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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Initiative,
Focused on Ending Nurse Faculty Shortage, Graduates 20 Scholars

Trenton, N.J.—New Jersey’s staggering 10.5 percent vacancy rate for nurse faculty does not bode well for the health and health care of Garden State residents. Not having enough faculty to teach future nursing students could result in fewer nurses to care for aging and at-risk populations. This, in turn, could lead to poor health outcomes and higher health care costs for New Jersey.   
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), which is working hard to change that dire scenario, today announced the graduation of 20 RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars with advanced degrees that prepare them to serve as nurse faculty. The 20 scholars have earned their master of science in nursing (MSN) degrees with support from NJNI with the goal of becoming nurse faculty in New Jersey.
NJNI is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The program provides generous benefits and support to help RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars complete their advanced degree studies. Upon graduation, scholars have the opportunity to receive financial incentives if they become faculty members at schools of nursing in the state.
“The RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars represent tomorrow’s leaders, and we are so proud of them,” said NJNI Program Director Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC.  “Including this current class, we have now graduated a total of 38 scholars, and many of them are already filling key faculty roles, mentoring their peers, and serving as role models for the next generation of nursing students. Thanks to their talent and dedication, the future is already looking brighter.” Bakewell-Sachs is interim provost of The College of New Jersey.
The goal of NJNI 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. The Faculty Preparation Program is a key part of NJNI’s strategy. It has awarded $13.5 million in grants to New Jersey-based nursing programs and education collaboratives, and is supporting a total of 61 New Jersey Nursing Scholars who are completing (or have completed) master’s or doctoral degrees.
The 20 graduating New Jersey Nursing Scholars are:

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Jamie Boman, BSN, RN, MSN
Christine Brewer, BSN, RN, MSN
Catherine Carlton, BSN, RN, MSN
Diane Cukrow, BSN, RN, MSN
Marjory Desulme, BSN, RN, MSN
Tony Malek, BSN, RN, CBN, MSN
Janice McConnon, BSN, RN, MSN
Grace Qarmout, BSN, RN, MSN
Kean University
Laura Zakresy, BSN, RN, MSN
Monmouth University
Nancy Flood, BSN, RN, MSN
Karen Hoary, BSN, RN, MSN
Richard Stockton University
Marlin Gross, BSN, RN, MSN
Stephanie Henson, BSN, RN, MSN

The College of New Jersey
Caitlin Fett Werther, BSN, RN, MSN
Alexander Manning, BSN, RN, MSN
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Tammy Cooper, BSN, RN-BC, MSN
Renee Kurz, BSN, RN, MSN
Nancy Mills, BSN, RN, MSN
Shelby Pitts, BSN, RN, MSN
William Paterson University
Ruta Brazaitis, BSN, RN, MSN

Many faculty members at New Jersey nursing schools are approaching retirement, and there are not enough nurses in the pipeline to fill the positions. In addition, relatively few practicing nurses have the qualifications to teach. All nurse faculty in New Jersey must hold at least a master’s degree in nursing.
To help encourage others to consider nurse faculty careers, NJNI recently launched, a website providing important resources and information about what a career as nurse faculty involves and the pathway to that career.
For more information, visit

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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 health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 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. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is a business advocacy organization based in Trenton. Created in 1911, the State Chamber