William Paterson University was honored as a 2023 NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes honoree in the Education Hero—Organization category during a recognition ceremony held on June 27, 2023 at The Palace at Somerset Park. The awards recognize excellence, promote innovation, and honor the efforts of individuals and organizations making a significant impact on the quality of health care in New Jersey.

In addition, Professor Sandra Foley, DNP ‘19, a William Paterson clinical nursing instructor and current president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, was one of seven honorees statewide selected in the Nurse of the Year category.

The NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes Award honorees were chosen by a panel of independent judges and include individuals and organizations across 12 categories.

President Richard J. Helldobler said the University’s award “is a testament to the great work being done throughout William Paterson and our College of Science and Health in preparing the nurses and other healthcare professionals who are in great need throughout New Jersey.”

The University’s nomination focused on the institution’s leadership in educating New Jersey’s healthcare workforce. Since 2020, it has invested in growing its healthcare programs to meet the significant need for nurses and public health professionals, as well as increased demand for online learning by adult learners and those seeking advanced degrees via flexible delivery models. Adding to campus-based programs in nursing and public health, William Paterson successfully launched fully online undergraduate RN to BSN and health studies programs, 12 fully online master’s degree and certificate programs in nursing, and a master’s in public health.

Since 2019, enrollment in nursing degree programs has surged. Undergraduate nursing enrollment has more than doubled, from 431 students to 1,058 students, and graduate enrollment has tripled, from 190 to 713 students. The University is now one of the largest nursing programs in the state.

Thousands of alumni are employed in healthcare institutions and related organizations as nurses, nurse practitioners, healthcare administrators, educators, researchers, and in other professional positions. Between 2019 and 2022, the University graduated nearly 550 new nurses, many employed in the state and making a direct impact on the nursing shortage. Also, more than 200 nursing professionals earned advanced degrees and certifications. In addition, research conducted by William Paterson faculty and nursing doctoral students on significant healthcare topics makes an impact on the healthcare field. Faculty and alumni hold important leadership roles in the state and national nursing organizations.

Professor Foley says she is “passionate” about her career in nursing. “Nursing is a gratifying profession that brings immense satisfaction,” she adds. “As a nurse educator and the president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, I strive to positively impact the lives of aspiring nurses and registered nurses in New Jersey.”

She has 33 years of specialized experience in acute clinical care hospital emergency department settings, including roles at Morristown Hospital and Saint Clare’s Hospital. She currently leads the Nursing Coalition, a diverse group of nurse leaders who discuss pertinent issues affecting the nursing profession. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate nursing students at William Paterson, she serves as president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the voice for more than 150,000 registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in the state. She has served as past president and president of Region 1 of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, as vice president of the Institute of Nursing, and a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association.

A graduate of Saint Elizabeth University with a bachelor of science in nursing and a master of science in nursing with a concentration in education, Foley earned a doctor of nursing practice at William Paterson University in 2019.

Source: William Paterson University