The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced that an initiative it launched in 2009 has achieved substantial progress in addressing the shortage of nurse faculty in New Jersey, though more needs to be done to avert a projected shortfall of nurses in the state by 2030.
Sponsored by RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the New Jersey Nursing Initiative has awarded $21.5 million through its Faculty Preparation Program to help more than sixty New Jersey Nursing Scholars pursue master's or doctoral degrees that qualify them for faculty positions; developed the Nursing Academic Resource Center of New Jersey, an online tool for graduate-level nursing students; funded a centralized system for the nursing school application process; and launched WeTeachNursingNJ.com, a Web site that provides nursing faculty career information. In 2011, RWJF reauthorized NJNI through 2016, funding scholarships that will enable ten additional New Jersey Nursing Scholars to pursue PhDs.
NJNI also is helping to lead the New Jersey Action Coalition, which is working with the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action initiative to implement Institute of Medicine recommendations as part of a nationwide effort to transform nursing and healthcare delivery by fully utilizing nurses and enhancing their skills and education. In addition, NJNI helped support the 2010 Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program Act, which offers student loan redemption in exchange for full-time employment in the state as a nurse faculty member.
"We need more highly educated nurses to play leading roles in discussions and debates about healthcare reform," said Marlin Gross, a New Jersey Nursing Scholar who is now an assistant professor at Cumberland County College. "We need them to provide more complex care to an aging, and more complex, population of patients and to provide critically needed research into ways to improve health care. And we need them to fill faculty vacancies so we can curb a looming nursing shortage and help ensure that all people in our state, and in our country, have access to a highly skilled nurses when and where they need one."