Nursing Program Hosts Alumni Meeting and Asks for Input


MCCC Nursing alumni are making a healthy difference – most certainly in hospitals, but also in rehabilitation centers, local schools, correctional facilities and quality assurance offices. They work in pediatric intensive care and as cancer care coordinators. They work days, evenings, nights, and weekends.

Despite their busy schedules, a group of 20 enthusiastic alumni gathered at the MCCC Conference Center on July 27 to discuss the founding of a Nursing alumni chapter. According to Nursing Education Director Linda Martin, MSN, nursing is the largest single program at the college. “Our graduates are all over the U.S., working, teaching, publishing, sometimes coming back to Mercer as instructors. This is a unique group of professionals with a lot to offer. The alumni group will provide a mechanism for them to plan what they can do to make a difference at the college and in the community.”

Some of the alumni in attendance were, standing from left, Nursing Director Linda Martin, Stacie Madia, Maria Troiani, Allison Shutack, Rachel Woodall-Thomas, Jackie Henri, Lynn Lutwin, and Rebecca Godofsky; kneeling Steve Novick (with son), May Konfong, Thomas Bonacci and Gary Fassler.

The group’s ideas for potential activities included: suggesting enhancements to the nursing curriculum, mentoring current students, suggesting courses that could be offered at the college to fulfill continuing education requirements (nurses are required to have 30 CEUs every two years), participating in a speaker’s bureau, providing workshops for colleagues and students, meeting for social events and career networking, speaking at student orientations, and developing a support group for new grads.

Martin updated the alumni on Nursing program news. Two labs are currently undergoing renovations, one that will be equipped with six new beds, four new mannequins – two of which exhibit real patient behaviors, such as heart beat, blood pressure, moaning and vomiting – new furniture, and 20 new lap top computers. The other lab, which has been funded through a $20,000 grant from Johnson and Johnson, will serve as the hub for Mercer’s new Direct Health Care Provider program. This program provides training that leads to certification as either a Certified Nursing Assistant and/or Home Health Aide in one semester.

Martin is so enthusiastic about the possibilities that she has been waking up at 3 a.m. with ideas. “I’ve got 15 pages of ideas. We can’t do all of them, but we can figure out what the alumni most need and what is most doable,” she said.

There may be another reason that Martin is excited by the possibilities of an alumni group. “They are like my babies. It’s very gratifying to have them come back and to hear about the wonderful work they are doing.” Martin noted, “Hospitals love our nurses. Our grads are better prepared than in many programs. Alumni can help to sell our programs. Word of mouth is the best advertising.”

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