Rosemary Smentkowski

Rosemary Smentkowski

Credentials: MSN, RN, CARN

Place of Employment: Georgian Court University

Which Nursing Organizations are you currently a member of: ANA, IntNSA, APNA, STTI, NJSNA

Board(s) currently serving on: Addiction Nursing Certification Board, STTI (home Chapter), Monmouth County Board of Addiction Services


Tell us about your journey to the boardroom. What inspired you to seek a leadership position?

A local assembly woman held a round table discussion about the opiate crisis. I called and asked to be invited. There were 20+ people going around the table giving input to the question, “who is missing from this table?” I was last to go and said “nurses, I’m the only nurse here. Nurses need to be invited to the war on drugs.” I was sitting next to our Board of Addiction Services. He turned to me and said, ” I don’t have a nurse on my board, would you consider it?” I’ve been serving ever since. My first nursing board position was on IntNSA. Dottie Shoemaker reached out to me after meeting at a conference. She said, “they need you.” I said, “I don’t have anything to offer.” She said, “of course you do!” With her coaxing, I got elected to the IntNSA and now serve as chair of the Addiction Nursing Certification Board.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I began my nursing career as an LPN. Working and being mentored by the best of the best, (board colleagues) I’ve earned MSN in education. Currently (at age 63) I’m enrolled in post masters PMHNP program due to complete this December. My philosophy as a life learner keeps me involved and hungry for continued involvement.

What impact have you had serving on a board? Example?

On a community level, I brought the first nursing CEs to the annual conference and promote nursing education wherever I go. On a nursing level ANCB is rapidly moving our exam forward to ABNSC accreditation! This is major! I am thrilled to be a part of this process!

What advice would you give someone going into a board leadership position for the first time?

Learn the lay of the land, know the purpose, mission, and bylaws. Believe in what the board stands for and how your personal philosophy, mission and purpose fit with the organization.

What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader and eventually obtaining a board position?

Join ANA and your state’s nursing association. There will be leaders waiting to embrace you and take you under their wing.

Why do you feel it is important for nurses to serve on boards?

Nursing brings an art and science like no other! Loretta Ford had it right when she said, “Get to the table and be a player, or someone who does not understand nursing will do that for you.”

What do you think is the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards?

The imposter syndrome. Nurses work hard to learn their skills, yet always seem to think someone smarter than themselves should be on boards. We need to get over that! Mentors and preceptors are key!


Rosemary Smentkowski MSN, RN, CARN October 30, 2017

Boards: Addiction Nursing Certification Board, STTI (home Chapter), Monmouth County Board of Addiction Services
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Nurses on Boards Coalition