SE - Structural Empowerment

SE3-Commitment to Professional Development: Describe and demonstrate how the organization sets expectations and supports nurses at all levels who seek additional formal nursing education (e.g., baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral degrees).

At Jersey City Medical Center we aspire to hire nurses prepared at the Baccalaureate level. We believe that this goal is consistent with the mandates of our professional organizations. Rita Smith DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CNO is a big supporter of this initiative. On occasion we do hire an Associate Degree nurse; however, we do not do this without a great deal of discussion and assurances from the nurse that he/she will return to school within a certain time frame and complete their degree.

One method that we utilize to set expectations for Professional Development is through our strategic plan/goals. One goal is to develop and implement educational programs to advance staff nurses and leadership to develop and expand their roles. Another way that expectations are set is through the performance appraisal process. Nurses at all levels are responsible for establishing goals; both short and long range. Unit based goals are also another method for setting expectations for professional growth. The Nurse Managers are responsible for establishing goals and expectations for their units as part of the strategic planning process.

The organization financially supports formal education by providing a generous tuition reimbursement plan Reference 008-B. The staff nurses receive $7000.00 annually toward their classes, and managers and educators receive $8,892 per year. This amount for managers is derived from the cost of 18 credits at an area university. See below for total reimbursement funds over two years:

Total Reimbursements Nursing

SE3-Table 1


Delegation of Funds-2011

SE3-Table 1

Ms. Smith feels strongly that all nurse managers should have a minimum of a BSN and 94% of our managers do possess a BSN. In fact, two of our managers have Masters Degrees and two will complete a Masters Degree in the Fall of 2012. Ms. Smith is also adamant that Directors should have a Masters Degree which is the case at the Medical Center. In fact, one Director, Cheryl Owens MSN, RN, CNOR will complete a DNP in December, 2012. Two of our Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs), Mabel LaForgia MSN, RN, CNL CCRN and Claudia Garzon MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN, are enrolled in DNP programs.

Organizational support is also provided in the form of flexible scheduling on the units where the student works. Allowances are made in order to insure that classes can be attended. The organization also permits clinical practicum opportunities. Two of our nurse managers, Kelly Loo BSN, RN, CGRNA and Larissa Semenoff BSN, RN, CNOR are in Masters Programs in Management and Leadership at Waldren University and are performing there clinicals at the Medical Center. Ms. Loo’s project is to develop a web page and a blog for breastfeeding mothers. This intersects nicely with the Obstetrical initiative to increase breastfeeding. Ms. Semenoff’s project centers on terminal cleaning in the operating room and infection control practices. She is also investigating physician protocols for long-stay Post Anesthesia Care Unit patients. Both of these projects benefit the organization as well as the managers.

Exemplar from Infection Control Coordinator attaining BSN/MSN

“I began my nursing career by attending a Diploma school, St. Francis in Jersey City. I worked in Greenville hospital, which was under the umbrella of Liberty Health prior to closing in 2008. Before the hospital closed I had a discussion with the Vice President of Nursing at Greenville Hospital, Brenda Hall, MS, RN, NE-BC, and she asked me what my vision for the future was. She strongly encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone and pursue an advanced degree. Although I was a seasoned nurse and had been functioning as the Infection Control Coordinator, I had a strong desire for continued learning and to expand my horizons outside of my current position. I determined that I would return to school. In 2007 I enrolled in Walden University in the RN-MSN Bridge Program. Shortly before Greenville Hospital closed I transitioned into Jersey City Medical Center and continued with the responsibilities of Infection Control Coordinator. At this time, the Medical Center was pursuing Magnet Designation and I felt privileged to be part of this process. I thought that I was fortunate to be in an environment conducive to learning. Rita Smith DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CNO was very supportive to me during this process. The Walden Program that I enrolled in takes 42 months to complete, so it was rigorous. Ms. Smith not only provided support, but encouragement as well. She provided time in her busy day to mentor me as well as discuss any barriers that may stand in my way.

I completed my program in 2010. I am so appreciative of all the help and support that was provided to me by Ms. Smith and the Medical Center during this endeavor.” (Submitted by Victoria DeChirico MSN, RN, CIC)

Exemplar from Assistant Nurse Manager Emergency Department attaining BSN

“I attended a local hospital School of Nursing, St. Frances, and graduated with a Diploma in Nursing. I became inspired to further my education by my former Nurse Manager, Christine Wade MSN, RN, CEN. Ms. Wade provided me with the opportunity to become an Assistant Nurse Manager in the Emergency Department and I became interested in management. Ms. Wade strongly encouraged me to return to school and obtain my BSN. I enrolled in Chamberlain College of Nursing, an online program based in Illinois. Ms. Wade mentored me in all aspects of this process. She flexed my hours so that I could perform clinicals and assignments as needed. I haven’t determined what my final practicum will be, but I no I will do it here. I cannot believe that I will graduate in February, 2013. This has been my dream since I first started in nursing and I am thrilled that it is finally happening.” (Submitted by Kim Palestis RN, CEN).

Exemplar of Charge Nurse 7 East attaining BSN

“I obtained my initial nursing education at Muhlenberg School of Nursing. This program is a joint Associates Degree and Diploma Program. I began working on a medical-surgical unit and my nurse manager, Clare Cinelli BSN, RN asked if I would be interested in a Charge Nurse position. I said that I would and she stated that she would put me in the position if I agreed to return and obtain a BSN. I agreed and enrolled in Grand Canyon University. Ms. Cinelli was very supportive of me throughout this educational pursuit and mentored me as well. I have gained much knowledge attending this program, particularly in the areas of leadership and communication. Everything I learn I implement on my unit. I will graduate in August of 2012, and I plan to continue on for a Masters Degree once this program is completed.” (Submitted by Astrid Latar RN)

Exemplar from Critical Care nurse from BSN-APN

“I decided to become a nurse in 2004 and enrolled in the fast-track program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). I already had earned a degree in Biology so the fast-track program was perfect for me. The program lasted for 15 months and at the end of this period of time I had earned a BSN. In determined that I wanted to be an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) so I enrolled in UMDNJ. I graduated in January of 2012 and I became a certified APN in May of 2012.

I received much help from my Nurse Manager, Cristina Simeone BSN, RN. She made necessary adjustments to my schedule when necessary and provided ongoing moral support. I am very happy to be an APN, it allows me to participate more fully in the patients care and I have learned so much through my education, much of which I utilize in my current charge nurse role.” (Submitted by Ben Blanco MSN, RN, APN, CCRN)

Exemplar from Critical Care Educator MSN to DNP

Nicole Sardinas MSN, RN, CCRN
Nicole Sardinas MSN, RN, CCRN

“I began my career at Jersey City Medical Center in 2006 after graduating from a joint Associate of Science/Diploma nursing program. Although I did not have a baccalaureate degree at the time, I was enrolled in an RN to BSN program at a local university. The critical care nurse manager at the time believed in me and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow while completing my degree. My RN-BSN education opened my eyes to the work of evidence-based practice, and inspired me to join the clinical ladder and begin contributing to the overall health of my work environment.

In 2009, after three tears of clinical work in the CCU including preceptor and charge nurse duties, another door opened for me. I was offered the position of clinical nurse educator for the Critical Care Division. I was excited at the prospect of embarking on a new and challenging journey, but I knew that I would need help along the way. That fall I enrolled in an MSN Nursing Education program. Again, I was supported through that time by my team of colleagues. I learned a great deal about educational design and adult learning theories, and was given the support to apply these principles to nursing education in the clinical setting. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to develop orientation and continuing education programs with objectives that were learner-oriented and theory based. This has had a tremendous impact on the quality of the education offered.

I am currently enrolled in a Doctor of Nursing Practice program with a projected graduation date of January 2014. I hold faculty appointments in two accredited pre-licensure RN programs within the community, and look forward to continuing that relationship. I am confident that the support I have received from Jersey City Medical Center has directly impacted my personal and professional growth over the last six years. I am appreciative of the experience that I have had, and look forward to paying it forward to others as they progress through their education. (Submitted by Nicole Sardinas MSN, RN, CCRN, Educator of Critical Care Division)