Celebration acknowledges nurses who take time to mentor and work with students

Nick Walton

31 professional nurses honored for their contribution to KSU

In many majors at Kent State, students are guided through their majors with help from professional practitioners.

The practitioners who give their time to help nursing students are making a sacrifice to help educate.

“If you’re a nurse on a unit, it’s very difficult because the patients are very sick, the demand is very high, the pace is very rapid,” said Laura Dzurec, dean of the College of Nursing. “Those nurses who are willing to work with students take on an extra challenge.”

The nurses were recognized for their work with students on Saturday at the third annual Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Award Celebration. Donaho is a long time supporter of the College of Nursing and is president emeritus of St. Anthony’s Health Care Center in St. Petersburg, Fla. Thirty-one practitioners received awards after being nominated by students and faculty from the College of Nursing.

“It’s long been my personal belief that the educational experience that is attained through mentors – whatever title you want to give to them,” Donaho said during a speech on Saturday. “The graduate nurses in the clinical studies will make or break an educational experience for a student.”

Dzurec said the evening represented the generosity of Donaho and her forward thinking.

“Barbara’s gift to nursing has always been vision about the future and that is what she exemplifies here,” Dzurec said. “I don’t know anyone else who recognizes the preceptors and the folks who are not thanked for the work they do with students – her gift is beyond the monetary support she provides, to the philosophical support she provides for this event.”

For junior nursing major Lauren Schultz, nominating Melissa Gross, a registered nurse from the Summa Health System, represents appreciation of her sacrifices.

“I nominated her because nurses don’t get paid any extra to take a student, so she is taking on an extra load of having students there and not making any extra (money),” Schultz said. “A lot of times you’ll go into the clinical, and nurses don’t want to have students because they don’t want that extra load – she wanted as many students as she could get.”

Schultz said it was a relief to have Gross as a mentor because she was willing to change her work schedule in order to help the students.

For Diane Duff, a graduate student who graduates in May, Denise Boville, a nurse practitioner in the internal medicine center in the Summa Health System, has helped prepare her for after graduation.

“I really couldn’t do it without a mentor because she’s role modeling for me what I’ll be doing in a short time,” Duff said. “Just watching her do her job and showing me the professionalism and the knowledge she has, it’s just amazing to watch her.”

Dzurec said the mentoring through the College of Nursing shows students how to be professional after graduation.

“It helps the students to see how they can be once they’re finished,” Dzurec said. “The less time we spend worrying about the kind of support we’re going to get from our peers, the more time we can spend worrying about the quality of patient care.”

Contact health reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].