WAMMC has a long history of supporting quality nursing at Morristown Medical Center. Early on, the Association helped staff the hospital with nurses and assisted with their housing and uniforms. In 1957, this interest evolved into a formal Scholarship Program, funded entirely by private donations. At that time, one scholarship of $500 would pay tuition costs for the entire three-year program.
Since its inception, the Scholarship Program has supported the staff at Morristown Medical Center by awarding scholarships to qualified hospital employees involved indirect patient care and pursuing careers in the health care field.
As tuition costs rose and recipient financial needs increased, generous donations made annually by WAMMC members, continued to underwrite the program. However, the early 1990s brought an economic downturn, which slowed the brisk pace of donations to the Scholarship Program and necessitated a new approach to ensure the program's future.
A Scholarship Trust Fund was established in 1995, with all scholarship contributions directly benefiting the fund. Presently, the Scholarship Committee spends only the interest generated annually by the fund. In this way, the invested principal remains intact, securing both the fund’s future and the Scholarship Program's mission. Additional annual funds are supported by the operating budget of WAMMC.
Since 1995, the steady growth of the fund has allowed WAMMC to increase both the number of scholarships offered and the amount of funding awarded. For example, since 2007 WAMMC increased the amount awarded from $10,000 to $44,000 in 2019. WAMMC largely attributes the steady growth of this program to the hard work of successful fundraising and the generous donations of WAMMC members.
2020 Scholarship Profiles
For 14 years, Melahat Ayhan has been a full-time staff nurse in the Operating Room at MMC. She has been performing in a variety of specialties, with a focus on Robotic Surgery. During this period, she has been an active member of AORN (Association of peri-Operative Registered Nurses) and, since 2006, a Certified Nurse in the Operating Room.
As a member of the Unit Based Governance Council, Melahat attends meetings and participates in decision making on improving policy and procedures. In addition to this effort to improve, she articulates in her unit’s education program by precepting newly hired nurses.
She has received the quarterly Employee Recognition Award in the Operating Room, nominated by cluster coordinators/supervisors in 2019. In 2019, she also received a WAMMC Scholarship Award which allowed her to take an additional course in her degree program. Previously she received the Joseph Alcaro Award given to the best nurse in OR, selected by the Chief of Department Surgery.
She continues to attend Thomas Edison State University MSN program in Nursing Informatics, planning to graduate in 2021. This new award from WAMMC brings graduation closer to reality for Melahat.
The degree will not only improve Melahat’s laudable abilities but will help MMC to continue to higher levels of excellence. Her degree is in Nursing Informatics, which directly relates to the rise of electronic health records. Her experience when MMC converted to EPIC for extensive, upgraded record-keeping made her more aware of the need for nurses to be able to work with patient data and computer systems, functioning in managerial and education positions while providing better direct patient care and staff support. These are ambitious goals but Melahat Ayhan has demonstrated her abilities and understanding of the need for continuing education.
WAMMC AWARDS 25 SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2020
Each year WAMMC Scholarships are awarded to outstanding Morristown Medical Center employees to help further their continued education, development and leadership skills in the hospital and healthcare field. In 2020 our Scholarship Awards Committee awarded $46,000 in scholarships to a total of 23 employees. In addition, our Chatham and Cromwell Twigs awarded scholarships to two individuals for a total of 25 employees receiving scholarship support.
We are grateful to all of our donors for their generous contributions to this program, enabling us to continue our Scholarship Program to assist hospital employees in attaining their advanced healthcare-related educations, which is critical to providing expert care for our patients.
Congratulations to all of the WAMMC 2020 Scholarship Awards Program recipients listed below.
Melahat Ayhan, Staff Nurse, Operating Room
Christina Bonanni, Registered Nurse, Pediatric Intensive Care
Susan Boyle, Geriatric, Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Department
Michelle Cohen, Inpatient Diabetes Nurse Educator, Diabetes Education
Abbey Cocuzza,, Registered Nurse, Gagnon 1
Steven Coughlin, Nurse Educator, Deskovick 2
Brittney Daley, Nurse Manager, Kahn 5/Deskovick 2
Boussso Diop, Nursing Assistant, Deskovick 4
Chrystal Disant, Lead Unit Educator, Surgical and Medical Intensive Care Units
Elizabeth Dyminski, Personal Care Technician, Emergency Department
Lisa Edwards, Registered Nurse, Gagnon A Cardiac Progressive Care Unit
Carolyn Fleischman, Registered Nurse, Pacemaker/ICD Center
Alcina Fonseca, Manager of Cardiac Surgery Units, Gagnon 5
Erin Giannantonio, Staff Charge Nurse, Gagnon 4
Aimee Goyette, Clinical Dietician, Pediatric Pulmonology
Brittany Hallock, Patient Care Facilitator, Davino 1 Orthopedic/Trauma Unit
Sarah Knauff, Registered Nurse, Simon 5
Taylor Lamia, Nursing Assistant, Medical Intensive Care Unit (Kahn 1 and 3)
Jamie Mardis, Registered Nurse, Kahn 5 and Deskovick 2
Courtney Price, Unit Associate, Goryeb
Nixzaliz Ramos, Certified Surgical Technologist, Operating Room D Floor
Nicole Ryan, Registered Nurse, Kahn 1
Michelle Sabella, Registered Pharmacist, MMC Pharmacy and Rockaway Infusion Pharmacy
Elisabeth Weah, Registered Nurse, Labor and Delivery
Christine Wendt, Clinical Specialist, Emergency Department
What are we looking for? The committee is in search of MMC employees with a proven employment record. Candidates typically possess high-ranking employee evaluations and are often described as, "Among the best in the department.” The candidates are often leaders in their field as members of honorary societies, as hospital committee chairs, or as participants in department studies. It is not unusual for our scholars to be as actively engaged in their local community, as they are in the workplace.
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