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May 6–12 Is Nurses Week at Johns Hopkins

Hopkins Hospital
Nutting Hallway Portraits: Now on exhibit: A new collection of black and white photographs depicting nurses and their after-hours activities.
May 6: Baseball Game and Bullpen Party. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 6 p.m. By invitation.
May 11: Department of Nursing’s Annual Awards Ceremony. Houck Lobby, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Winners of the Shirley Sohmer Research Award, the Publication Award and the Arenth Award announced. Reception follows.


The Missing Link
Can’t bridge the gap between work and nursing school? A new benefit brings them together

Dawn Davis earned her degree through Ladders in Nursing Careers (LINC), a benefit that now extends to all JHH/JHHS employees.

When asked how she zeroed in on a nursing career, Dawn Davis credits two ladders. The first was literal: the ladder that fell on her as an 18-year-old volunteer firefighter, crushing her shoulder and forcing her to forsake firefighting for a fledgling career as a clinical technician on Hopkins’ pediatric intensive care unit.

After seven years there, Davis wanted to become a nurse, but couldn’t see beyond the time-and-money roadblock that stood in the way of nursing school.

Enter ladder number two—this one figurative. Her nurse manager told her about Ladders in Nursing Careers (LINC), a new program that would free Davis to work part time and study full time, all while keeping her full salary and benefits. The Department of Nursing would spring for tuition. In return, she’d be obligated to work as a nurse at Hopkins for two years once she graduated and passed her licensing exam. (The requirement has since increased to three years.)

Initially limited to Department of Nursing staff, LINC now extends to all Hospital and Health System employees seeking a career in nursing and is funded by Human Resources. Applicants must have graduated from high school or the equivalent, completed nine college credits and be recommended by their managers. Once accepted, students are required to carry at least 12 credits each semester, achieve a “C” or higher in all courses and graduate within four semesters. Currently, 27 are enrolled and 13 have graduated.

Michele Steinhauser, a nurse educator and LINC liaison, says the program’s benefits are twofold. “Our employees can get through nursing school sooner and feel more valued by their units. And nurse managers can fill open positions with current employees who already know the staff and systems.”

Since LINC piloted in late 2002, 42 employees have been accepted, says Steinhauser. All 12 in the pilot group have finished school and are now fulfilling their postgraduation commitment.

Tina Cafeo, nurse manager of the cardiac surgical intensive care unit, sponsored three of her staff’s clinical technicians. The three now work full time on the unit as nurses. “It can be a struggle to fill the schedule while the candidates are studying,” she says. “But it’s worth it to make that leap for people who are so motivated to become nurses. It comes back to you in the end.”

Davis proudly received her B.S.N. from the University of Maryland in December, making her the first to graduate beyond the pilot group. She estimates that LINC saved her $16,000 in tuition and a sizeable chunk of lost income.

In January, Davis passed her boards and is now a nurse on the PICU. “Everyone was so supportive, from the physicians to the nurses and clinical techs,” she says. “It has all paid off—now I can follow my own patients, form bonds with their families and have a real impact on their outcome.”

Lindsay Roylance




Johns Hopkins Medicine

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