Jeffrey Anderson’s Story

Jeff holds a MBA, BSN, RN-BC..

He has worked as a nurse at CentraState Medical Center for the past 19 years. He has worked as an Emergency Department Nurse, an Administrative Coordinator, and most recently a Manager of the Medical Surgical department.

Jeff got involved with NJAC as a founder of the coaching program. He is the current coach (Ambassador) for Monmouth County. As a coach/Ambassador Jeff looks to connect with and recruit volunteer nurses to projects that would benefit them and their communities. Jeff feels it is important to be an example of what a volunteer nurse is. Through his role at the NJAC, Jeff has volunteered with multiple community organizations. The two programs he spoke about are facilitated by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. These two programs are the Mayors Wellness Challenge and the Conversation of Your Life (COYL) program.

The COYL program is a community outreach program to discuss end of life planning; such as advance directives, the options a person has, and how to have a conversation with your family regarding your wishes. The Mayors Wellness Challenge is a community program aimed at promoting population health through the community leaders.

Jeff’s involvement with COYL was not an area of expertise for Jeff. As a matter of fact, Jeff had very little knowledge of end-of-life resources. He attended a webinar on COYL that was presented by the NJAC to volunteer nurses. After the webinar Jeff spoke about the program with Dr. V. Sharma, a palliative care physician at CentraState. Dr. Sharma encourage Jeff to get together a group for Monmouth County as there was not a taskforce in this county. Jeff took Dr. Sharma’s advice and was able to start a Monmouth County COYL program.

As far as his involvement in the Mayors Wellness Challenge this was a natural progression to get involved in his hometown as he was already a volunteer EMT before becoming a nurse. Jeff was already familiar with volunteerism and the connections it forms to the community. In the past, Jeff was the Captain and Trustee of Freehold First Aid Squad. Volunteering and leading in this organization taught him the importance of networking and how interconnecting organizations is a very powerful and useful tool. These skills later on became useful as joining the Mayor’s Wellness Challenge (MWC) for Freehold Township allowed him to connect some of his resources at the hospital with the group.

The MWC offered a connection with a crop sharing organization. This was a collaboration with a local farm (Name, I will check with Jenn.) The organic farm allows you to purchase organic crops from their farm. They deliver a box of their ripe organic produce to the township’s municipal building weekly. From there, the residents who subscribe pick up their purchase once a week. Jeff and other members of the committee, who worked at CentraState, were able to connect the program with the Chief Medical Officer and a nutritionist. They were able to create recipe cards and video displays on how to make delicious meals out of the produce they would receive from the farm.

Another on going program through the MWC that Jeff is involved with is being physically active in the community. The MWC created an interactive park map of all the parks in their community. They used a grant from Google to obtain the Google Cam that allowed them to upload videos of each of their local parks for their interactive maps. There are multiple parks in Freehold Township and Jeff was happy to have mapped Michael J. Tighe Park as he and his family frequently utilize this park.

Jeff noted with pride that Freehold Township was awarded the Healthy Town Designation in 2019. This is an award by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute for healthy towns in New Jersey. It is an award that validates all of the hard work and commitment the Freehold MWC has put into their community.

Through his volunteer experiences, Jeff noted his networking and public speaking skills were fine tuned. He has had the opportunity to collaborate and network with different people in his community and CentraState. By coordinating programing for COYL, Jeff has had the opportunity to meet experts in the end-of-life field; locally in his community, in the state, and even on a national platform. The MWC has given Jeff the opportunity to work with local government officials and great people in his community. While Jeff’s network has increased through this experience, he has also had multiple opportunities to speak to groups with the NJAC and this has helped him grow with his public speaking skills.

Jeff feels that volunteering and giving of his time and abilities has helped him grow much more than he would of thought. From the start as a volunteer in his community doing EMS to growing with the NJAC and the community involvement, Jeff has always felt the time he spent volunteering rewarded him with more professional growth and pride than money could ever provide.

Take Away Message: Every time he’s volunteered, he’s grown. The return is far greater than the expenditure of the time.