Eight PhD scholars supported by the Trenton-based New Jersey Nursing Initiative graduated this spring, a milestone in the New Jersey Nursing Scholars program designed to alleviate the states nurse faculty shortage.
The eight are the first to receive PhDs under the program launched in 2009 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. The May graduations of five PhDs at Seton Hall University in South Orange and three at Rutgers University Health Sciences Campus at Newark, along with an MSN graduate at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, now are among 47 NJNI-supported scholars whose masters or doctoral degrees qualify them for nurse faculty positions.
“This is truly a watershed moment for NJNI,” RWJF Senior Program Officer Maryjoan D. Ladden, RN, PhD, FAAN, said in a news release. “The fact that the first eight PhD scholars have completed their programs in four years, when it often takes considerably longer, reflects an amazing commitment from the schools and intense mentoring from faculty.”
An additional 13 PhD scholars and one MSN scholar continue in programs with the support of NJNI, which was launched to address the states 10.5% nurse faculty vacancy rate.
The graduating Rutgers scholars were Rahshida Atkins, APN, PhD, FNP-BC; Tracy Perron, RN, PhD; and Robert Scoloveno, RN, PhD. New PhDs at Seton Hall were Connie Kartoz, RN, PhD, FNP-BC; Sheila Linz, RN, PhD, PMHNP-BC; Maria Torchia LoGrippo, RN, PhD; Kristi Stinson, RN, PhD, APN-C; and Munira Wells, RN, PhD. Julie Aseltta, RN, MSN received her masters at UMDNJ.
NJNI has awarded $21.5 million to institutions of higher education to support the 61 scholars with full tuition and fees, a $50,000 annual stipend and a laptop computer.