The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has been engaged in improving healthcare in New Jersey since 1972, has recognized that the root cause of the nationwide nursing shortage is the lack of nurse educators available to train new nurses. To combat this problem, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established a partnership with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and funded a $22 million project to create the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI). NJNI is a five-year initiative, working to transform nursing education in the state. Its goal is to ensure that New Jersey has the well prepared, diverse nurse faculty it needs to educate nurses to meet the demand for health and health care in the 21st century. The Initiative has established that they will do this by:
The Foundation engaged Maher & Maher to conduct the process of developing an asset map and social network maps, and to provide expert analysis that would facilitate achievement of their goals.
Asset maps can assist in identifying more efficient and effective uses of assets,
Through social network mapping a hub of individuals and organizations with collective knowledge, positions and relationships is created and illustrates the power of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The map strategically connects individuals who represent assets in the various categories around specific initiatives illustrating the synergy that can provide a foundation for sustaining the goals of the initiative long after the special funding expires.
Partnered with the social network map, an integrated picture of physical assets and networks of stakeholders became clear, providing NJNI with information about where gaps may be impeding their ability to meet their goals and where the social network could be solidified.
As a result of the twin mapping effort, the New Jersey Nursing Initiative is now focused on creating the density of social connectivity and filling gaps in assets that will lead to increased nurse education. In doing so, and by implementing additional strategies based on the asset and network map analyses, the Foundation hopes to expand the social network by getting more business people/funders, K-12 educators and elected officials involved in working on the issue; and tie higher education representatives more closely to those groups, with the objective of converting those groups into stockholders.