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HMH Launches the Sheila Cancro Institute for Nursing Leadership

New program launches to enhance nursing pathways and workforce capacity thanks to generous donation

Hackensack Meridian Health has created the Sheila Cancro Institute for Nursing Leadership and Practice Excellence to provide infrastructure, support and advocacy for nurses as they advance their careers, education and research. In addition, a New Career Initiative will help build a pipeline of new nurses by offering financial relief to students.

The Institute is named after Sheila Cancro, a former nurse’s aide who instilled in her children the value of hard work, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a heartfelt appreciation for caring for others. Her son Peter Cancro, the founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s, a national sandwich franchise, made a generous donation to create the institute.

“One of the greatest challenges in healthcare in the US today is attracting and retaining nursing talent,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “In this fiercely competitive market, I am thrilled that we are able to advance new initiatives to support the professional growth of our nurses and ensure we are able to meet workforce demands now and in the future.”

The Sheila Cancro Institute will provide a centralized structure that will offer new and enhanced pathways for Hackensack Meridian Health nurses to achieve professional and educational excellence. This includes the development of new programs, activities and resources that will increase leadership capacity, continuously promote higher-level skill sets and knowledge, facilitate structural empowerment and improve the health care experience for both patients and the nursing team.

The New Career Initiative will provide a loan forgiveness model for students seeking a rewarding career in nursing that supports the student financially with a promise of employment for three years.

Through the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (A.B.S.N) Loan Forgiveness Program, students can receive up to $35,000 in loan forgiveness to help pay tuition or loans and alleviate the burden of debt as they advance their nursing education. In return, recipients must pledge to work at Hackensack Meridian Health in acute-care or home-care nursing roles for a minimum of three years upon graduation from an accredited program.

“By offering nursing students the financial support, training and first-destination career opportunities they need, we will be in a position to significantly impact the future of health care by focusing on the next generation of talent,” said Regina Foley, Ph.D., MBA, RN, executive vice president, chief transformation officer and interim nurse executive at Hackensack Meridian Health. “Through the Sheila Cancro Institute, we will be able to provide a one-stop approach for our nurses to help initiate their career development and professional growth. Together, these initiatives will have a profound impact on our organization and beyond.”

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