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“Battles Hard Fought”: A Video Story of Pioneering Advanced Practice Nurses

Context of Making the Video

Within the United States, each state and territory has the legal authority to restrict or enable nursing practice, including advanced nursing practice. Pioneer nursing leaders from the state of New Jersey were videotaped to create a compelling narrative of the development and passage of the first state Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist bill which granted these providers legal titling and prescriptive authority in the state. These leaders were all associated with the New Jersey State Nurses Association between 1974-1994, the time period during which this story takes place. New Jersey was chosen as an exemplar state because one of the authors had extensive original documents in her personal files related to this history, access to the NJSNA archives at Rutgers University, and continuing personal and professional connections to the original participants.

On the national level, written histories exist of the early Nurse Practitioner (NP) educational and national organization history, but stories from the states where the battles for scope of practice laws were originally won are rarer. It was the intention of this New Jersey video project to professionally record early nursing policy leaders who made practice legally possible for NPs at the state level.  The authors recognized the need to create the video while access to early leaders was still possible and to provide them with recognition for their accomplishments.

While many nurses contributed to the earliest advanced practice policy initiatives in New Jersey,  nine participants were selected based on their distinctive key roles in this story, and six participated. In advance of the interview, each interviewee was given an historical timeline and a list of guided questions to be addressed as a memory stimulus. The answers were intended to be spontaneous, not memorized. A professional audiographer and a cinematographer worked together to complete the interviews. The two authors shared interviewing responsibilities. The video was edited to incorporate more than 7 hours of interviews, with relevant historical documents, photos, and newspaper clippings into a twenty-minute documentary story. 

The individual accounts that emerged from each of the interviewees were candid, often surprising and always compelling. Together, through voices heard for the first time in a unique format, they tell how advanced practice nursing was made legally possible in the state of New Jersey.

Carolyn Torre RN, MA, APN, FAANP and Kim Curry, PhD, FNP-C, FAANP;


To View the Documentary, Please use THIS LINK 

Then, scroll down to  "New Documentary Gives Voice to Early Nursing Policy Leaders." 

If you are interested in using the documentary for educational purposes, please contact Carolyn Torre directly. (The author kindly asks that you not post the video on social media or YouTube). 


Credits for “Battles Hard Fought” Video

Producers: Carolyn Torre RN, MA, APN, FAANP; Kim Curry RN, PhD, FNP-C, FAANP

Crew: Travis Ruscil, Audiographer; Jay Wes, Videographer

Writer (Historical timeline; interviewee questions; text): Carolyn Torre

Editors: Travis Ruscil, Carolyn Torre, Giselle Ramos

Interviewers: Kim Curry; Carolyn Torre 

Interviewees (in order of appearance)

  • Barbara Wright, RN, PhD, FAAN: Executive Editor, NJ Nurse (NJSNA)
  • Carolyn Torre, RN, MA, APN, FAANP: Nursing Policy Consultant 
  • Andrea Aughenbaugh RN, MSN, APN: CEO NJSNA (retired) 
  • Lucille Joel RN, EdD, APN: Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University College of Nursing
  • Chris Reynolds, RN, BA, APN: Analyst, NJ Family Planning League (retired)
  • Kathleen McDonald, RN, MSN, APN: Family Nurse Practitioner (retired) 
  • Judy Schmidt, RN, MSN: CEO, NJSNA (audio statement)


NJSNA Archives: Boxes 16-67 and NJ Nurse, 1976-2000 : Special Collections and University Archives,  Rutgers University Libraries, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Carolyn T. Torre, Nursing-Related Archives: Princeton, New Jersey

Grant SupportUniversity of Virginia Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry.

In-Kind Support: New Jersey State Nurses Association

In Memoriam: Dorothy Flemming, Harriet Berliner, Wynona Lipman, Ann Mullen

Thanks to: All the many others who contributed to the evolution and passage of first NP/CNS bill, but in particular, Amy Mansue, Gov. James Florio, Susan Reinhard, Gayle Pearson, Cindy Hughes.


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