With the help of a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden will be able to fund an innovative expansion of their post-baccalaureate School Nursing Certification Program to a graduate-level program with a focus on population health. The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) award is one of only five given in the state and will help Rutgers’ mission of educating school nurses to address the increasingly complex health demands of students and their communities.
School nurses are critical to the health of students and their communities. Today’s school nurses require education in public health and advanced leadership so that they can work with community leaders to enact changes in school systems, policies, and other environments that influence the health of their students.
Enabled by the new grant, the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden will change the focus of their school nursing certification program from focusing on the health of individual students to addressing determinants of health affecting students in their communities. The initiative will emphasize the importance of creating healthier communities by making health a shared value through collaboration with students, their families, the school systems, and the surrounding communities.
The main message of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Campaign is fostering collaboration to improve well-being, more equitable communities, and strengthening integration of health services and systems. Rutgers-Camden plans to do just that, pioneering and leading in the field of school nurse education to better prepare school nurses in New Jersey, ultimately improving the health of the populations they serve.
Each year the US Department of Veterans Affairs selects students to participate in its highly competitive Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency (VALOR) program. Over the summer, two Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students from Seton Hall University (SHU) were selected to participate in the ten-week program at the VA New Jersey Health Care System East Orange and Lyons campuses.
VALOR is a program designed to provide nursing students with a designated registered nurse preceptor who helps the student develop the competencies necessary for working as an RN caring for our nation’s veterans. The SHU College of Nursing was honored to have two students selected to participate, Kristin Donadio and Daisy Acevedo.
During the program, Donadio and Acevedo rotated through multiple units including intensive care, psychiatry, same day surgery, and long term care. As VALOR students, they also participated in the Nurse Practice Council, weekly educational programs, and delivered capstone presentations to the VA nurses and staff at the end of their ten weeks.
Donadio and Acevedo were thankful for the opportunity to improve their competence and confidence in providing nursing care through VALOR. In only ten weeks, the students developed personally and professionally, resulting in future plans to pursue professional careers in the critical care setting, ideally within the VA Health System. Both students noted that the values at the VA and at SHU are the same – nursing is all about ‘giving back,’ and showing kindness and respect to patients and staff.
The School of Nursing at Montclair State University is preparing a full Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, waiting for approval by the NJ Board of Nursing. Along with the new BSN program, Montclair is almost finished constructing Patridge Hall, the new school of nursing building which will be ready for use in January.
Under the leadership of Dean Dr. Janice Smolowitz and Director of Undergraduate Nursing, Courtney Reinisch, Montclair State University marks the beginning of their Registered Nurse to BSN program this September. The new program is intended to provide registered nurses with associate’s degrees in nursing or graduates from nursing diploma programs the opportunity to earn their BSN. The full BSN program is expected to begin at the university in Fall 2017.
Once completed, the new School of Nursing building in Patridge Hall will include lecture halls, fully-mediated classrooms, an anatomy lab, and state-of-the-art nursing lab space with dedicated areas for students to develop skills in specific medical procedures. High fidelity patient simulators will allow students to practice communication and decision-making skills using real-life scenarios from ambulatory, community, and hospital settings.
Eventually, Montclair State also plans to open programs for a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN), a five-year BSN-MSN combined program, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. The Montclair State University School of Nursing is looking for nursing students who are critical thinkers, culturally aware, effective communicators, and prepared to address the needs of individuals, families, and communities. At the forefront concern of the nursing programs are the health care needs of New Jersey and its residents.
Scholarships of up to $5,000 per year will be available to the inaugural Registered Nurse to BSN class. In addition, the McMullan Family Foundation has gifted Montclair $100,000 in scholarships for nurses at Mountainside Hospital who are seeking BSN degrees.
The use of telemedicine first came about as a popular solution for medical access in rural areas, but a new pilot program from Rutgers is focusing on underserved populations in public housing. When telemedicine is used appropriately, it has a unique capacity to improve access to healthcare and lower costs, improving health care outcomes and making it a widely accepted part of today’s health care delivery system.
The Rutgers School of Nursing and Rutgers Business School have partnered with SmartCareDoc, a telemedicine platform from Pennsylvania-based Telemed Ventures, to work with 10 patients living in Newark public housing. Using portable devices that plug into a laptop, tablet, or phone, the provider can listen to a patient’s heartbeat; check a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, or pulse rate; and obtain a real-time electrocardiogram reading.
One of telemedicine’s most commonly cited challenges is that it isn’t a billable doctor’s visit, which means physicians can’t be paid for its use, a problem that the study hopes to investigate and address. Evidence already exists for the effectiveness of telemedicine across rural communities (which is why Medicare covers it), but the study hopes to expand understanding of the effectiveness of telemedicine in urban centers like Newark.
Rutgers’ program is distinctive because unlike most telehealth companies that target physicians, Rutgers is targeting nurses in this study. Many community health programs are managed by nurses and nurse practitioners are the primary care providers. Telemedicine could be another method for nurses and nurse practitioners to serve their patients, especially with the rise of insurance companies recognizing that nurse practitioner driven primary care is just as effective as a physician-based model.
This pilot program will be bringing telemedicine to individuals who can benefit from the innovative healthcare model, but who have likely never heard of it. This is an important step forward for telemedicine which has the potential to mitigate the current health care crisis by improving access to healthcare and substantially reducing costs. Many lower income and urban communities have poorer health outcomes and greater barriers to care (like transportation), but projects like this one can help uncover ways to take the burden off of people with chronic conditions, helping them to live healthier lives.
The School of Nursing at Rutgers University recently created an innovative nursing residency program to focus on preparing bachelor’s educated nursing graduates to work in out-of-hospital settings. Funded by the Helene Fuld Health Trust, a nonprofit foundation focusing on welfare and education of student nurses, Rutgers received a $4.7 million grant to get their new program off the ground. With a rapidly changing health care delivery system, a lot of nursing care is now occurring outside of hospital settings, causing a need for competent and caring nurses who can work outside the traditional hospital setting.
Rutgers’ new program was designed specifically to create opportunities for nursing graduates to explore their options for working outside of a hospital as a new nurse, and provide their students with the support and mentorship they need to be successful in an out-of-hospital nursing career. The shift in location of care has largely been a result of the Affordable Care Act and an increase in specialty care like geriatrics. Instead of primarily staffing nurses in hospitals settings, many nurses now also work in primary care, wellness, home care, rehabilitation centers, and geriatric settings.
The new initiative started by Rutgers places nurses in out-of-hospital settings for two semesters, the first program of its kind in the country. Academic nursing education has not been a major concern for nursing schools in the past because most graduates immediately enter the hospital workforce, but the new residency program will support new graduates in advanced care settings, with scholarships, and with assistance finding out-of-hospital opportunities upon graduating.
The first graduates of the out-of-hospital residency program are expected to begin their first semester in the fall of 2017. Students will be a part of the residency program in their fourth and final year before receiving their nursing degrees. During that year, all students will be assigned a coach to assist them in transitioning from a classroom setting to the actual health care workforce. To match students with job opportunities, Rutgers will be collaborating with clinical partners to develop partnerships where new graduates can participate in in-hospital residency experiences. The nursing school will also work with health care systems and clinical agencies to match students with facilities that match their individual strengths and goals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 19 percent increase in the need for registered nurses by 2022 due to aging baby boomers. In New Jersey alone, 16,000 jobs were created from 2008 to 2013 in order to facilitate a growth in home health care services, continuing care retirement facilities, and nursing homes. Transitioning from nursing school to real health care practice is difficult and demanding for recent graduates, and transitioning to out-of-hospital settings is even more challenging. Rutgers intends to continue developing their out-of-hospital residency program as a strategy for revising undergraduate curricula to include increased focus on population health and care outside of hospital settings.
Donna L. Murray who currently serves as the assistant director of Admissions and Recruitment at the JFK Muhlenberg School of Nursing in Plainfield, NJ has been elected President of the New Jersey League of Nursing (NJLN) for the 2016-2018 term.
Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bloomfield College and a master’s degree in nursing from the Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner Program at Rutgers University. She has held a faculty position with JFK Health for over 29 years, including her current position as assistant director of Admissions and Recruitment. Murray is also employed as a Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner with Robert Beim, MD.
The New Jersey League of Nursing is a state constituent league of the National League of Nursing, representing nurses at all levels of educations as well as healthcare consumers. The NLJN is responsible for shaping nursing education and providing resources and scholarship for the Nurses of New Jersey.
The JFK Muhlenberg Harold B. & Dorothy A. Snyder Schools of Nursing carry on a long tradition of educating future nursing professionals through their different schools. JFK Muhlenberg has over 300 students enrolled in their nursing schools annually, offering access to JFK Health System’s equipment and clinical facilities.
After participating as an active member of the New Jersey League of Nursing for more than 20 years, Murray is honored to be elected as their newest President. During her two-year term, Murray is committed to leading membership by investigating new ventures to continue the mission of the NJLN while remaining fiscally responsible for maintaining the organization’s viability in supporting nursing education in New Jersey.