SE - Structural Empowerment

SE2-Professional Engagement: Describe and demonstrate the structure(s) and process(es) that enable nurses at all levels to participate in professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels. Include international participation, if any.

Our nursing strategic plan identifies as one of our goals at the Medical Center to develop our nurses professionally by encouraging them to participate in their professional organizations OO3. Nurse involvement has advanced significantly since our initial magnet designation. One-hundred and eighty of our nurses currently participate in more than fifty organizations at the state, national, local and international level. Below is a graph that demonstrates the largest JCMC nurse participation. Complete list is in Reference006-A, Reference007-A.

Common Professional Organizations at JCMC


SE2-Table 1

As an organization, much support is provided to nurses to encourage them to join their professional organizations. The Medical-Executive Staff of the Medical Center donates an annual monetary gift to the Department of Nursing during Nurses Week. Our nurses on the Retention and Satisfaction Council determine how that money is to be spent. They determined, in order to contribute to the professional development of our nurses, they would buy a small gift for each nurse and the remaining $1500.00 would be used for a 1 year free membership to a professional organization.

Another strategy that two of our nursing leaders, Kelly Loo RN, BSN and Larissa Semenoff RN, BSN, utilized in order to encourage nurses to participate in professional organizations was to set-up a table during lunch hours in the cafeteria. This table contained a representation of nursing professional organizations which included booklets describing the organizations and applications for enrollment. A complete listing was provided to the nursing staff of potential organizations that they can join.

Another strategy that the institution employs to encourage and facilitate our nurses to participate in their professional organizations is encouraging them to attend their organizations national conferences. This frequently sparks an interest in employees as their attendance allows them to network with other nurses in the same or similar field as them. Recently a number of employees attended the Association of Operating Room Nurses conference which was held in New Orleans this year. Employees who attended were: Vikki Ebanks MSN, RN, CNOR Nurse Educator, Sennen Cabalfin BSN, RN, Staff Nurse in the Operating Room, Larissa Semenoff BSN, RN, CNOR Nurse Manager in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, and Susan Gonzalez BSN, RN Staff Nurse in the Operating Room. Another instance of this occurred in 2010 at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses conference which was held in Washington, D.C. Employees that attended this conference were Evageline Cagas RN, BSN, Regina O’Donnell BSN, RN, CCRN, and Appadurai Lachmanan BSN, RN all Staff Nurses in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.

Establishment of State Consortium

Nancy Pain RN, APN-C in Palliative care is a founding member of the New Jersey Palliative Care Advanced Practice Nurse Consortium (NJPCAC). This is a group of 22 nurse practitioners from 15 hospitals throughout the state of New Jersey. Rita Smith DNP, RN NEA-BC Chief Nursing Officer supported Ms. Pain in this venture. She provided her with paid time-off to establish this organization and also offered the facility as a meeting place for the group. This organization meets quarterly and has as its primary purpose the following:

  • Promote Palliative Care to health care professionals
  • Offer interdisciplinary education
  • Collaborate with providers of all disciplines
  • Be available as resources
  • Mentor new clinicians
  • Provide peer support
  • Participate in data collection and research to promote clinical knowledge
  • Stimulate awareness of Palliative Care at local, state, and regional levels through educational programs and media
  • Establish a presence in NJ and on a national level advocating for Palliative Care and educating leaders and policy makers

This organization is currently becoming more established state-wide and their ultimate goal is to be a voice and provide leadership and education in the field of palliative care.

Establishment of local chapter of Oncology Nurses Society

Colleen Masterson BSN, RN Nurse Educator is involved with a CHIP (Chapter in Progress) group in Northern New Jersey to establish an active chapter of the Oncology Nurses Society in the area. The facility totally supports this venture and Rita Smith DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CNO permits Ms. Masterson to perform certain group responsibilities during working hours. Their focus is going to be on community events and education and their goal is to create support from the nurse to the community. Several ideas they are discussing was a Scrap Pink, i.e., a scrapbooking event that supports Breast Cancer awareness and Pennies for Prostate Cancer.

Establishment of Local Chapter of Philippine Nurses Association

Regina O’Donnell BSN, RN, CCRN Staff Nurse in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Isabel Pitao BSN, RN, CCRN, Staff Nurse in the Renal Department, Venerando Gelicame RN, BSN, Staff Nurse from 6 West and Sennen Cabalfin BSN, RN Staff Nurse in the Operating Room, initiated the start of a local chapter of the Philippine Nurses Organization (Appendix SE2-A). This all began when they approached the state-wide Philippine Nurses Association of New Jersey about this prospect and they assisted these nurses with a leadership training course to help prepare them going forward (Appendix SE2-B). President of the Philippine Nurses Association visited JCMC and met with Cheryl Owens DNP(c), RN, CNOR, Director of Nursing, to thank her personally for her and the institutions support of this venture. The Medical Center totally supported this group by facilitating their recruitment of members organizationally and allowing the group to meet on the premises if needed. Their goals are to foster unification among Filipino nurses. One of their projects is to collaborate with other professional groups in order to provide an excellent educational experience for their nurses. This group would also like to give back to the community by providing health services.

Leadership in Organizations

Cheryl Owens DNP(c), RN, CNOR and Rita Smith DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CNO were both original organizers of the New Jersey Council of Magnet Organizations (NJCOMO). This group meets quarterly and their goals are to mentor and educate other hospitals on the magnet journey. Ms. Owens has served as co-chair of the Structural Empowerment group and Ms. Smith serves as Advisor (Appendix SE2-C). Very recently this group hosted a very successful well attended seminar on structural empowerment, which was hosted by Jersey City Medical Center. The organization was very supportive during this process and provided conference room space and food for the seminar. They also provided dietary and housekeeping support during the conference. Their next project is to develop a toolkit on the establishment of a Shared Governance Process.

Patricia Nierstedt MSN, RN, Staff Nurse in the Emergency Department has a long history with the New Jersey Emergency Nurse Association (ENA). She has been a member since 1983 and became a certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) in 1984. Her schedule is adjusted in order to support her endeavors, and Ms. Smith is totally supportive of her projects. Listed below is her leadership involvement:

  • New Jersey Emergency Nurse Association-State President-2012
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurse Association-State President-Elect 2011
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurse Association-State Secretary 2009-2011
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurses Association-Northern Chapter Secretary 2002-2009
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurses Association-NJ Injury Prevention Chair 2003-2011
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurses Association-Research and Practice Committee 2009-2012
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurses Association-Government Affairs Committee 2008-2012
  • New Jersey Emergency Nurses Association-Trauma Committee 2001-2012
  • New Jersey Annual Emergency Care Conference Committee 2009-2012
  • New Jersey State Delegate to National ENA General Assembly 2000-2011
  • ENA Course Director and National Faculty for Trauma Nurse Core Course (TNCC)

Mabel LaForgia MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN assumes a Chairperson/Facilitator role in the North Jersey Evidence-Based Practice and Research Consortium. She was among the initial members during the inception of this group (Appendix SE2-D). Rita Smith DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CNO supports this process by providing paid time off for Ms. LaForgia and permits four work hours per week for her to participate in this consortium. The four hours is to allow Ms. LaForgia to perform data collection to present at the group meetings. The Consortium is comprised of six northern New Jersey magnet designation hospitals across the state and they pool resources and are involved in many interesting projects. There are two segments of this organization, one is the educational component and the second is the research projects. The educational component provides modules which differentiate Performance Improvement from Research and Evidence-Based Practice. Benner’s model is utilized to develop these modules. Ms. LaForgia is the co-chairperson of the Research component and they are currently working on a congestive heart failure (CHF) study on the readmissions of CHF patients. Stage I of the project involved the collection of demographic data on these patients, and Stage II will be to devise/propose an intervention to reduce the readmission rate.

Antonio Viera BSN, RN a Staff Nurse in the Emergency Department, serves as chapter president of Sigma Theta Tau the Kappa Eta Chapter. In this same chapter, Rafael Portales RN, BSN, Informatics Educator, serves as Treasurer, and Tara Mazzone MSN, RN, NEA-NIC Nurse Manager of the NICU, currently serves as Advisor to the chapter. She was the past president of this chapter (2010) prior to assuming her current role as Advisor. Paid time-off is permitted to allow staff members to participate in these professional organizations.

Legislative Involvement

Nancy Pain RN, APN-C is an active participant in the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) and has stayed in the forefront of Palliative Care. The NJHA has been responsible for promoting legislation that has resulted in Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Measures (POLST). This legislation is making New Jersey one of the few states in the country to have completed this task. POLST is an opportunity for patients and families to fully participate in healthcare decision-making. Ms. Pain served on a Palliative Care Task Force and was a prominent voice in the assertion that APNs be able to sign this order. She has been asked, along with several of her colleagues, to review the accompanying guideline booklet that will be distributed to physicians and APNs when the POLST form becomes available (Appendix SE2-E).

Ms. Rita Smith totally supports presentations of all types, both poster and seminar presentations. She supports this process by permitting time-off to attend the seminar or the conference in order to display the poster or participate in the seminar. Below see total numbers of posters and seminars for 2010 and 2011, See entire listing (Reference SE2-A).

Poster and Seminar Presentations

SE2-Table 2

Our nurses, for example, Winnie Cherubin MSN, RN, CNL presented nationally at the Clinical Nurse Leader Symposium on the “Role of the Clinical Nurse Leader in the Transforming Care at the Bedside.” She also spoke locally at the Overlook Hospital Pain Management Symposium on “Pain Management Disparities among Minorities in the Acute Care Setting,” (Reference SE2-A). Karen Caldas, for example, spoke at an international Nursing Technology Conference held in Baltimore, Maryland on “On-line Comprehensive Risk management System Implementation.” All these endeavors are totally supported by our Chief Nursing Officer both financially and professionally.

Another example of organizational support that enables our nurses to participate in professional organizations is that the organization provides a budget and offers to send our nurses to national and local conferences, often sponsored by professional organizations. Attendance in these national and local conferences provides our nurses with a broader perspective and allows them to network with nurse’s nationwide for complete information please see SE4.

Cheryl Jaron BSN, RN

Cheryl Jaron BSN, RN

Staff comments on professional organization membership Cheryl Jaron RN, BSN states: “I have been a critical care nurse for 1.5 years at JCMC in the Intensive Care Unit. I am a current, fairly recent member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and I thoroughly enjoy receiving the Journal and reading the articles. It keeps me updated on all new and developing techniques in critical care. It also keeps me connected to my profession.”

Jaclyn Zimmerman is a relatively new graduate nurse who works in the Operating Room. Jaclyn states: “One of the first things I wanted to do when I came to Jersey City Medical Center was to join a professional organization and become specialty certified. I have accomplished both objectives. The management at the Medical Center is very supportive and will help you to achieve your goals for professional development.”