Foundations of Nursing Specialty Programs

Being a nurse at RWJBarnabas Health lets you explore career paths and promotes professional development. Exploring nursing specialties is supported and encouraged through our robust professional development programs that value career advancement.

The Institute for Nursing Excellence fosters a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and professional development. The dynamic and technologically advanced environment allows nurses to learn, grown and remain professionally challenged as they shape their nursing careers.

We offer specialty training programs in the following disciplines:

  • Critical Care

Foundations of Critical Care is designed to provide any nurse new to a critical care setting, the tools and knowledge to provide safe and competent care to some of the most unstable patients in any acute care environment. The course is designed to teach critical care nurses a greater understanding of complex medical conditions, foster critical thinking, and develop advanced nursing skills.

The program employs multiple learning modalities including, didactic teaching, hands-on practice skills, case studies, group discussions, and other activities to provide a comprehensive curriculum in a safe and comfortable learning environment. Topics covered include:

  • Cardiology, including Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Pulmonology
  • Hemodynamic Monitoring
  • Shock states
  • Neurology
  • Endocrinology
  • Nephrology
  • Hematology
  • Gastrointestinal and Liver conditions
  • Bioethics

The Foundations of Critical Care Course was designed in accordance with the American Association of Critical Care Nursing’s orientation recommendations.

  • Emergency Department

Foundations in Emergency Nursing is designed to provide the nurse new to this specialty area with the knowledge, skills and expertise required to practice comprehensively in the Emergency setting. The course facilitates the development of critical thinking, problem solving, communication and technical skills required to be successful as an Emergency Nurse.

The educational program utilizes reflective practice, case-based-learning, didactic lectures, a flipped classroom approach, extensive simulation, and mentorship to ensure a multimodal educational approach best suited to the new Emergency Nurse. Among the many topics covered are:

  • Cardiac emergencies
  • Neurological emergencies
  • Respiratory and medical emergencies
  • Trauma
  • Pediatric and behavioral health care

Foundations in Emergency Nursing was developed in accordance with the Emergency Nurses Association’s (ENA) Emergency Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice. The course is essential to a new ED nurse’s transition to excellence in practice and will lead to advanced learning opportunities in Emergency Nursing.

  • Medical/Surgical

Foundations of Medical/Surgical Nursing is designed to provide a competency-based and knowledge-driven learning program for the specialty of med-surg nursing that follows the ANA and Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses scope and standard of practice.

The educational program utilizes a comprehensive didactic and simulation program and highlights assessment, nursing care and knowledge in a system-by-system approach. Skills covered include:

  • Care and management of patients with various types of medical issues
  • Preparing for or recovering from surgery
  • Ethical challenges
  • NICU

Foundations of Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing is designed to provide the nurse new to this specialty with an in-depth understanding of the skills and procedural care for common to complex therapies for sick and fragile newborns.

The course content, presented through didactic lectures and simulation, highlights embryology, pathophysiology, assessment, nursing care, and medication knowledge in a system-by-system approach. Skills specific to each system and overall concerns for newborns are covered including:

  • Needle aspirations
  • Chest tubes and pleuravacs
  • Suctioning and vent care
  • Ostomy care
  • Developmental care
  • Cooling therapy
  • Small baby protocols
  • Sepsis identification and management
  • Bereavement
  • Legal/ethical concerns

Foundations of Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing follows the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) model of learning programs.

  • Oncology

Foundations of Oncology Nursing is designed as a comprehensive didactic program to prepare oncology nurses for clinical practice.

The course content focuses on the foundations of oncology nursing practice; understanding the pathophysiology of cancer; cellular and molecular targets; cancer treatment modalities -- surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy. In addition, the following are covered:

  • Safe handling of hazardous medicines
  • Hormonal, biologic, and targeted therapies
  • Cancer risks, prevention, and diagnosis
  • Palliative and hospice care
  • Survivorship
  • Chemotherapy and immunotherapy administration and common side effects
  • Oncologic emergencies
  • Psychosocial aspects of oncology care
  • Wound and ostomy care
  • Management of central venous access devices

Foundations of Oncology Nursing follows the Oncology Nursing Society's model of specialized expertise.

  • Pediatrics

Foundations of Pediatric Nursing is designed to provide a comprehensive framework for nursing care of the pediatric patient.

The educational program utilizes didactic content in pathophysiology, assessment, nursing process and interventions for common pediatric diseases and conditions. Simulation is interwoven throughout to introduce competencies and skills such as tracheostomy care, gastrostomy tube care, emergency management, chest tubes, dialysis, and evidenced based care bundles related to quality indicators. In addition, a pediatric-specific ECG course and sessions on family centered care are incorporated to represent the unique complexity of pediatric care.

  • Perinatal

Foundations of Perinatal Nursing is designed as a comprehensive program covering concepts from preconception to postpartum. Among the topics covered are:

  • Emergencies in the specialty
  • Complications of delivery, postpartum and fetal development
  • Newborn stabilization
  • Key safety factors in managing the perinatal patient
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness issues

The educational program includes a combination of didactic lectures, simulation experiences and skills stations, as well as escape room and role play learning opportunities. Foundations in Perinatal Nursing provides multiple approaches for different learning styles, enabling participants to immerse themselves in the course content. Learners actively participate in hemorrhage, sepsis, and hypertension drills, hands-on OR skills including scrubbing, donning and doffing, and counting.

Participation in this course provides NRP Certification (Neonatal Resuscitation Program), STABLE certification for post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabilization care of sick infants, as well as certification in Intermediate Electronic Fetal Monitoring.

  • Perioperative

Foundations of OR Nursing provides a unique method to bridge the gap between student and professional OR nurse. This course is specifically designed for the novice OR nurse or the nurse with experience in another nursing specialty who wants to assimilate to this multifaceted complex nursing career option.

This educational program employs a five-pronged approach:

  • Collaborative: an educational team approach utilizing the dedicated OR Simulation Center at RWJUH Rahway with surgical instrumentation, positioning, patient transfer, role playing and the “Big Picture,” a case simulation with all phases of perioperative care from preop to intraoperative to the immediate post-op handoff to PACU
  • AORN Periop 101 Online Modules: the gold standard of perioperative education utilizing the latest in evidence-based practices. Upon completion of all the modules and successful passing of the final exam, the nurse will earn 41.7 CE
  • CineMed AORN Video Library: access to all supporting OR videos to provide supplementary visual learning
  • Guest lectures: with anesthesia providers, vendors and specialists in equipment and supplies, along with tours of the ancillary departments that contribute to the surgical care of the patient including SDS, Pathology and Central Sterile Services
  • Site-based preceptors: for integrated clinical practice with home facilities

Through this multifaceted process, the new OR RNs are onboarded regionally into the specialty in a systematic fashion. This unique shared onboarding approach enables them to evolve as a collegial cohort in this high-performance dynamic specialty.