Dean Linda Flynn honored by New Jersey State Nurses Association

April 12, 2024

Linda Flynn (PhD, RN, FAAN), dean and tenured professor at Rutgers University School of Nursing, part of Rutgers Health, was honored last night by the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) for high standards of excellence, professional career achievements, and for making a notable difference in many lives. Flynn and 16 other outstanding nurse leaders received the prestigious Diva and Don Award for 2024 at the NJSNA Institute for Nursing gala held April 11 at the Pines Manor in Edison.

The celebratory event not only spotlighted the accomplishments of Flynn and her fellow honorees but also raised money for nursing scholarships–an important cause supporting the pipeline of new nurses entering the field and working nurses attaining advanced education to meet workforce needs.

“The mission of the Institute for Nursing is to preserve the heritage, principles, values and practices of our
health profession through the support of scholarships, education and research,” said Margaret
Dangerfield (EdD, RN, CNE), chair of the Institute for Nursing, the foundation of NJSNA. “Our goals
include raising money to expand scholarship and research programs. We want to bring more nurses into
the profession and continue to develop quality educational programs to keep nurses current on major
advances in health care. This effort is vital to improving the quality of patient care in New Jersey.”

The 16 honorees also included four Rutgers School of Nursing alumni:

  • Lt. Col (r) Debbie Skeete-Bernard (MSN, MPA, MHCA, RN-BC, RN FN-CSA), patient aligned care coordinator at the Veterans Administration New Jersey Healthcare System;
  • Katherine Soss Prihoda (DNP, PPCNP-BC), clinical associate professor at Rutgers School of Nursing- Camden;
  • Rosita Rodriguez (DNP, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC, WHNP-BC), associate professor at Montclair State University—School of Nursing; and
  • Mary Wachter (MSN, RN), executive director, state & local government affairs at Genentech.

Flynn, one of the first graduates of Rutgers School of Nursing’s PhD in Nursing program, congratulated all of the Diva and Don awardees, particularly her fellow alumni. “I am so humbled and honored to be recognized alongside these distinguished nurse leaders who are making such great contributions to our profession,” she said. Flynn also celebrated the memory of the late Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, Sheila Y. Oliver, who was recognized posthumously.

As dean of Rutgers School of Nursing, Flynn oversees one of the nation’s highest-ranked, largest, and most comprehensive nursing schools. Under her leadership, the school is ranked No. 5 for its doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program and No. 14 for its master of science in nursing (MSN) program in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Programs 2024. Its bachelor’s degree program is ranked in the nation’s top 5 percent nationally. She is widely recognized for her extensive program of funded research on the effects of health care systems’ organizational culture and staffing levels on nurse and patient outcomes.

Completing her postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, her program of research has quantified those factors contributing to registered nurses’ burnout and intentions to leave their jobs and profession — issues of relevance to today’s nursing shortage.

Dean Linda Flynn and her husband, Roger Flynn.

She was one of the first researchers to extend this line of inquiry into post-acute settings such as nursing homes, home health, and dialysis centers. She was recently included on Stanford University’s list of the world’s top 2% nurse scientists.

Flynn recently established the school’s Center for Health Equity and Systems Research, serves as national chair of the Big Ten Academic Alliance Coalition of Nursing Deans, and chairs the Organization of Colleges of Nursing, New Jersey. Recognizing the severity of the nursing shortage, she launched the Rutgers School of Nursing’s well-received webinar series featuring distinguished nurse leaders from across the U.S. addressing critical issues affecting the nation’s nursing workforce. 

Understanding the need to enhance the workforce pipeline by increasing schools’ educational capacity, Dean Flynn spearheaded efforts that led to the expansion of nursing student admissions to Rutgers School of Nursing. She likewise led initiatives that facilitated a 50% increase in the number of students admitted to the school’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.

Dean Flynn is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine and an honorary senior fellow at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Her numerous awards include being one of only five recipients nationwide to receive the prestigious Nurse Educator of the Year Award from the National League for Nursing. She is also the 2023 recipient of the Nurse Recognition Award from the New Jersey League for Nursing. She received the Rutgers School of Nursing Outstanding Alumni Award in 2015.

Dr. Flynn earned her PhD in Nursing and her master’s degree in community health nursing from Rutgers. She is an undergraduate alumnus of the University of Maryland.