The following is the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) weekly news roundup, highlighting nursing and health care stories from around the state.

Health Care’s Challenge: Cut Costs but Still Meet Demands of Aging Populace (NJ Spotlight)
The focus in health care has shifted to finding ways to reduce costs while providing the best possible medical services. But other shifts–in demographics, and in the way those medical services are provided–may require doing something that usually drives up costs: hiring more people to meet the increasing health care needs of a more-insured, older population. Panelists at a recent conference suggested that finding efficiencies–such as having qualified but lower-salaried nurses performing tasks sometimes done by doctors–could be part of the answer.

As Health Care Paradigm Shifts, NJ Hospitals Face Uncertain Future (NJ Spotlight)
New Jersey hospitals are in a bind. Some of them may close in the next few years, experts say, unless they find a way to transform themselves into health care systems that focus on keeping patients healthy in an outpatient setting, while dealing with the reality that most revenue is still based on in-hospital services they provide. The hospitals that survive this transition period will look very different from the hospitals of the recent past. They will have fewer beds, more links with primary care and medical specialty providers, and more partnerships with other hospitals in which each hospital only provides specific services. That was the verdict of a panel assembled by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

Everyone has a story: Late bloomer finds her passion in a nurse’s life (Press of Atlantic City)
Linda Benner jokes that her classmates in the nursing program at Atlantic Cape Community College thought of her as “the Ancient Mariner” at age 59. But, she said, they all studied together and supported each other. She said she made incredible friends in the two-year program, from which she recently graduated as a registered nurse. She’s heading now to Rutgers University’s bachelor of science in nursing program and plans to earn a doctorate in nursing practice. She intends to become a primary care provider in an urban clinic.