Nursing Leader Leaves Legacy of Excellence

By: Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, Nurse Editor/Nurse Executive
Jan Lynch, RN

Jan Lynch, RN

In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Nurse.com (Nursing Spectrum), the magazine is celebrating the accomplishments of 25 key members of the New York/New Jersey nursing community in 2013.

I had the pleasure of speaking and connecting with a number of nursing colleagues of Rich Hader, RN, PhD, FAAN, CHE, NE-BC, CPHQ.  He served as senior vice president and CNO at New Jersey’s Meridian Health, for 13 years, where he is remembered for his ceaseless commitment to promoting the highest standards of nursing practice before his death March 25.

“He touched so many lives in so many ways, and he left all of us a rich and amazing legacy,” said Mary Ann T. Donohue, RN, PhD, APN, NEA-BC, vice president and CNE, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune Township, N.J. “And with all of his professional accomplishments, he will always be remembered as a wonderful husband and father.”

Under his leadership, Meridian Health became the first health system in the country to earn Magnet recognition, and the system has maintained that designation since 1998.

With the support of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant funding, Dr. Hader led the transformation of nursing practice and patient care at Meridian facilities, which has become a best practice model for other facilities throughout the country.

To improve the quality of nursing care within the community, Dr. Hader and his administrative colleagues spearheaded a collaboration between Meridian and Georgian Court University, Lakewood Township, N.J. As a champion of the Seton Hall University accelerated BSN program at Georgian Court, Dr. Hader helped to establish the Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing.

“An amazing colleague and friend, Rich was extremely proud of the school, the first generic program in Monmouth and Ocean counties,” said Teri Wurmser, RN, PhD, MPH, NEA-BC, director of the Ann May Center for Nursing and Allied Health, Meridian, and chairwoman of the Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing. The four-year nursing program graduated its first class in May 2012, where Dr. Hader was the keynote speaker and received an honorary doctorate in health.

He served as editor-in-chief of the journal Nursing Management, and he influenced national health policies and inspired nurses through his publications, presentations and coaching.

In February, Meridian’s board of trustees dedicated The Richard Hader Institute for Clinical Integration in honor of Dr. Hader’s passionate pursuit of more seamless, collaborative patient-centered care.

“I have received countless phone calls from nurses who have been influenced by Rich to go back to school, to become nationally certified and to engage in research and evidence-based practice,” Teri Wurmser said at the dedication ceremony.

In 2012, he received the Living Legend award from the New Jersey State Nurses Association and the New Jersey Organization of Nurse Executives. That year, he also received the Margaret C. Haley Award from Seton Hall. In 2011, he was honored by the New Jersey Hospital Association for his dedication to the advancement of the profession of nursing. He received numerous other awards during his lifetime, such as Certified Nurse of the Year from the American Nurses Credentialing Center; the Healthcare Leader Award from the New Jersey Hospital Association; the Governor’s Award; and the Spirit of Meridian Award, which is the system’s highest honor. He was also a distinguished fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

“Rich transformed careers; many of us know that we would not be achieving the height and breadth of our career goals if it weren’t for him,” said Kathleen Russell-Babin, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, ACNS-BC. “And he transformed environments. He possessed the ability to mold a vision into reality.”

An amazing man, Dr. Hader leaves all of us a rich legacy of excellence, and we will always remember him for all that he accomplished for us and for the profession.

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One Response to Nursing Leader Leaves Legacy of Excellence

  1. Thom Bastian says:

    As someone who has been directly affected by Dr. Hader’s leadership, I couldn’t agree more with your piece! His legacy will be felt for countless years to come.

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