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Caldwell, N.J. – July 29, 2014 – Caldwell University has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Jersey Health Initiatives program as part of its New Paths to Professional Nursing cohort. With this grant, Caldwell will partner with St. Joseph’s Healthcare System to assist aspiring paraprofessional employees who work at St. Joseph’s to complete the first two years of their liberal arts and science studies before entering nursing clinical courses.

Caldwell’s Director of Nursing Dr. Marycarol Rossignol said the university is delighted to partner with St. Joseph’s.  “Working together, we can meet the needs of the students to strengthen their academic success and progression in Caldwell University’s bachelor of science in nursing program and contribute to fostering a diverse and educated nursing workforce,” she said. The grant program, Rossignol explained, will enhance and advance baccalaureate learning for a select cohort of St. Joseph’s paraprofessional employees who would otherwise lack the means and resources to enroll in a private institution of higher learning. “This New Paths to Professional Nursing program will provide targeted academic, financial and social support to increase readiness and remove barriers so that the students can pursue their nursing degree,” she said.

Bob Atkins, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, director of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives, said they are “delighted to have Caldwell University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare System as part of this cohort of grantees serving as the foundation for us to begin a statewide conversation on the need for a nursing workforce that is both baccalaureate-prepared and representative of the diverse communities they serve.” He explained that “health outcomes improve when nurses have this higher level of education and are culturally diverse, and Caldwell’s partnership with St. Joseph’s Healthcare System demonstrates the commitment and resources to support frontline health care workers who aspire to be nurses.”

Rose Nagle-Girgenti, RN, MA, director of clinical education at the Inter-Professional Education Department at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, said St. Joseph’s partnership with Caldwell University is an exciting and unique opportunity for St. Joseph’s paraprofessionals interested in pursuing a four-year nursing degree. “An important aspect of the grant is the selection of RNs from our existing staff to act as mentors to the chosen students, thereby giving support and assistance in the workplace in addition to the university,” she said. “A place to study and have access to online learning will also be provided. We have a strong commitment to these employees and will do all we can to ensure their success.” St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, which includes St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, has received Magnet Recognition® for Nursing Excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for the fourth consecutive time since 1999.

Students in the BSN program study in the university’s new 4,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which features technologically enhanced learning spaces that include laboratories for nursing skills, health assessment and simulation and a large classroom. The new learning environments are arranged to encourage interaction, collaboration and active engagement.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. RWJF strives to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook

 About St. Joseph’s Healthcare System

Nationally recognized St. Joseph’s Healthcare System is a major academic, not-for-profit, comprehensive health care organization located in Northern New Jersey. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, St. Joseph’s prides itself on providing sophisticated, compassionate health care with a ‘patients first’ approach to service excellence. To learn more, visit or call 877-757-SJHS (7547).

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 25 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II athletic teams and numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities and activities on a beautiful 70-acre campus located in the suburbs of Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell.  Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit Follow the university on Twitter @CaldwellUniv, on Facebook at, on Instagram at and on LinkedIn at

Contact: Colette M. Liddy

Director, Media Relations