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Institute for Nursing Scholarship and Awards Gala



Institute for Nursing Awards and Scholarship Gala hosted by The Institute for Nursing (IFN), the foundation of New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA), will recognize nurses and community members for leadership, excellence in nursing and community impact on April 5, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Princeton.

Beacons of Light nominees, Divas & Dons and EPIC honorees will be celebrated at the Gala. The evening will culminate with the announcement of one nurse being recognized with the Beacon of Light award. To keep all eyes on the future of nursing, scholarship recipients will be recognized.

To purchase an ad in the commemorative journal or become a Gala sponsor, click on the links below. Please download the registration form and return the filled out document to NJSNA’s office. For questions or additional information, please contact Debra Harwell, NJSNA deputy director, at 609-883-5335, ext. 119.


Commemorative Journal Opportunities

Sponsorship Opportunities

Beacon of Light

The IFN will recognize 14 nurses for outstanding work towards inspiring the lives of other nurses through leadership, service, community impact and mentorship.

These nurses who exemplify excellence in nursing, have a lasting impact on the profession and mentorship will be recognized and one nurse will be honored with the Beacon of Light award selected from among the 14 outstanding nominees and announced at the Gala.

“The Institute for Nursing Awards and Scholarship Gala is an event to celebrate nursing by recognizing nurses and community members who represent passion for the profession, said Kate Gillespie, MBA RN NE-BC, chair of the Institute for Nursing and NJSNA president-elect. “These individuals demonstrate the passion and commitment to help other nurses through mentoring, coaching and giving back to the community through their compassion and desire to help others achieve their goals.”

Beacon of Light Nominees

Penny Becica-Kraus, BSN, RN

Cape Regional Medical Center

Virginia Carreira, DNP, RN, APN, CCRN, CDE

School Base Long Branch High School

Cheri Clancy, MSN, MS, RN, NEA-BC, CPXP

Cheri Clancy & Associates, LLC

Deborah Ewtushek, MSN, MS, RN, CSN-NJ

Memorial Middle School

Valera Hascup, PhD, MSN, RN, CTN, CCES

Saint Peter’s University

Eileen Horton, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Capital Health System

Susan Laffan, RN, CCHP-RN, CCHP-Advanced

Correctional Healthcare

Martin Manno, PhD, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC

Virtua Health System

Bridget Maybury, MSN, RN, APRN

James J. Peters Veterans Hospital

Brenda Petersen, PhD, MSN, RN, APRN-BC, CPNP-BC

Caldwell University

Shirley Smoyak, PhD, RN, FAAN

Rutgers University, School of Nursing

Joanne Taylor, RN

Cape Regional Medical Center

Susan Weaver, PhD, RN, CRNI, NEA-BC

Hackensack Meridian Health Ann May Center for Nursing

Mary Beth Wegman, MSN, RN

Galloway Township Board of Education

Divas & Dons

Divas & Dons will be recognized for outstanding professional career accomplishments. Divas and Dons are New Jersey nurses who have made an extraordinary impact on the profession and the community and are being recognized for their contributions to nursing research, nursing education or administration and outstanding professional career accomplishments.

Divas & Dons

Lydia Albuquerque, DNP, RN-BC, ACNP-BC, CCRN

University Hospital

Jackie Baras, MSN, MBA, RN

Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health

Saundra Austin-Benn, MSN, APN-BC

Private Practice

Tracy Carlino, DNP, MA, RN, NEA-BC


Ann Marie Leichman, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

The Valley Hospital

Gina Miranda-Diaz, DNP, MPH, APHN- BC

West New York Health Department

Daniel Misa, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN

The Valley Hospital

Larider Ruffin, DNP, APN, RN, ANP-BC, GNP, CRNP, CTTS

Stockton University


Community leaders who continue to support the state’s nursing profession will be honored with the “Exceptional People Impacting our Communities” (EPIC) awards. Honorees are acknowledged for their efforts to advance wellness and promote health care initiatives, and for exhibiting extraordinary leadership and support of the profession of nursing. We must applaud their courage in assuming a leadership role within their communities and among their constituencies. Such an extension of self requires vision, faith in one’s abilities, and confidence in those who believe in the vision and seek to follow it.  With their vision focused on achievement through service, our honorees have a deep appreciation of and capacity for excellence.

EPIC Honorees

Robert P. Wise, MPH, FACHE

Hunterdon Healthcare

Susan Cholewka, MBA

Organization of Nurse Leaders of New Jersey

NJSNA Benefits

Your membership in NJSNA, which is the only organization to protect the practice of nursing in New Jersey, provides unique opportunities for you to advance your career, network with fellow nurses and gain knowledge that will improve patient care and influence decisions that impact nurses in the Garden State and radiate to the national level. Under a new pricing structure, all new NJSNA memberships will include dual membership in NJSNA and the American Nurses Association and cost $174. Membership includes:

  • Educational programming
  • Annual conference
  • Networking
  • Scholarships
  • Research grants
  • Leadership development
  • Legislative advocacy
  • Opportunity for service in state task forces or committees
  • Recovery and Monitoring Program (RAMP) for nurses
  • Career Center
  • Career Resources
  • Events
  • Insurance Programs
  • Legal Services
  • Practice Consultation
  • Professional Tools
  • eNewsletters
  • Electronic Job Flash

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NJSNA & ANA Membership

NJSNA and the American Nurses Association (ANA) are the only professional organizations representing the interest of all registered nurses, regardless of areas of specialization, clinical setting or working environment. Dual membership in both organizations connects you with nurses from throughout New Jersey and across the country as the single, united voice for the practice of nursing.
Your NJSNA/ANA membership provides unique opportunities for you to advance your career and gain more knowledge with additional educational opportunities to improve patient care and influence decisions that impact nurses at state and national levels.

Additionally, when you join NJSNA and ANA, you can:

  • Learn what you need with online access to learning resources on important issues impacting nursing (one FREE Navigate Nursing webinar every month — a $385 value).
  • Stay current on issues and news affecting nurses through free members-only publications, including: American Nurse Today, ANA SmartBrief, and OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.
  • Get advice and support from nurses in your state and across the country.
  • Use member discounts on our extensive library of online CE modules to stay current on nursing topics and earn contact hours.
  • Save $125 on ANCC initial specialty certification and $100 on certification renewal as a member.
  • Improve your clinical, business, and leadership skills through educational programs.
  • Add your voice to advocacy efforts at the state and national levels.
  • Protect yourself with liability, life, and auto insurance
24/7 Crisis Hotline for Impaired Nurses - 1-800-662-0108