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$22 Million Initiative Aims to Reverse New Jersey's Nurse Faculty Shortage, Avert Health Care Crisis
Date:5/28/2009

Innovative Public/Private Partnership Launches at State Legislative Hearing

TRENTON, N.J., May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To avert a severe nursing shortage that could cause grave harm to patient care in the state, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced a major new initiative designed to ensure that New Jersey will have the nursing workforce it needs to meet its future health care demands. Launched at a hearing before the state Senate's Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, the $22 million, five-year "New Jersey Nursing Initiative" will increase the number of nurse faculty in the state, so there will be enough faculty to educate the next generation of nurses. Its central component is a Faculty Preparation Program that includes grants to schools of nursing around the state, and support for 46 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Scholars who study to become faculty and commit to teach in the state for three years after they complete their studies.

"There is a real danger that the short-term easing of the nursing shortage caused by the recession will create the false impression that we've found a solution to the more serious nursing shortage that lies ahead," warned Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "We have not. Layoffs and older nurses staying in or returning to the workforce postpone, but do not fix, the problem. Unless we act now, New Jersey and the rest of this nation are heading for a nursing catastrophe that will affect us all. We ignore it at our peril. The quality of health care for patients will suffer if we don't address it."

A report from the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing at Rutgers, released at the hearing, finds that the "average" registered nurse in New Jersey is a 50-year-old woman who works more than ten hours a day. Mor
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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