TRENTON–The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) this week announced the graduation of 20 RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars with advanced degrees that prepare them to serve as nurse faculty. Two are from Union County: Diane M. Cukrow, RN, MSN, of Fanwood earned her master of science in nursing (MSN) degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Karen Hoary, BSN, RN, MSN, of Elizabeth earned her MSN degree from Monmouth University.
“I wanted to become a nurse faculty member to give back to a profession that has given so much to me,” said Cukrow. “Nursing is a career that requires dedication, vision and passion, and I would like to inspire and motivate future nurses to encompass those elements in their nursing careers. The New Jersey Nursing Initiative provided me with numerous opportunities for learning and broadened my scope of knowledge. I feel extremely fortunate that I was afforded such an opportunity.”
NJNI is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The program provides generous benefits and support to help RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars complete their advanced degree studies. Upon graduation, scholars have the opportunity to receive financial incentives if they become faculty members at schools of nursing in the state.
“The RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars represent tomorrow’s leaders, and we are so proud of them,” said NJNI Program Director Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC. “Including this current class, we have now graduated a total of 38 scholars, and many of them are already filling key faculty roles, mentoring their peers, and serving as role models for the next generation of nursing students. Thanks to their talent and dedication, the future is already looking brighter.” Bakewell-Sachs is interim provost of The College of New Jersey.
The goal of NJNI is to increase the number of nurse faculty in the state, so there will be enough nurses to meet the health care needs of New Jersey residents. The Faculty Preparation Program is a key part of NJNI’s strategy. It has awarded $13.5 million in grants to New Jersey-based nursing programs and education collaboratives, and is supporting a total of 61 New Jersey Nursing Scholars who are completing (or have completed) master’s or doctoral degrees.
Many faculty members at New Jersey nursing schools are approaching retirement, and there are not enough nurses in the pipeline to fill the positions. In addition, relatively few practicing nurses have the qualifications to teach. All nurse faculty in New Jersey must hold at least a master’s degree in nursing.