- Direct-care nurses having access to the expert guidance and extra time they need to conduct groundbreaking research.
- Continuing education offerings and other opportunities to help nurses advance their careers.
- A financial boost for RNs with an associate nursing degree to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Those benefits all promote quality nursing practice, and they all would be expanded or enhanced under a $2 million nursing endowment that is in the works at Penn Medicine Princeton Health.
Philanthropist Betty Wold Johnson, a long-standing champion for advancing healthcare education and training, pledged a $1 million challenge grant to fund the endowment. The gift honors Princeton Health’s centennial, which was celebrated November 24. To obtain the grant funds, Princeton Health must raise an additional $1 million on its own.
The endowment would be dedicated to building on Princeton Health’s tradition of nursing excellence, which includes Magnet® recognition for Princeton Medical Center (PMC), along with designation as an Exemplar Hospital by NICHE — Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders — an international program promoting patient-centered care for older adults.
Sheila Kempf, RN, PhD, vice president, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer (CNO) at Princeton Health, said the endowment would enable the organization to create a structure to support innovation, education and research that improves nursing practice.
It would coordinate existing programs and many new ones created through the endowment to ensure they complement each other.
“This is an exciting opportunity to advance nursing at Princeton Health,” Kempf said.
The RN-to-BSN Program is seen as a priority because increasing the percentage of nurses with a BSN is linked to significantly improved patient outcomes in several studies, including research conducted by Linda H. Aiken, PhD, director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Karyn Book, RN, MSN, Princeton Health’s associate CNO, noted that nurses completing a BSN, MSN or doctoral degree already can receive tuition assistance, which will increase to an annual maximum of $8,000 in January 2020. The endowment would allow Princeton Health to consider creating scholarships to supplement those funds.
Princeton Health maintains an institutional review board (IRB), and nurses often submit research proposals to the IRB. Kempf said the endowment would enhance that ability by giving Princeton Health the resources to bring in a nurse scientist from Penn Medicine to assist in designing and directing research studies.
Those added resources would also allow the organization to temporarily free nurses from their day-to-day, direct-care responsibilities to participate in research, Book said.
The endowment would enable Princeton Health to expand on-site education opportunities for nurses looking to expand their skills or pursue a specialty certification.
The PMC Foundation has already raised just over $500,000, halfway to the $1 million goal. To learn more or donate, visit PrincetonHCS.org/foundation or call 609.252.8710.
Princeton Health employees who already make recurring donations to the PMC Foundation may redirect their gifts to the challenge grant.