The Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden (N.J.) and Cooper University Health Care in Camden are partnering to encourage healthcare paraprofessionals from underrepresented populations to pursue nursing careers, according to a news release.
The Rutgers-Camden/Cooper Collaborative for Upward Mobility in Nursing will provide baccalaureate education to unlicensed, assistive personnel employed at Cooper University Health Care. It is being funded by a $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Jersey Health Initiatives: New Paths to Professional Nursing program.
Through this new pipeline program, Rutgers-Camden and Cooper will collaborate to grow a diverse workforce of baccalaureate-prepared, registered nurses from historically underrepresented groups that will help us better meet the healthcare needs of the communities we serve, Joanne Robinson, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, FAAN, dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, said in the release.
The collaborative will provide a college preparatory curriculum for healthcare paraprofessionals who aspire to become baccalaureate nurses. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be admitted to the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden to pursue a bachelors degree in nursing.
The collaboration between Rutgers and Cooper University Health Care, supported by funding from RWJFs New Jersey Health Initiatives program, provides an incredible opportunity for many of our skilled employees to pursue a nursing career, Adrienne Kirby, PhD, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Cooper University Health Care, said in the release. We are grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for understanding the potential of this crossover program.
During the first year of the program, the college preparatory curriculum will consist of courses in English, math and the life sciences as well as weekly seminars to build academic skills. Upon successful completion of those courses, students will take baccalaureate nursing classes during the second year of the program. Participants will work with baccalaureate nurse mentors who are employed by Cooper, providing workplace encouragement and support.
An initial cohort of Cooper employees with at least two years of healthcare work experience and who arent enrolled in a bachelors of nursing program have been recruited for the fall 2014 pilot program. Over the two years of the program, students will receive tuition support and a stipend to cover personal expenses.
Obtaining a bachelors degree is becoming essential for nurses throughout New Jersey and across the country in order to deliver on exceptional nursing care and improve patient outcomes, Robinson said in the release. The Rutgers-Camden/Cooper Collaborative will help meet a critical need and improve the way healthcare is delivered in our region and beyond. It presents a significant opportunity to build upon and develop new models of nursing education.