Rush College of Nursing Faculty Members Receive Two Grants from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beth Bolick, DNP, coordinator of the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program at Rush University’s College of Nursing, has been named one of only 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows, and Susan Breitenstein, PhD, assistant professor at the Rush College of Nursing, is one of just 12 outstanding nursing educators to win the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program grant this year.

Executive Nurse Fellows Program

Bolick joins a select group of nurse leaders chosen to participate in a three-year, world-class leadership development program that is enhancing nurse leaders’ effectiveness in improving the nation’s healthcare system.

Begun by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care locally and nationally. The program will provide Bolick and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations in improving health and healthcare.

“I am enormously grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for this honor and to Rush University for giving me the time and the resources to pursue this terrific leadership opportunity,” said Bolick. “This is a transition year for Rush University and the College of Nursing, and the Executive Nurse Fellows program will give me the skills, experiences and mentoring that I need to do the best possible job of helping the university navigate the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

Nurse Faculty Scholars Program

Breitenstein was chosen for the prestigious RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, intended to advance the careers of promising junior nurse faculty. With the grant, Breitenstein plans to develop and test a digital parent training program for low-income parents of young children. She will receive a three-year, $350,000 award to promote her academic career and support her research.

The digital adaptation of the evidence-based program that Breitenstein will work on will be developed for distribution through an application on the Android tablet. Breitenstein hopes that developing the program for a tablet will make it more available to busy parents. She and her colleagues will also be asking parents to evaluate the program to learn whether it changes parenting behaviors and if they find it useful.

“One of my main interests is in implementation science,” Breitenstein said. “I want to explore the best ways to deliver evidence-based programs and get them into real-world settings. This grant is supporting that work and will help me improve the systems we use to deliver programs.”

Supporting junior nurse faculty through the grants provided by the Nurse Faculty Scholars Program will help curb a shortage of nurse educators that could undermine the health and healthcare of all Americans. The Affordable Care Act will vastly increase the number of people who can access healthcare in the United States. As the number of patients increases, there will be greater demand for skilled nurses as well as faculty to educate them.

Currently, many schools of nursing are turning away qualified applicants because they do not have the faculty to teach them. The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The program will also enhance the stature of the scholars’ academic institutions, which will benefit fellow nurse educators seeking professional development opportunities.