Alumni Clubs & Groups

Critical Care

When a group of alumni from the School of Nursing gathered in the fall of 2019, their goal was to establish a formal association that would support nurses long after they left Rutgers–Camden.

Their timing, it turned out, couldn’t have been better.

As the School of Nursing-Camden Alumni Association was being chartered in 2020—coincidentally the Year of the Nurse and Midwife—the world was in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and nurses were on the front lines.

“Being a new nurse is scary in and of itself,” says Linda Wray CCAS ’74,’76, co-president of the alumni association and a retired critical care nurse who spent most of her career as director of cardiac medical nursing at Hahnemann University Hospital. “Suddenly, these brand new nurses are walking out into a situation—a worldwide pandemic—that none of us have ever seen before. There really was a need not only to support them but also to recognize the challenges they were facing.”

Acknowledging the struggles of alumni nurses during the pandemic started with the #HowRUresponding initiative, in which nurses were encouraged to send photos and share stories from the front lines. Members of the alumni association also developed a program in partnership with the university to distribute Rutgers-branded scrub caps and face masks to front line nurses.

“[These were] very creative ways to let alumni know we’re here” at a time when in-person events were curtailed due to the pandemic, says Regina (Jean) Grazel CCAS’81, co-president of the alumni association and a perinatal clinical nurse specialist and senior program director at the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “This last year has obviously had its challenges. We’re excited for the future.”

As the pandemic wanes, the alumni association is looking forward. A group of nurse alumni will write personal notes of encouragement to this year’s School of Nursing graduates, and at graduation, the co-presidents will encourage new nurses to get involved with the association.

“Those are the people we need to pull in,” Wray says. “They’re our future. We’re trying our best to figure out ways not only to engage the alumni but to engage people who are very soon going to be our alumni.”

The association has connected with the Rutgers–Camden Career Center to help new graduates navigate nursing job applications and launch their careers, Grazel says. It’s not uncommon for that first nursing job to include night or weekend work, Wray says. “We are getting some feedback that it’s tough,” she adds. “And it’s not just our graduates, it’s universal. So, we really want to try to figure out ways that we can support them.”

The association also plans to sponsor continuing education programs that nurses can attend as part of their licensure requirements.

All nurses who graduate from Rutgers–Camden are automatically members of the School of Nursing-Camden Alumni Association. To get involved in the group’s efforts and event planning, email Mike Morgan at