‘Once a nurse, always a nurse’

A Jefferson health program that offers retired nurses an opportunity to help new nurses hone their skills with in-person mentoring has expanded.

“We’ve had great success with our Nurse Emeritus program, originally offered to Jefferson Health nursing retires, and we’re ready to take it to the next level,” said Marilyn Goodman, state coordinator for the program.

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First established during COVID in 2022, the program originated with 12 retired nurses who joined the Nurse Emeritus team at Jefferson in New Jersey, working everywhere from med-surg floors to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Washington Township.

The program is a “win-win” for retired nurses and current RNs, according to Goodman. It offers retirees an opportunity to reenter the workforce by providing mentoring skills and using their experience and guidance to help new-to-practice and other nurses.

Requirements for current openings in New Jersey include:

  • An active state nursing license
  • A commitment to work a minimum of eight hours a month
  • Not being out of the workforce for more than three years

Training is provided to Nurse Emeritus program participants before they begin the role and they can select the floor/unit where their skills will be a strong fit.

Debbi Tropp, a 20-year Jefferson employee in New Jersey who retired in 2022, joined the program at its inception that same year as the first participant. Two years later, the 71-year-old registered nurse – with some 50 years of nursing experience – is “thrilled with the opportunity to give back to my profession.”

“Once a nurse, always a nurse,” she said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for me to both share my knowledge and to also learn new things.”

Nurse Emeritus participants do not perform hands-on clinical care or dispense medication; their role is education-based. To learn more, contact nurseemeritus@jefferson.edu.

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