to set the wheels in motion. Joint appointments will make our system stronger and, once established, will benefit countless students and ultimately patients. Let’s make this one of our goals for 2011, as we continue to work to make New Jersey a model for other states.
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New Jersey Nurse-Led Program Recognized for Nursing Excellence and for Being a Model of Community Support

When Maria Brennan, M.S.N., R.N., C.P.H.Q., was a little girl, her grandmother broke her hip. A doctor reset the bone, but it was a nurse who helped her recover. Brennan was inspired. Ever since then, she has strived to help people recover from illness and injury.
“Nurses provide a great service to humankind,” she says. “I am as excited about nursing today as I was the day I decided to be a nurse.”
She has good reason to be excited.
The Women’s Heart Center at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, a member of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System in Paterson, N.J., where Brennan is chief nursing officer and vice president for patient care services, recently won a prestigious award that recognizes innovative nursing programs.
In October, the American Nurses Credentialing Center and Cerner Corporation, a provider of healthcare informatics, awarded the Women’s Heart Center with the 2010 Magnet Prize, which recognizes innovative programs at Magnet-certified organizations and carries a prize of $25,000.
“For me, this award means nursing excellence,” Brennan says. “I believe it’s a representation of the many programs at St. Joseph’s and the type of quality nursing care that we provide to our community.”
The center was cited in particular for its high degree of community outreach by advanced practice nurses.
At the Women’s Heart Center, the advanced practice nurses closely interact with the community in locations such as local businesses, churches, mosques, even hair salons.    They teach women about risk factors for heart disease and stroke, offer prevention strategies and explain available diagnostic and treatment options. Spanish-speaking nurses are available to teach courses at bodegas and other local organizations.
The center was developed by Carolyn Strimke, M.S.N, R.N., C.C.R.N., and Margie Latrella, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.N.-C., both advanced practice nurses. It is directed by a physician and managed by nurses.
Under the program, nurses charge a modest fee to screen clients for heart disease, review client medications and diet, and provide counseling and education. If necessary, nurses refer clients to a primary care physician or a cardiologist for further diagnostic testing and treatment.
The center opened in 2005 and counseled more than 1,700 women its first year, 450 of whom were screened. Over the next four years, the number of women screened rose to 2,700 per year. The award money will be used to grow the program even further, and Brennan hopes it will become a model for similar nurse outreach efforts around the country and the world.
Brennan Touts Advanced Practice Registered Nurses’ Wide Range of Skills
Brennan credits advanced nurse practitioners for much of the center’s success.
“Nurses really have a unique way of communicating with patients,” she says. “Physicians do a good job of explaining things. But the minute the doctor leaves the room, the patient says to the nurse, ‘Now, tell me what he just said.’ The nurse goes over it in layman’s terms and in detail. We’re great patient educators.”
Brennan has long advocated for nurses.
When the Women’s Heart Center was in the planning stages, Brennan persuaded its director to staff it with advanced practice nurses instead of physician’s assistants. She then helped the director, a cardiologist, hire two advanced practice registered nurses for the cardiology department. He was so impressed with their skills that he hired seven more to work in the department.
Brennan also volunteers with the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), a five-year, $22 million project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation that is working to transform nursing education in New Jersey. As a volunteer, she explores innovative roles for nurses and ways to increase faculty capacity in the state. She is also a representative of the Organization of Nurse Executives of New Jersey.
Brennan earned her associate’s degree in nursing at Staten Island Community College in New York and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Pace University and a master’s degree at Hunter College—both of which are also in New York.
Her first job was as a staff nurse at a Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. From there, she began a long climb up the nursing ladder that has taken her to administrative heights at several hospitals in New York and New Jersey.
She joined St. Joseph’s Healthcare System seven years ago and has no plans to leave, particularly because she strongly supports the organization’s mission to deliver high quality care with a special concern for the poor.
“I am truly committed to working with culturally diverse populations,” she says. “I believe it’s my calling.”
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Investing in Talent, Strengthening NJ’s Health Care Workforce

A hallmark of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative’s (NJNI’s) work is bringing together partners from vastly different organizations and industries to work together to analyze challenges and brainstorm solutions. On November 19, NJNI convened a meeting of New Jersey-based philanthropic organizations to discuss innovative ways to address the states nurse and nurse faculty workforce shortages. The meeting, co-sponsored by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, brought new voices to the table, and was a first step in building collaborations in other areas.
New Jersey’s “Void” in Educating Nurses
According to Poonam Alaigh, M.D., M.S.H.C.P.M., F.A.C.P., commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services who briefed participants at the meeting, the state’s health care workforce shortage is real and poses dangers to our residents. She said more should be done to avert a crisis. “I hadn’t realized how much of a void we have when it comes to educating more nurses. This is critical,” Alaigh said.
Robert Wise, Susan Bakewell-Sachs, and Pamela Dickson at NJNI’s November 19 convening.
Wise, Bakewell-Sachs, Dickson
The nursing community needs to be part of the solution, Commissioner Alaigh said. She said her Department is looking at ways to invest in talent and build a stronger, more diverse health care workforce, and that recruiting and retaining nurses and nurse faculty is a key part of that effort.
Increasing training in health information technology, simplifying graduate medical education funding and enhancing loan redemption programs are some of the ways the state is working to address the looming health care workforce shortage. Alaigh encouraged funders to look at ways to work collaboratively to enhance the work taking place at the state level. She also noted the creation of a state initiative to seek out innovative solutions and replicate them elsewhere.
Building the Health Care Workforce
The new statewide Health Care Workforce Council is expected to play a significant role in meeting the state’s future health care needs. It is chaired by Robert Wise, president and chief executive officer of Hunterdon Healthcare, and member of NJNI’s Leadership Council. The Health Care Workforce Council was created under the direction of Governor Chris Christie, and is part of the New Jersey State Employment Training Commission.
“Before we pull the trigger on solutions, we really need to organize,” Wise said. “The Health Care Workforce Council intends to bring disparate groups together so all ideas can be discussed. Getting questions on the table is the first step, looking at solutions is the next step. We are looking for the ideas that are worth funding and replicating.”
The Council will work to identify priorities and solutions for the state. It is unique because the coalition that won the grant for the Council was comprised of non-traditional partners, including unions, higher education representatives, health care organizations and more. Wise invited those at the meeting to join the new initiative.
Maximizing Impact through Collaboration
In keeping with the theme of collaboration, Joan Hollendonner of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey shared her experience applying for and being granted a highly competitive Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN) grant this fall. PIN is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Northwest Health Foundation. The $245,000 grant awarded to the Horizon Foundation is being matched by local philanthropic organizations, and it will help improve the skills of graduate nurses seeking their master’s degrees in New Jersey.
According to Hollendonner, the grant is especially noteworthy because it brought together a diverse group of foundations. She shared the process used to secure participation from diverse groups, noting that in the end “the funders all love the collaboration and the people involved in the project.”
Participants discussed other dynamic ways that collaborations are making a difference across the state and the country. Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., R.N., P.N.P.-B.C., program director for NJNI, spoke of the urgent need to “Jersify” creative initiatives that are taking place elsewhere in the country.
Bakewell-Sachs challenged participants to reflect on ways to include non-traditional partners in future work to support the state’s health care workforce. “How can we bring all of these ideas to bear in a state that is just now learning to collaborate?,” she asked, pledging to ensure that continuing to build and strengthen collaborations will remain one of the highest priorities for NJNI.
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Did You Know?

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative’s website has county-specific information related to nursing and health. See the resource section.
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