In an effort to stem the nurse faculty shortage in New Jersey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Monmouth University in West Long Branch, Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, and Bloomfield College a four-year $2.5 million grant to educate future nurse faculty members. The grant is part of RWJFs $22 million, five-year New Jersey Nursing Initiative, an effort to increase the number of nurse faculty available to educate the next generation of nurses in the state.
The shortage of nurses is in part due to a shortage of nurse educators, says Janet Mahoney, RN, PhD, APN-BC, associate dean and director of graduate nursing at the Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing at Monmouth. There is a waiting list in many New Jersey nursing programs because there are not enough faculty members to teach the students who are interested in a career in nursing. This grant will provide an opportunity for qualified students to receive both financial and academic support as they study to become nurse educators.
The RWJF program promises to increase the number of full-time nursing faculty across the state, Mahoney adds.
The initiatives central component is a Faculty Preparation Program that includes grants to schools of nursing around the state, as well as support for 46 RWJF New Jersey nursing students. Although working in collaboration, FDU and MU offer different MSN tracks. Monmouth offers an MSN in Nursing Education with additional preparation in a clinical specialty, FDU offers an Adult Nurse Practitioner program with additional preparation in education. Bloomfield College, which offers baccalaureate degrees, is a feeder school to both programs. Four other nursing schools or collaboratives in New Jersey have received similar grants: William Paterson University in Wayne, Kean University in Union, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona, and the University Medical and Dental School of New Jersey in Scotch Plains.Minerva Guttman, RN
Mahoney notes the grant was a competitive effort. I believe we were successful because FDU, MU, and Bloomfield are all collaborating on this project, which ranges geographically from northern New Jersey to central New Jersey, she says. Elizabeth Parietti, RN, EdD, CNM, APN,C, project director and associate director of the graduate nursing programs at FDU, notes the group attended the workshop RWJF conducted before submitting the proposal. This was very helpful in understanding the goals of the grant initiative and the outcomes that RWJF expected, she says. In addition, we met the project consultant and were able to contact the consultant during our proposal writing stage.
Our proposal was innovative, says Minerva Guttman, RN, EdD, NP, director of the School of Nursing and Allied Health at FDU. Our senior administration showed great support during our site visit.
The selection of students also is competitive. The application period closed on June 30 for this academic year. We will be accepting applications in January 2010 for an additional group to be admitted in fall 2010, Parietti says. The students will move as a cohort through the program and complete the MSN full time over two years. The grant will pay for the students tuition, fees, books, laptops, and PDAs. The students also will receive a $50,000 annual stipend, enabling them to study full time for the two years needed to earn their degrees. The students must commit to teach in the state for three years after the completion of their studies.
We are all very excited about receiving this grant from RWJF, Mahoney says. We are offering an enhanced curriculum and innovative mentoring. Students will be immersed in the faculty role. They will have faculty mentors and coaches in the clinical arena. Theyll also meet weekly at alternating campuses to discuss topics related to nursing education. They will attend curriculum meetings, accreditation preparation meetings, and evaluation activities.
In addition, students will participate in curriculum acculturation and socialization activities planned by the New Jersey Nursing Education Collaborative. Outcome assessment will indicate the best practices of each program, and these best practices will be used in future curriculum development.
Rutgers University and Seton Hall University also received grants from RWJF to educate doctoral students, and will award PhD degrees. We will engage in a consortium of students with an emphasis on collaboration with Seton Hall, says Lucille Joel, RN, EdD, FAAN, interim dean and professor at Rutgers.
The Rutgers program began June 1 with six students, and is expected to take four years to complete a large portion of which is devoted to research, Joel says.
The Robert Wood Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nations largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and healthcare.
For information, visit The New Jersey Nursing Initiative Web site at www.njni.org.