Blythedale Children’s Hospital is proud to announce that Jill M. Wegener MSN, RN, Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer, and Kara Dyer-Dombroski MSN, RN, Director of Nursing, have been selected for the Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellowship Program (JJNIF), facilitated by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Wharton School.

Penn Nursing announced today that ten teams of nurse leaders from health systems across the country have been selected for the prestigious program, which challenges participants to address a real-world challenge their health system or hospital is facing using human-centered design, and business and leadership principles specific to innovation.

Ms. Wegener describes the fellowship as a “coveted opportunity to address a care deficit impacting medically complex, fragile children across the United States.”

It is the persistent nationwide shortage of skilled and competent home care nurses in the community to care for medically complex children post discharge that led Ms. Wegener and Ms. Dyer to apply to the fellowship program.

“We are seeking the partnership, mentorship and guidance to help us create a center of excellence program for transitioning medically complex children home into a medically competent community,” she said. “We want to establish that vitally important roadmap that all children’s hospitals and facilities across the United States can implement to ensure their patients will discharge home safely.”

The 18 fellows participating in the program come from geographically diverse areas from across the US, including large and small health systems as well as stand-alone hospitals and public health systems in urban and rural locations.

“Kara and I have dedicated our entire professional careers to pediatric nursing,” said Ms. Wegener. “Combined, we have over 56 years of pediatric critical care experiences. We are passionate about children’s health, and just as passionate is our desire to enhance and elevate the professional practice of nurses, not just within our walls but within our community.”

The year-long program will conclude in May 2024 at which time fellows will present the problem they are addressing and their recommended solution.