Dear Friend of the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden:
As summer begins, we at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden reflect on the completion of a wonderful academic year that culminated in the amazing commencement celebration on May 18 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden. The 236 students who accepted their diplomas included the first four graduates to earn the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Rutgers–Camden.
Our commencement theme of “Revolutionary Rutgers” was typified in the stirring remarks of keynote speaker Dr. Wallena Gould, founder of the non-profit Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program and chief nurse anesthetist at Main Line Endoscopy Centers in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Gould’s advocacy work in diversifying enrollment in graduate nurse anesthesia programs across the United States is reflective of our commitment here at Rutgers–Camden to attracting a talented and diverse pool of students to build a 21st century nursing workforce that better reflects the society and population for which we are caring. The nursing workforce still needs to become more diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity.
To increase educational access for underrepresented populations, we have partnered with Cooper University Hospital, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to support the creation of a pathway to the baccalaureate nursing degree for working healthcare paraprofessionals. Known as the Rutgers–Camden/Cooper Collaborative on Upward Mobility in Nursing (RCC ColUMN), the program opens doors for such paraprofessionals as nurse aides, unit secretaries and transporters.
After a year of developmental and review courses in English, math, science and academic skills, seven of our “Cooper students” are pursuing their first year of study at the SNC. I am proud to report that these full-time students, who are still working full-time as well, all have GPAs of at least 3.0.
Another reality facing our profession is the aging of the current workforce. Currently, the majority of nurses are approaching retirement, and it is key that SNC takes the lead in educating a new generation of nurses and nurse practitioners. It is imperative that we look not only to growing in enrollment, but supporting the students who are on campus – certainly academically, but also fiscally, so students have the financial literacy they need to fund their educations by borrowing smartly. In providing support for our students to insure their success on-campus and beyond, we need the help of our graduates and the larger healthcare community.
Construction continues on the Nursing and Science Building and you can chart the progress by viewing our live video feed at camden.rutgers.edu/admissions/nursing-and-science-building. Located at Fifth and Federal Streets in Camden, the 100,000-square-foot facility connects Rutgers University–Camden and the city’s University District with Cooper University Hospital, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, and the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, creating an “eds and meds” corridor that will strengthen the city as a destination for cutting-edge science and health research and learning. The building is expected to be completed in spring 2017.
In this newsletter, I invite you to read more about the latest accomplishments of our students and faculty. And as always, I welcome your insights and comments on the School of Nursing’s present and future.
With best wishes,
Joanne P. Robinson, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, FAAN
Dean and Professor