COUNTY OF MERCER
Workforce Investment Board
One-Stop Career Center
McDade Administration Building
P.O. Box 8068
Trenton, NJ 08650-0068
Brian M. Hughes Andrew A. Mair
County Executive County Administrator
Kelvin S. Ganges Charles Hill
Chief of Staff Director, Economic Opportunity
WIB Healthcare Committee Meeting
College of New Jersey, Loser Hall
May 20, 2008 8:00 AM
Present: Scott Clemmensen, Bonny Ross, Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Gary Schnerr, Linda Martin
Staff: Beverly Mills
Meeting was opened by Scott Clemmensen, Chairman. The minutes from the April 15, 2008 were read with the
correction that Linda Martin was in attendance at this meeting. Her name had been omitted by mistake.
The purpose of the meeting was to begin discussion about what the WIB Healthcare committee can do to assist
in addressing the looming crisis in the healthcare industry. Data shows by 2020 there will be a huge deficit in
the healthcare field in practically all areas, especially nursing. What can be done to get more nurses into the
system as well as what can be done about the waiting lists of students trying to get into schools?
Susan Bakewell-Sachs offered that one area of emphasis should be on attracting younger nurses to the
profession, investing in the future of a nurse in their twenties offers a longer term payback on their career
compared to investing in older students, for example, a nurse in her forties. She further mentioned that currently
17% of Associates and diploma prepared nurses go for their Bachelors degree and few for their masters. Given
the requirement of masters in nursing as the minimum to teach in nursing, and the demand for more nurses with
masters and doctorates in practice settings, we need many more nurses with advanced degrees.
Linda Martin reported that out of 25 graduates from Mercer County Community college, 14 will pursue a BSN
degree out-of-state (relocating to out-of-state schools but plan to return to the area). The reason is more credits
are accepted at out-of-state schools. Linda inquired if TCNJ could work with MCCC regarding what credits
would be accepted in order to keep students in the area. Susan replied yes it would be good to look at that and
commended that the public colleges are already under statute to accept all general education requirements from
community colleges and that TCNJ complies with the NJ Nursing Articulation plan.
In addition, Susan answered the RN to BSN to MSN would be the program to look into at TCNJ but also stated
multiple paths are needed to maximize enrollments and get more nurses to the bachelors and masters degree
levels. MCCC students in nursing who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field are good candidates
for the RN to MSN bridge program. She also said she was aware this path alone wouldn’t increase capacity n
education, because of the issue of nurse faculty shortage. According to a Robert Wood Johnson study and data
from the NJ Collaborating Center for Nursing only 8-9% of nurses have master’s degrees and 0.7% of nurses
throughout the state have a doctorate degree.
TCNJ has doubled its BSN capacity since 2000 to 320 students. Further increasing the number of
undergraduate students in nursing at TCNJ would require additional faculty and space. The Masters program
had 44 students as of last fall which is an area that can also grow. Admitting transfer students into TCNJ’s BSN
Program is challenging because TCNJ has an overall 96% retention rate from freshman to sophomore so there is
very little outward migration of students. In addition, nursing is a popular major for other TCNJ students to
apply into if they are looking to transfer their major within the college.
Susan further discussed Robert Wood Johnson’s five year project that will also focus on building faculty--
perhaps also looking at matriculation into multiple tracts. Nurses do not have to get a masters in nursing
education: a Clinical Masters degree is more popular in part because the job market is broader and masters
prepared clinical nurses can do adjunct faculty work.
Bonny Ross added that many faculty positions go unfilled because of low pay and it basically comes down to
supply and demand—with such great demand for nurses with advanced degrees (masters and doctorate) in
clinical and education roles, the higher paying clinical positions are more desirable. Competition is steep for
nurses with advanced degrees.
Committee agreed attracting younger nurses and building capacity in generic ranks can be one way of opening
Linda Martin discussed the problem of finding clinical sites to place nurses and felt the focus on specialties in
the curriculum was problematic. For example, requiring maternity nursing with few maternity units (Capital at
Mercer is the only unit in Trenton) heightens the competition for clinical sites.
Gary Schnerr offered that many long terms care facilities would welcome being considered a clinical site and
volunteered to help make that connection. Gary further offered to bring in professionals to speak, especially
about the field of gerontology. For the past 50-75 years acute care has been the primary focus of pre-licensure
nursing education and that also needs to change since a great deal of health care occurs outside of hospitals.
Scott asked if there were currently any initiatives or lobbying efforts through the Nursing Board the Healthcare
Committee needed to be aware. Susan said there were not any at this time however the work that comes out of
the Robert Wood Johnson Educational Summit may lead to some areas of focus at the state level. The U.S.
Department of Labor is one of the sponsors of the Nurse Education Capacity Summit so there may be federal
initiatives. The Educational Summit will focus on areas such as faculty, innovative programs, and curriculum.
The RJWF New Jersey Nursing Initiative Strategic Five Year Plan will help to guide the NJ Education Capacity
Summit team’s work.
There was discussion about the lack of continuity in requirements for the AD program and the opinion that
curriculum should have precedence over the capacity issue. Linda Martin stated that some nurses have master’s
degrees in education, not nursing, so they are not eligible to teach. This led to some discussion regarding the
pros and cons of the masters in nursing requirement, recognizing that advanced nursing education is not
different from advanced education in other disciplines. In discussing clinical versus education or other master’s
degrees the Committee discussed what might be considered essential for a master’s prepared nurse education
(i.e., nursing research, pharmacology and path physiology. What are examples of other best practices in other
States? The Oregon Model was mentioned as a good example of innovation and standard curriculum.
Scott inquired about the fastest way to bridge from a Bachelors Degree in another field into nursing.
Susan said one way is to get into an accelerated BSN program which is 11-15 months full-time. This would
require not working and would pose a hardship on many unless there were scholarship and stipend support for
Committee discussed how this could be done financially--possibilities were concentrating on one tract,
collaborating with other schools and augmenting tuition. Also mentioned was the problem of excess courses
that many students must take which keeps them in school longer than required, taking credits to keep tuition
coverage while waiting for seats in nursing courses to be available.
Dual enrollment in associate and baccalaureate level courses was mentioned as a means of helping speed the
process of working students and shortening the time to the BSN. Negotiation with employers to “buy into” dual
enrollment and provide tuition support was also discussed.
Final discussion surrounded the possibility of having a half day retreat after the Education Summit this summer.
Along with Healthcare Committee, invitees could include Susan O’Brian and Sandy Quinn. This retreat would
be at the Mercer County Community College Conference Center the end of September, 2008. (Definitive date to
be determined at next meeting).
Meeting was adjourned. Next meeting will be Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 8:00-9:00 AM – Location
announced in reminder.
Next meeting will take place Tuesday, May 20, 2008
8:00-9:00 AM (location to be announced in reminder)