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Saint Francis RNs Win McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarships

Three nurses at Saint Francis Hospital and Health Centers in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., are recipients of the Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship, which, through the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, is offered to RNs to increase the number of educators and adjunct clinical faculty teaching nursing education in New York state.

Scholarship winners Jean Walsh, RN, BSN, CEN, trauma coordinator; Peg Gallagher, RN, BSN, clinical coordinator, ED; and Bernadette Ryan, RN, BSN, per diem float nurse, are enrolled at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., in the nurse practitioner program. Upon completion of the program, they will receive a master’s of science degree in family nursing.

Bernadette Ryan, RN

“Because of the courses and clinical experience, I now focus in on patients’ diagnoses and treatment options, as well,” Walsh said. “Having completed two years of the program, I am totally engaged and feel that I have already become a better person, nurse and trauma coordinator.”

The three-year FNP program includes courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, human assessment, nursing theory, transcultural health, research, healthcare trends and adult health. During the program, all students participate in a practicum, which translates to 600 hours of clinical care with a nurse practitioner or practicing physician, and they also must complete a clinical research utilization project, in which they apply evidence-based research.

Peg Gallagher, RN

“In my project, I am looking at injury prevention and elderly drivers in the community. I plan to assess elderly drivers’ knowledge and look at the issue of when to stop driving for personal safety and the safety of others,” Walsh said.

Walsh brings seven years of ED experience and six years as trauma coordinator to the program. “You need to have a strong clinical background to receive the scholarship, and it’s critical to have the nursing knowledge and clinical care experience as you go through the program,” Walsh said.

Recently, Ryan spent 50 hours with a practicing physician, and she was able to see patients in his office and participate in hospital rounds with him, doing assessments and making diagnoses. “Now I understand why certain medications or treatment choices are selected for specific patients,” Ryan said. “And I can help patients make better choices, for example, with over-the-counter medications and food and herbal supplements.”

After graduation, Ryan wants to be a clinical instructor and work in the hospital setting as a nurse practitioner. Walsh will remain with the Saint Francis trauma team and transition into the role of trauma nurse practitioner, while serving as a clinical instructor.

For Gallagher, the return to school has broadened her knowledge base and challenged her in more ways than she anticipated. “In the classroom setting, I’ve learned so much, for example, how to present my ideas and speak in front of a group,” she said. “I have opened my mind, learned never to limit myself and not to be afraid.”

Along with 25 years of ED experience, Gallagher has taught as a clinical adjunct faculty person, and it was in that position she realized how much she enjoyed educating nursing students. “Teaching forced me to stay current, and the students’ dedication and enthusiasm reminded me of why I chose nursing in the first place,” she said.

Jean Walsh, RN, left, and Bernadette Ryan, RN

Along with teaching, Gallagher hopes to broaden her role and assume an NP position in an ED or an urgent care facility.

Awards are made on a competitive basis to applicants who are RNs enrolling in graduate programs that qualify them as nursing faculty or adjunct clinical faculty. The award covers program attendance up to $20,000 annually or the average SUNY cost of attendance, whichever is less. Recipients must complete their graduate program within three years of receiving the scholarship.

Successful applicants are required to complete a service contract in which they agree to provide at least 12 academic credit hours or its equivalent as nursing faculty or as adjunct clinical faculty providing teaching service for four years at an institution in New York state after finishing the graduate program. They also must agree to begin fulfilling the four-year service obligation within three years of completing the graduate program. For information about the scholarship program, visit

By | 2020-04-15T14:39:43-04:00 July 12th, 2010|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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