NEW YORK NURSE: July/August 2008
by Randi Hoffman
For the first time, NYSNA has awarded two scholarships to students of nursing. One recipient is pursuing doctoral studies at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., the other is beginning her undergraduate degree at Adelphi University on Long Island.
The Secor Scholarships were established in 2007 with a generous bequest by long-time NYSNA member Jane Secor. Each recipient will receive $5,000 to aid in their study of nursing. The funds are specifically earmarked for two scholarships, one for a family member of a NYSNA member studying for a first degree in nursing, and the second for a member earning a baccalaureate or higher degree. Both awardees were chosen by the Board of Directors from a field of qualified applicants.
Allison Vital is the daughter of NYSNA member Evangeline Vital, who works at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center. Having just graduated from Francis Lewis High School in Queens, she is enrolled at Adelphi University for the fall semester. Her excellent academic record has also led to an invitation to participate in Adelphi’s prestigious Honors College.
“It was during my freshman year in high school that I knew I wanted to pursue such a career (in nursing),” Vital wrote on her scholarship application. “My biology class opened my eyes to the wonder of human life . . . I remember how excited I was explaining to my parents the functions of the circulatory system, the parts of the brain, and the pathway through the ear.”
Mary Ann Caswell is an experienced nurse from Heuvelton, N.Y., who is currently pursuing her doctorate in nursing practice at Purdue University. Her doctoral work is in developing and utilizing the teaching tool of high-fidelity simulation, a method of providing nursing students with acute care experiences in a controlled environment that incorporates immediate feedback.
“The use of high-fidelity simulation in the educational setting will improve students’ general competence and confidence, thereby increasing patient safety, improving patient outcomes, and decreasing the length of orientation in the work setting” wrote Caswell in her application. Her interest in developing better ways to communicate with students stems from the four years she spent as a clinical instructor in the nursing program of a technical college in Canton, N.Y.
Over the years, Caswell has served as a collective bargaining representative for NYSNA and a district nurses association board member. She previously worked in the ICU at Claxton Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, N.Y.