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2016 Recipients of the Lucretia H. Richter Nursing Scholarships

In keeping with our program of enlisting a guest speaker, this year's luncheon speaker was Robert Dornan MS, RN-BC, CCRN. Robert is currently the Pediatric Trauma Manager at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Robert presented his thoughts on "The Changing Face of Nursing-Men". As one who pursued a career in nursing in the days when men were scarce in the profession, Robert spoke of the benefits and disappointments, as well as the humor, that were a part of his experience. With three of our five recipients this year being young men, Robert's presentation was both timely and enlightening.

We congratulate all of this year's recipients and wish them all the best as they complete their training and enter the rewarding profession of Nursing.

2016 Scholarship Recipients (left to right): Shannon R. Pessin, Finger Lakes Health College of Nursing, Natalie A. Honsinger, University of Rochester, Jose Perpignan, University of Rochester, Robert W. Connor, SUNY College at Brockport, Andrew J. Gudonis, SUNY College at Brockport.

Robert spoke of his early fascination with human physiology, an interest that deepened as his mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Robert became involved in her care by age 12. His own injuries from a car accident at 16 and subsequent hospital admission gave him the opportunity to witness the work of the nursing staff. It was their professional and compassionate care that got him "back on my feet and out of the hospital". He knew then that it was the professional he wished to pursue. Robert's emotion was evident as he described his journey through the nursing program at SUNY Brockport, overshadowed by the recent and difficult loss of his mother during this period. Robert was accompanied by his Asst. Clinical Professor, Karilee Bingham.

Andy recounted his experiences in Brockport that launched his foray into nursing, notably, his years in fire service and Emergency Medical Services. As an EMT with the Brockport Fire Department, Andy realized the satisfaction that comes with helping neighbors in their time of need. He realized also that he could visualize a career in healthcare. Beginning as a patient care tech at Highland Hospital, Andy recognized the responsibilities of various members of the healthcare team but especially witnessed the care and compassion for patients exhibited by the nursing staff. Having begun his experience in pre-hospital emergency care, Andy hopes to pursue critical care nursing with the advanced certifications that will support his knowledge and his practice. Andrew shared his day with his fiancee, Ashley Meiers, and his Asst. Clinical Professor, Tammy Farnham.

Natalie arrived in the nursing program with some significant experiences behind her. A college study abroad program in Morocco gave her a view of a world few high school students have seen, one of poverty and disability beyond her imagination. After completing her B.A. in Global Studies, Natalie volunteered to teach English in Chile, a skill that makes achievement more likely for Chileans. She returned to the States after two and half years. Watching her mother, a nurse, and her aunt, a P.A., care for her dying grandmother gave her the inspiration to help others through nursing. Natalie hopes to continue her education to Family Nurse Practitioner and on to the field of midwifery.

As with many students in nursing programs, Jose related an experience in healthcare that cemented his resolve to further his education and to join the nursing profession. Caring for an elderly patient at the end stages of congestive heart failure, Jose was able to see past the illness, past the dying patient, to the husband and father who was leaving his family behind. When the patient's wife stepped out for a needed break, Jose took the opportunity to wash him, trim his beard, "cut his hair and slick it back" in the manner to which he was accustomed. Upon her return, his wife was overwhelmed with his appearance: it was once again the man she had married 37 years earlier. The routine tasks of patient care seemed so trivial at that point when the psychosocial needs had loomed so large and made such a difference in the patient's-and the family's-experience with saying good-bye. Jose also spoke of his family in New York City and the difficult circumstances of a large family and limited resources. As the oldest, Jose hopes that, in his successful education in nursing, he will be setting the bar for his younger siblings, demonstrating the achievement possible through hard work and dedication.

After losing her stepfather to cancer and her grandmother to Alzheimer's Disease, and participating in their care, Shannon was convinced that nursing was her calling. With an opportunity to shadow a nurse in the Emergency Department during high school, the conviction grew stronger. With graduation in May 2017, Shannon plans on pursuing her Bachelor's Degree and beyond. Working so closely with terminal family members, Shannon quickly recognized that nursing is so much more than tending to physical needs, that nursing treats the whole person, including their comfort and emotional support. Shannon invited Deanna Mills, Associate Nursing Professor.