In this Issue:

Curriculum Changes Emerge as a New Priority for NJNI
Deans and CNOs: Together by Design
Four N.J. Nursing Scholars Complete Advanced Degree Programs
A New Year for the Collaborative Learning Community
Alumni and Scholars Update
Did You Know…?

Curriculum Changes Emerge as a New Priority for NJNI

Over the past year since they were appointed co-directors of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), Aline M. Holmes, DNP, MSN, RN, and Susan W. Salmond, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, have launched a new phase of the program’s work. Building on its legacy of faculty preparation, NJNI now focuses on faculty development and encouraging nursing educators in the Garden State to transition curricula and clinical experiences. Doing so will help prepare nurses to meet the emerging demands of community-based care and population health.

“Innovation is the key,” says Salmond, who is also executive vice dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing. “Career success for our graduates requires the state’s nursing programs to teach the relevant skills for the health care landscape of today and—more importantly—tomorrow.”

Several NJNI events this year, including a thought leaders’ summit, a conference of deans and chief nursing officers, and the annual meeting, have targeted hot topics relating to population health, the Triple Aim, interprofessional education, and partnerships between academia and clinical practice. NJNI will be supporting this shift in priorities through a request for proposals for up to eight planning grants that will receive up to $50,000 each to bring academic and practice partners together on innovative curricular issues.

“We’re trying to establish the idea that curriculum has to change,” says Holmes, DNP, MSN, RN, who is also the New Jersey Hospital Association’s senior vice president for clinical affairs. “Programs can’t prepare nurses for hospital jobs only.”

“Acute care is still the glamorous setting,” adds Salmond, “but skill sets have to reflect both acute care and population health.”

For example, Holmes explains, the vast majority of children are never hospitalized. “Yet nursing programs emphasize inpatient pediatrics, when there’s a pressing need to make sure nurses have the skills and confidence to practice where children are. Nurses need to be up to speed on issues like well-baby visits, immunizations, diabetes and substance abuse. Health care needs are changing very quickly.”

Salmond and Holmes see momentum for curricular evolution starting to build, especially since NJNI has started to provide what Holmes calls a “safe table” where leaders from academia and clinical practice can come together to talk about the direction health care is taking.

“We are excited about the conversations that are occurring and anticipate New Jersey programs will take a lead in influencing new and innovative curricula,” she says.

“Practice and education have a lot to do to get students where they need to be,” Salmond adds, “but we are absolutely optimistic that nurses will be leaders in where health care is going, if the curriculum changes happen.”

Reproduced with permission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.

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Deans and CNOs: Together by Design

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) convened a Design Thinking Retreat in June at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, bringing together more than 60 nursing school deans, chief nursing officers, and key stakeholders as part of NJNI’s ongoing efforts to bring academic and practice leaders to work together to move nursing education forward.

The day-long retreat explored ideas for pilot projects geared toward population health objectives, and provided a forum for discussing gaps between nursing education and practice. Eight groups worked on designs for curricula, student experience, and faculty support and development that would prepare students for the future of population health.

Several common themes emerged, including:

  • Interprofessional training and skill building;
  • Increasing clinical experience;
  • Clinical mentorship;
  • Data and technology skills;
  • Professionalism and patient engagement skills; and
  • Increased specialization for nurses.

As participants reflected on the retreat, one wrote that “being able to sit together to share needs from both sides to improve what we both do is a win-win, especially when resources become tighter, both financial and human. More communication … will benefit the nursing profession and can really lead to positive future growth.”

Another pointed out the need for “easier access to other clients outside of acute care. A great deal of ‘community’ or ‘public health experience’ winds up being observational. How do we give our students meaningful experience when not in an acute care setting? Observation is a valuable tool in learning, but hands on enhances the learning much more.”

“We have many goals but need to work together,” wrote another participant. “We need access to services, fewer barriers to practice, support onward to share resources, and human resources to improve population health outcomes.”

NJNI has incorporated ideas exchanged at the retreat into an upcoming request for proposals for pilot projects that bring academic and practice partners together on innovative curricular issues.

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Four N.J. Nursing Scholars Complete Advanced Degree Programs

With the support of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), four more highly educated nurses are prepared to assume faculty roles and help meet the educational needs of New Jersey’s nursing workforce in a rapidly evolving health care landscape.

Three of NJNI’s Faculty Preparation Program participants, known as New Jersey Nursing Scholars, recently completed their doctorates at the Rutgers School of Nursing:

  • Shanda Johnson, PhD, MS, RN, APN-C, FNP, of Scotch Plains;
  • Aleesa M. Mobley, PhD, RN, APN-C, of Williamstown; and
  • Catherine Jirak Monetti, PhD, MA, RN, of Mountain Lakes.

One scholar earned her master’s degree at the Rutgers School of Nursing:

  • Karon Branch, MSN, RN, FNP, of Willingboro.

Additionally, Jenee Skinner-Hamler, DNP, RN, FNP, of Mays Landing, who had completed her master’s degree at the Rutgers School of Nursing in 2011 as a New Jersey Nursing Scholar, received alumni incentive funding from NJNI and completed her doctor of nursing practice degree at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched NJNI in 2009, and it has now supported 51 New Jersey Nursing Scholars who have completed master’s or doctoral degrees qualify them for nurse faculty positions. NJNI’s final cohort of scholars—10 PhD students—continue in their programs.

“The New Jersey Nursing Scholars are a vital part of NJNI’s legacy, and a reflection of its future,” said NJNI Program Co-Director Susan W. Salmond, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN. “We’re proud to help fuel the pipeline of nurse faculty needed to educate the next generation of nurses.”

“NJNI’s initial focus on the state’s nurse faculty shortage has helped us better understand where to go next,” added NJNI Program Co-Director Aline M. Holmes, DNP, MSN, RN. “Now we’re encouraging the state’s nursing programs to teach the relevant skills that will help students succeed in meeting emerging health care needs.”

“Without the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, the prospect of pursuing doctoral studies was daunting,” said Monetti. “This experience gave me so much more than teaching credentials.”

Mobley, who holds an adjunct faculty position at Rowan University and is pursuing a full-time tenure-track position there, said that NJNI “encouraged and enhanced better teaching skills. I plan on giving my professional best in return.”

“I’ve always loved the profession, and I’m eager to teach other nurses in the future,” said Branch, a family nurse practitioner who hopes to become a primary care provider and teach part time.

Johnson, a family nurse practitioner who plans to teach part time this fall, said that the scholarship supported her research on adolescent obesity, enhancing both her clinical and academic skills. “I’d like to eventually serve as a dean or in a similar leadership role,” she said. “It’s important to have nurses in those positions.”

NJNI’s priorities now include:

  • An Online Faculty Development Program;
  • Enhanced partnerships with other organizations, including a key role with the New Jersey Action Coalition, which helps the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action implement recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2010 nursing report as part of a nationwide effort to transform nursing and the delivery of health care in America;
  • Promoting educational initiatives and pilot projects that will attune nursing education to community-based and population health; and
  • Encouraging curricular and instructional changes in nursing to better reflect health care trends.

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A New Year for the Collaborative Learning Community

The Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) will get underway for the new academic year with a conference on October 10 at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “Health Care in the Community: Developing Academia/Practice Partnerships for Care Coordination and Managing Care Transitions.”

The session will focus on health care’s shift from inpatient to outpatient settings, where care coordination and accountability can be challenging. The presentation will identify the dimensions of care coordination and transition management; describe the associated competencies, including knowledge, skills and attitudes; and offer strategies to educate nursing students in support of developing team-based collaborative ambulatory practice environments that deliver quality and safe care that is patient- and population-centered.

NJNI congratulates two CLC participants who have recently been inducted as Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing: Karen D’Alonzo, PhD, RN, APN-C, and Tony Forrester, PhD, RN, ANEF, both of whom are professors at the Rutgers School of Nursing. D’Alonzo is NJNI’s Faculty Preparation Program director at Rutgers, and Forrester has served as a panelist and presenter for several CLC sessions.

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Alumni and Scholars Update

  • Rahshida Atkins, PhD, APN, FNP-BC, is doing postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Karon Branch, MSN, RN, FNP, attended a learning session, Nurses in the Boardroom, hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association. The program was designed to engage nurses in assuming leadership roles on advisory and governance boards, where policy decisions that impact health care are made. Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was the guest speaker.
  • Emilia Iwu, MSN, RN, APN-C, FWACN, PhD(c), has received the 2014 Global Nursing Research Grant from Sigma Theta Tau International for her dissertation research proposal, “Shifting HIV Management Tasks from Physicians to Nurses in Africa.”
  • Tracy Perron, PhD, RN, CNE, CSN, has been named an assistant professor at the College of New Jersey.

If you are a New Jersey Nursing Scholar alumna or alumnus, or a current Scholar, please let NJNI know what’s new with you, so you can be featured in the next Alumni and Scholars Update section of the newsletter. Send your news about new jobs, research progress, publications, and more to

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Did You Know…?

Edna Cadmus, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, clinical professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing, has been appointed executive director of the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing (NJCCN). Cadmus has more than 30 years of clinical and administrative experience and has been the recipient of numerous awards. Her extensive background in leadership positions includes: co-lead of the New Jersey Action Coalition, past president and current board member of ONE/NJ, and current vice chair-commissioner for Pathways to Excellence, American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is the specialty director for the graduate leadership tracks at Rutgers University. Learn more about NJCCN at


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