Budget cuts across the nation have impacted education departments, which have faced loss of positions, lack of ability to purchase new technology and reduced resources to offer quality educational programs.
To continue to offer education, some hospitals have combined their staff and resources to create an education consortium. In New Jersey three education consortiums, affiliates of the National Nursing Staff Development Organization, have weathered the storm for decades, and continue to combine resources to decrease the cost of course offerings and increase education expertise for nurses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. As members of the consortium, the Bergen/Passaic Nurse Educators, Consortium of New Jersey Nurse Educators and the Society for Healthcare Education and Training of New Jersey promote professional development, provide educational offerings, share best practices and encourage networking.
The BPNE was the first to start, in the 1960s. The group is comprised of Chilton Memorial Hospital, St. Marys Hospital-Passaic, The Valley Hospital, Holy Name Medical Center, St. Josephs Healthcare System, Bon Secours Charity Health System, Christian Health Care Center, Nyack Hospital and Bergen Regional Medical Center. We have many accomplishments, such as expanding membership to Rockland County, N.Y., hospitals, increasing continuing education programs for new and experienced nurses and educators, and offering scholarships for nurses pursuing their RN and those pursuing a masters degree, said Terry Adelgais, RN, MA, past president of BPNE and former director of education at Barnet Hospital in Paterson, N.J.During Leadership Day, from left, Elizabeth Fackina, RN; Terry Adelgais, RN; and Donna Flynn, RN, received scholarships from the Bergen/Passaic Nurse Educators.
CNJNE is the largest consortium, with 38 member hospitals, that include members such as Atlantic Home Care and Hospice, Bayonne Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and University Medical Center at Princeton.
Our large membership has assisted us in combining resources and providing educational programs during difficult times in healthcare, said Lori Pineda, RN, MSN, BC, vice president and webmaster of CNJNE and nurse educator at Morristown (N.J.) Memorial Hospital.
SHET/NJ members work in a wide variety of healthcare settings as trainers, educators, administrators, consultants and faculty. In addition to offering educational programs for hospital staff, they provide leadership, support and mentorship programs that link new members with experienced educators who serve as mentors.
The consortiums will collaborate to offer a Best Practices in Staff Development Conference Oct. 8 at Morristown Memorial Hospital. Donna Wright, RN, MS, a national speaker on best practices, will share strategies to implement with members of each consortium. SHET/NJ has strived to continue to offer high-quality programs, but [that] has been increasingly difficult in view of economic times and the increased time demands on educators, which is why the board voted to be part of this collaborative effort, said Annette Keller, RN, MA, CEN, president of SHET, who also works as an emergency nurse educator of professional development at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, N.J. The consortium also plans to invite other hospitals to become members or explore starting their own consortium. For information about attending the conference, contact Dana Reed at 201-447-8000, ext. 7527. For additional information, visit bpnenursing.com, cnjne.org or shetnj.org.