Program Launch

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On May 28, 2009 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce launched the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) at a hearing before the New Jersey Senate’s Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee in Trenton.

View photos from the launch below. Click on "Notes" to view captions.

Witnesses at the hearing, which was chaired by Senator Joseph Vitale, testified about the important role nurses play in delivering quality health care and the urgent need for more faculty to educate those nurses. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A and NJNI Project Director Susan Bakewell-Sachs R.N., Ph.D., P.N.P.-B.C., dean of the School of Nursing at The College of New Jersey, warned that New Jersey is heading for a serious—and avoidable—shortage of registered nurses that will jeopardize health care for all residents. New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Joan Verplanck explained how important a strong health care system is to the state’s economic health. Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey President and NJNI National Advisory Council Chair Mary Ann Christopher, RN, MSN, FAAN added additional expertise as a member of the panel.

Maria Torchia LoGrippo and Connie Kartoz, two members of the first cohort of New Jersey Nursing Scholars, also attended the hearing. New Jersey Nursing Scholars are graduate students who have received scholarships and support to complete their studies in order to become nurse faculty and teach in New Jersey.

At the hearing, witnesses presented findings from Situation Critical: Closing the Nurse Supply Gap in New Jersey, a new report by the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing at Rutgers. The report finds that the “average” registered nurse in New Jersey is a 50-year-old woman who works more than ten hours a day, and than half of the state’s RNs (54.4 percent) are between the ages of 46 and 60. This means that nearly one-third of the state’s nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next decade. To view the report, click here.