Nurse of the Week: Nursing Professor Yolanda Nelson Creates System to Keep Black Nursing Students in School

Nurse of the Week: Nursing Professor Yolanda Nelson Creates System to Keep Black Nursing Students in School

Our Nurse of the Week is Yolanda Nelson, an alumna and nursing professor at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) who created a proven system to keep black nursing students in school. Her program Moving Forward Together was launched as a mentorship program to help black nursing students overcome barriers to entry in the nursing profession.

The US is rapidly growing more diverse, making the care provided by nurses of color especially valuable. According to Nelson, people of color often seek medical care with providers who are of the same race or ethnic background. 

The number of black nurses is low at most healthcare facilities and black students comprise a small portion of nursing students nationwide. This is largely due to barriers to entry including inadequate academic preparation in high school and a lack of diverse faculty in the field.

Nelson tells news.tcnj.edu, “As a student at TCNJ, I didn’t have any role models who looked like me. It would have helped if I had a mentor to encourage me.”

Nelson has thrived as a case manager and practicing clinician and served in leadership roles at several hospitals in New Jersey throughout her career. She has personally witnessed a lack of mentoring as another road block to increasing diversity in nursing and healthcare.

To help address this issue, Nelson launched Moving Forward Together when she joined TCNJ’s faculty in 2017. Moving Forward Together is a mentorship program that matches TCNJ’s black nursing students with working black nurse mentors, some of whom are alumni. Mentors are “someone they can lean on” in dealing with a professor, developing study skills, or finding their first job. So far, Nelson has matched 30 students with mentors and has seen six participants graduate.

To learn more about olanda Nelson, an alumna and nursing professor at The College of New Jersey who created a proven system to keep black nursing students in school, visit here

Rutgers University–Camden Receives Funding to Prepare Military Veterans for Civilian Careers as Nurses

Rutgers University–Camden Receives Funding to Prepare Military Veterans for Civilian Careers as Nurses

Rutgers University–Camden recently announced a new program which will prepare military veterans for civilian careers as nurses who will care specifically for other veterans. The program is funded by a three-year, nearly $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Military veterans are uniquely equipped to care for other veterans thanks to their shared experiences like overseas deployments, a demanding lifestyle, and challenges such as health problems or needing to find a new career when they transition to civilian life.

The new program being offered at Rutgers University–Camden is the only program of its kind in the Delaware Valley and the state of New Jersey. The program is called Veteran Nurses in Primary Care and focuses on understanding veterans and preparing veterans for a career as a civilian. The program will also focus on providing education to community-based primary-care registered nurses and other clinicians, nursing faculty, and clinical instructors to help meet the needs of veteran clients.

Kevin Emmons, a Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden clinical associate professor and a U.S. Army veteran who currently serves as a member of the Army Reserve, tells news.camden.rutgers.edu, “We recognized a need for health-care services for veterans that would help bridge the relationship between them and the health-care provider. One of the best ways to do that is by having the health-care provider, and in this case the nurse, be a veteran themselves. This can instantly build a bond between the veteran client and nurse.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the first cohort of students who will begin taking classes in the fall semester. The first cohort will include eight students, the second year of the program will increase the number of students to 12, and the third year of the program will accept 18 students. 

Rutgers University–Camden is the only higher education institution in New Jersey to earn the distinction of being named as a Purple Heart University by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The honor recognizes the university for its services to veterans and their families. Veterans participating in the program will receive comprehensive support to assist them in their students, including mentors and advisors from the School of Nursing and the university’s Office of Veterans Affairs.

Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden students usually perform their clinical rotations in community and hospital settings, but through the Veteran Nurses in Primary Care program, students will learn while working at the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, Cooper University Hospital, the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia, and Volunteers of America’s Home of the Brave program.

To learn more about the Rutgers University–Camden’s new program which will prepare military veterans for civilian careers as nurses who will care specifically for other veterans, visit here

Beyond the Hospital: 8 Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs

Beyond the Hospital: 8 Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs

The word “nurse” brings a very specific picture to mind for most of us. We picture someone in scrubs working in a hospital or a clinic, helping to treat patients at the bedside and making rounds. But the skill set developed through nursing opens up entire worlds beyond that traditional environment. Nursing jobs away from the bedside are challenging, rewarding and not at all what you’d expect. 

In this article, we’ll go over some non-bedside nursing jobs and what they entail. We’ll talk about the duties of those nurses, the environments in which they work, and in some cases, what they can expect to earn. If you’re looking to move your career into a more interesting phase, you might consider pursuing a non-traditional nursing career. 

8 Non-bedside Nursing Jobs

From summer camp programs to the NASCAR racetrack, some surprising places need medical professionals on hand. These career options could offer more work-life stability, travel opportunities or a shot of adrenaline. 

1. Cruise Ship Nurse

A nurse working in this role would help care for a cruise ship’s passengers and staff as part of the ship’s medical personnel. Depending on the size of the ship, the medical facilities could be quite state-of-the-art, rivaling an emergency room in a hospital on land. Cruise ship nurses work in the infirmary and report to the chief nurse. Working in this role requires at least two years of emergency care experience and an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification. Working on a cruise ship brings these nurses into contact with people from all over the world, and of course, offers the opportunity to travel. Nursing staff on a cruise ship are divided into three distinct categories: chief nurse, nurse practitioner and staff nurse. Duties here are much the same as nursing on land, but a cruise ship nurse could accompany a patient if they must be evacuated from the ship to land. Tours of duty are six months long, with two months off afterward.

2. Camp Nurse

If you’re someone who prefers the outdoors and doesn’t like to stay in one place for very long, camp nursing could be for you. There are myriad camp organizations that employ camp nurses. There are camps for children diagnosed with cancer, adults with mental disabilities or camps that center around an activity like whitewater rafting or horseback riding. The Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) lists opportunities on their website, so you can browse through them and see which one most closely fits your background. Those with experience in emergency care or pediatrics would be well-suited, and an ability to make decisions independently is key, as camp nurses often work alone. According to PayScale, camp nurses can expect to earn between $22-$41 per hour. 

3. Correctional Nurse/Prison Nurse 

A nurse working in this role will often be the first person to see an inmate about a health complaint. A correctional nurse will assess the patient and determine the requirements of care the same as they would if they were working in a hospital. They conduct intake screenings, work in chronic care clinics to help inmates manage chronic conditions, keep track of medications so they aren’t misused and provide what’s known as “sick call” services. Sick call is when an inmate requests to see a nurse for a sudden issue, which can result in an appointment with a physician. This role could also offer the opportunity to become a coordinator for programs like prison hospice care, in which inmates are trained to take care of their peers during the final phase of their lives in incarceration.

4. Clinical Nurse Educator/RN Medical Device Educator 

This may be one of the more well-known non-bedside nursing careers, in which an experienced nursing professional opts to instruct others in the practices and techniques of the job. Nurse educators can work in a classroom setting in a university or nursing school, as well as in the field with nurses-in-training or with those who need a clinical education, such as people who work in insurance or public healthcare workers. Because being employed in this role often requires a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, nurse educators can train medical staff to instruct non-medical personnel in medical procedures and equipment. A very high satisfaction rate is reported with this job, and the median salary is just over $75,000 per year, according to PayScale. 

5. Nurse Writer/Medical Writer

A background in or passion for writing as well as experience in healthcare can be leveraged into a career as a nurse writer. Their job is to write up training materials, manuals and educational papers for their employers. Nurse writers usually work for a healthcare provider, pharmaceutical company, medical equipment company or something in a similar vein. They must be able to research well, express specialized information in a readable manner and conduct interviews, similar to the duties of a journalist. PayScale reported that job satisfaction rates for this role are also high, and the median salary is similar to that of a nurse educator at just over $70,000 per year.

6. NASCAR Nurse

NASCAR drivers are just as much athletes as players in the NBA or NFL are, and the sport is one of the most popular in North America. When a driver has a crash, medical staff need to be on site to help. NASCAR nurses do initial assessments of the pit crew and drivers after an accident occurs, but a large part of their work is looking after the fans. This role can involve travel as well, if you’re working as an official part of the NASCAR team and following the races as they move across the country. NASCAR nurses also act as liaisons between the team and local medical staff working an event, making sure the proper equipment is on hand to handle anything from dehydration to lacerations and blunt force trauma. 

7. Flight Nurse

Perhaps the most action-packed on this list of non-bedside nursing jobs, a flight nurse isn’t what you might think when reading the job title. Rather than working on an aircraft, flight nurse travel to remote locations not easily accessible to help the injured. They provide specialized, hospital-level care to their patients as they’re being airlifted to a medical facility. This can be at the scene of a major accident, between hospitals or in a remote wilderness location. Flight nurse Matt Tederman, in an interview with PBS, detailed the time he had to help a snowmobiler in the rural plains of Omaha with a neck laceration from barbed wire. Helping to bring that patient back, he says, was a reminder of why he does the job. This position requires a BSN and three to five years of experience working in the ER or intensive care unit (ICU).

8. Parish Nurse

Last on our list of non-bedside nursing jobs is the parish nurse. Parish nurses care for the members of a parish or religious congregation. They approach their work differently than the other people on this list as they integrate elements of faith into their work alongside medicine. Relatively new as nursing specialties go, it was only recognized as such in 1998. Parish nurses work mostly in churches, but you can also find them in hospitals or social service agencies, as many hospitals have chapel areas set aside for people to worship. If a hospital is faith-based, it’s more likely to employ parish nurses. The duties of a parish nurse include visiting patients, mentoring members of their religious community, acting as a patient advocate and starting support groups. Parish nurses are required to hold active RN licenses and have practiced as an RN for two years or more.

Want to Take the Next Step? 

If getting outside of the hospital sounds like the next step in your career, Fairleigh Dickinson University can help you get there. Our accredited RN to BSN online program trains working nurses to deliver comprehensive care to individuals and families in all environments so that you’ll have the skills necessary to become competitive in the job market. If you already have your BSN and are looking to advance your knowledge and care practices, consider our MSN nurse educator online program. We’ll prepare you to become an instructor in collegiate nursing programs. Through a state-of-the-art curriculum, you’ll acquire the training you need to effectively work with students, parents and patients.

This sponsored post is brought to you by Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Rutgers-Camden Nursing Professor Janice Beitz Named National Academies of Practice Fellow

Rutgers-Camden Nursing Professor Janice Beitz Named National Academies of Practice Fellow

Janice Beitz, a professor in the Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, has been named a fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP). She will be inducted in March at an annual meeting for NAP, an interprofessional, national organization that advises governmental bodies on health care delivery in the United States.

Beitz stated in a press release, “The fellowship in the National Academies of Practice will provide an opportunity for me to influence quality patient care for the future. I am honored to be able to influence decisions based on my clinical expertise and scholarship regarding safe, effective patient care.”

Beitz is an expert in wound, ostomy, and continence care, with more than 40 years of nursing experience in acute, sub-acute, and outpatient care settings. She is the director of the graduate-level Rutgers University‒Camden Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Education Program and board certified as an adult clinical specialist in medical-surgical nursing, and as a nurse of the operating room.

As a nursing educator, Beitz has also created wound/ostomy/continence and perioperative nursing care programs that have been recognized with awards from the Pennsylvania League for Nursing, the WOCN Society Northeast Region, and the American Professional Wound Care Association. Beitz is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and a member of the Academy of Nursing Education Fellows (ANEF) for her innovations in improving clinical practice and patient safety through education, practice, and research.

To learn more about Janice Beitz, a professor in the Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, who has been named a fellow of the National Academies of Practice, visit here.

Nurse Residencies in Post-Acute Care Hinge on Leadership

Nurse Residencies in Post-Acute Care Hinge on Leadership

Experience in New Jersey showed programs faltered without strong leaders

Effective leadership is crucial to the success of initiatives like implementing a nurse residency program in a post-acute care (PAC) setting. These programs can be a valuable asset for recruiting, educating, and retaining nurses in a healthcare environment that’s increasingly in need of skilled and knowledgeable staff.

The New Jersey Action Coalition (NJAC) launched a statewide nurse residency program in 2014, achieving a retention rate of 86%. New nurses and their experienced preceptors attended interactive, in-person education. Preceptors then applied their new knowledge to helping their new nurses become competent and engaged. The success of their experiences depended on many things; a nurse leader who championed the program in the clinical setting was often a linchpin.

Effective leaders elucidated the benefits of participation to administration and staff, justifying the expense of sending nurses to the program. Continuing leadership ensured new nurses and preceptors were given time to attend class and to meet regularly, and were given encouragement when difficulties arose.

Perhaps even more importantly, wise nurse leaders were open to ideas that participating nurses brought back to the workplace. For a facility to benefit fully from the education, it had to be willing to embrace fresh strategies.

In the NJAC experience, it became clear that when a nurse leader resigned, the program often lost its main advocate. Negative effects were seen in reduced attendance and support for nurse resident/preceptor activities at the facility, such as performance improvement project work. Nurse leaders provide preceptors with the organizational support for what can be a stressful role. Leadership is also required for the maintenance of a healthy work environment in order to retain nurses.

Qualitative research completed during the project revealed that new nurses clearly see the need for robust leadership. Their comments about the needs of PACs yielded a desire for “visionary, hands-on management” and “teamwork, respect, and kindness between colleagues.” Such insights from new nurses indicate that PACs are ripe for organizational culture change through imaginative and innovative leadership.

NJAC offers this advice for nurse leaders considering a nurse residency program:

  • Know your costs for vacant positions (from overtime to onboarding). Quantifying savings achieved by improving retention via a residency program substantiates the return on investment.
  • Choose preceptors wisely. Look for knowledge, skill, ability to use clinical teaching strategies, and dedication to helping nurses thrive. The importance for a good fit between preceptor and nurse resident was apparent in the NJAC experience and identified by Moore & Cagle (2012) and Richards & Bowles (2012). Once preceptors are chosen, invest in their education. Remember, precepting requires that even the most expert nurses acquire a new set of skills.
  • Dedicate resources for success: time; space; supplies and computer/Internet access. Enlist other professionals, such as therapists, who have much to offer a novice nurse. Modify policies, job descriptions, and clinical assignments as needed.
  • Prepare for bumps in the road and stay actively involved. Check in regularly with preceptors and new nurses to offer advice, problem solving, praise, and inspiration.
  • Explore the wealth of literature available. NJAC and Rutgers School of Nursing have just published Developing a Residency in Post-Acute Care. Its guidance on implementing a residency program and detailed lesson plans will be valuable to nurse leaders/educators working with new nurses.
  • Once the new nurse is ready for new challenges, identify opportunities such as committee membership and performance improvement projects to enhance developing professionalism, meaningful engagement, and retention.

One of the often-quoted pearls of wisdom stressed to nurses in the NJAC program is to “lead from wherever you are.” Implementing a nurse residency program is one way for PAC leaders to do just that. The rewards will be worth the voyage through uncharted waters.

This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.

Rutgers University-Camden Nursing Professor Marie O’Toole Named National League for Nursing Fellow

Rutgers University-Camden Nursing Professor Marie O’Toole Named National League for Nursing Fellow

The National League for Nursing’s (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education recently named Marie O’Toole, a nursing professor at Rutgers University-Camden, a fellow. NLN fellows are selected for their contributions to nursing education — as teachers, mentors, scholars, public policy advocates, practice partners, administrators, and more. O’Toole was one of 16 nurses selected nationwide for the distinction in 2018, recognized for their leadership and expertise in nursing education.

O’Toole serves as senior associate dean in the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden and is a registered nurse in New Jersey and New York. She began her career serving as a staff nurse at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania before serving as a nursing instructor at Rutgers–Camden and going on to serve a 35-year academic career at several notable institutions. She has also served as the associate dean for the Stratford campus for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing, which is now a part of Rutgers University. O’Toole attended the University of Pennsylvania for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, and earned her doctoral degree from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

O’Toole tells news.camden.rutgers.edu, “I am proud to be a part of a growing, thriving academic community that strives to make a difference in its home city of Camden and also is committed to scholarship that distinguishes it on an international level.”

O’Toole was the recipient of a Fulbright Specialist grant in education in 2016-17 that allowed her to teach and study at Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan. The grant recognized O’Toole’s innovative work in developing and implementing global nurse education programs with partners in other countries. In the 1990s, she worked with the nonprofit organization Health Volunteers Overseas on a project funded by the US Agency for International Development to develop baccalaureate nursing education in Vietnam. She also served as the principal investigator for a grant funded by the US Department of Education and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture to create the first undergraduate, dual-degree program in nursing addressing the growing need for international recognition of nursing education to facilitate efficient emigration of nurses.

To learn more about Marie O’Toole, a nursing professor at Rutgers University-Camden who was recently named a fellow in the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education, visit here.

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