Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) in Wyckoff recently welcomed 24 nursing students from William Paterson University of New Jersey (WPUNJ) in Wayne who will receive their bachelors of science in nursing degrees this spring. The purpose of the event was to further educate them about geriatric nursing specifically and to enlighten them to what is available for healthy seniors, as well as those who may be experiencing decline. Douglas A. Struyk, CPA, LNHA, CHCC President and CEO, opened the evening with a welcome.
“William Paterson University is very near and dear to my heart,” said Mr. Struyk. “When I began attending middle school, my mother began her full-time education at William Paterson and graduated four years later with her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Several years later my sister followed in her footsteps and I have since seen the value that their William Paterson education brought to their love of and success in nursing, not to mention many of my colleagues at CHCC who are also dedicated William Paterson graduates. And our board member and previous board chair, Sandra DeYoung, is a recently retired dean of the College of Science and Health at William Paterson. I am thrilled that you have joined us to tour and learn more about Christian Health Care Center. I hope that you can gain a better understanding on how we – and especially our nurses — provide health, healing, and wellness to those we serve.”
Denise Ratcliffe, LNHA, CHCC Executive Vice President and COO, opened the presentation by giving the students an overview of the extensive range of programs and services offered at CHCC. The students enjoyed dinner and connecting with various CHCC nurses, and were also given an opportunity to tour the many areas of CHCC where nurses provide care and services.
“This evening provides you with a unique opportunity to learn more about geriatric nursing and the continuum of care for seniors,” said Ms. Ratcliffe. “And I salute you for choosing this profession since we are keenly aware that the backbone of our organization is our nursing staff.”
The students’ professor, Janet Tracy, PhD, RN, WPUNJ Professor Emeritus, chose to bring the students to CHCC because she had a personal connection to the organization. Her mother was a resident of both Hillcrest Residence independent living and Heritage Manor Nursing Home, so she was aware of the excellent nursing care provided at CHCC. In addition, she participated in focus groups at CHCC’s The Longview Assisted Living Residence to study the transition between home and assisted living.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Tracy brought her students to visit CHCC,” said Dr. DeYoung. “Her students will see first-hand how the elderly can age in place in a high-quality, integrated health-care facility. CHCC’s exemplary standards of care delivery and WPUNJ’s high standards of nursing education are a good match.”
“I always knew that I wanted to be helpful in my community,” said nursing student Noelis Peralta Rojas. “Seniors need help and love listening to stories. I am bi-lingual, so I can use those skills to provide care.”
“I’ve worked with the geriatric population since I was 16 years old,” said nursing student Edward Aguila. “Many of the older adults that I’ve worked with have been supportive throughout my nursing-school journey, so it would be a great experience to return the favor and provide care to the people who have encouraged me during the time I was a student.”
CHCC’s History and Focus on Continuing Education and Nurse Recognition
In addition to mentoring new nurses, CHCC has a strong commitment to developing its own nursing staff to provide superior nursing care. When CHCC admitted its first patient more than 100 years ago, there were five nurses listed on the roster. Today, the nursing staff numbers approximately 425 and includes registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants. The growth of the nursing staff and scope of its responsibilities are influenced by community need and medical advancements. Nurses serve on many levels at CHCC. The majority provide direct patient care. Others serve in many diverse positions, including those who specialize in clinical areas such as wound-care and infection control, as well as broader fields like case management, health-care administration, and clinical education.
CHCC’s commitment to nursing expertise is reflected in its extensive support of education, specialty certification, and training. Clinical education courses, both mandatory and elective, are offered throughout the year. All nursing leaders receive training and certification in advance-care planning, a course designed by a CHCC interdisciplinary team. In addition, through a unique program coordinated by the New Jersey Action Coalition and Rutgers University School of Nursing, CHCC is one of only 20 facilities in New Jersey to offer a long-term care nurse residency program.
CHCC strongly encourages its nurses to become certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). They receive certification credits through specialized education, experience in a specialty area, and a qualifying exam. Certification is a professional’s official recognition of achievement, expertise, and clinical judgment. It is a mark of excellence that requires continued learning and skill development to maintain. Twenty CHCC nurses received this certification in 2014.
Nurse Leadership Council Unique to CHCC
CHCC is the only health-care facility that offers its residents and patients expertise and superior care through its Nurse Executive Leadership Council (NELC). Uniquely developed specifically to meet patient/resident needs, the NELC ensures the delivery of safe, quality care by competent and compassionate nurses. At CHCC, nursing services and clinical education are led by a collaborative group of four nurse leaders incorporating diverse skills, experience, and perspective, in providing person- and family-centered care.
“CHCC’s nurses are at the heart of the Center’s mission, where philosophy becomes reality,” said Ms. Ratcliffe. “They are focused on the health, healing, and wellness of the individuals entrusted to our care.”
CHCC provides a broad continuum of high-quality, compassionate care, offering superior senior-life, short-term rehab, and mental-health services. As a non-profit organization, we deliver care to our community based upon the Christian principles on which we were founded more than a century ago.