Nursing Graduate Grateful for Grant Program that Supported Her Studies at Rutgers–Camden

By Sam Starnes

Shantá Rembert thought this time would never come. “I am bursting at the seams with joy knowing that graduation day is finally here,” says Rembert, a Haddon Township, N.J., resident who will graduate May 22 with a nursing degree thanks in part to the support of the the Rutgers–Camden/Cooper Collaborative for Upward Mobility in Nursing program. “I thank God every day for allowing me to have been granted this opportunity to earn my degree in nursing. When I look back to when I first started, I felt it would never end. That day now seems like a twinkle in the sky.”

Rembert, a married mother of four who has been a technician in the emergency room at Cooper University Hospital for more than a decade, enrolled in the program in 2015 and studied for her degree while working full time. She is one of two students who are the first to graduate with the support of the grant program that allows assistive health care personnel working full time for Cooper University Health Care to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden. Now that she will have her degree, she hopes to secure a position as a critical care nurse at Cooper University Hospital. “I have thoroughly enjoyed serving there for the past 11 years, and although I’ll be starting a new chapter in my career, I would like the book to remain the same,” Rembert says.

A major goal of the grant collaboration between Rutgers–Camden and Cooper is to diversify the workforce and give health care workers like Rembert a chance to move up into nursing positions, says Lynne Borucki, a clinical associate professor and divisional chair of the School of Nursing’s Center of External Affairs and Clinical Excellence. “Shantá is an excellent example of how this program can help health care professionals access higher education and advance in their careers,” Borucki says. “The program also serves to diversify the nursing workforce, which is an important goal of the Rutgers–Camden School of Nursing.”

The program was funded by a $250,000 grant awarded to Rutgers–Camden in 2014 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through its New Jersey Health Initiatives: New Paths to Professional Nursing program. “Without the RWJF grant, I might have never made it due to my fears of going back to school,” Rembert says. “The grant applied the sense of urgency and structure I needed to get me started again. I truly feel like this program was designed for me to succeed without worrying about how I would be a full-time student and work a full-time job at the same time.”

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