Dr. Geri Dickson quietly and comfortably passed away last week in her home in Madison, Wisconsin, and nursing lost one of its 21st century pioneers. Geri, a former faculty member at Rutgers Nursing, was instrumental in transforming an RWJF-funded project, Colleagues in Caring, into the permanently state-funded New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing.
Geri, as the Inaugural Executive Director of the Collaborating Center, tirelessly reached out to state legislators, presented before legislative committees, and worked with State Senator Joseph Vitale to gain support for the Center until funding was legislatively approved in 2005. She ensured that the mission of the Collaborating Center was secured – to collect nursing workforce data for New Jersey, provide evidence-based policy recommendations to strengthen and sustain New Jersey’s nursing workforce, ensure sufficient educational capacity at our schools of nursing, increase the diversity of the nursing workforce, and to form collaborative partnerships between academic nursing and our practice partners.
I was privileged to work with Geri over the years. Having the privilege to learn from Dr. Dickson during the Colleagues in Caring Grant and her advocacy for the Center gave me the opportunity to follow her lead and build upon the foundation she laid for the future of nursing. I am ever indebted to her. Nursing across the state has benefited from the work she did to make this Center a success. She will be greatly missed but her legacy continues. Dr. Edna Cadmus, Executive Director NJCCN.