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.
2019 Scholarship Profiles
Karen Fitzpatrick, RN, BSN, staff nurse Critical Care Unit (CCU)-Gagnon A, has been an employee of MMC for 30 years. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Northern NJ Association of Critical Care Nurses, American Association of Critical Care Nurses and has been Critical Care RN certified since 2010.
Karen has been administering TB screenings in the CCU since 2008 and is the Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis resource nurse since 2012. She has also been a Professional Advancement Clinical Track (PACT) participant for many years, and for the last five years has been the scheduling coordinator for the CCU. Karen has made herself available 24/7 for staffing issues in the unit and also participates in the interview process when hiring new staff members.
Karen has shared that she firmly believes in supporting her colleagues and has spent many day and night shifts to cover sick calls and difficult-to-staff shifts to help provide a safe patient ratio. As a student at Walden University, Fitzpatrick aims for a degree in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and is looking forward to graduating in 2020. Karen believes this program has enabled her to be a better nurse with advanced critical thinking skills and is helpful to her career and vital to the patients she serves. In addition to her ten years in the cardiac critical care unit, she also has three year’s experience in cardiothoracic nursing and 17 years as a Nephrology nurse. Upon graduation, Karen plans to pursue a position as a Nephrology Nurse Practitioner.
Susan Gramcko, CCU Interim Nurse Manager, recommended Karen for a scholarship. Susan stated that “Karen has a commendable work ethic and focuses on making sure every employee is content with their work schedule, which is no small task. Along with her responsibilities as a wife and a mother, she appears to easily balance scheduling and bedside nursing. Karen is described as kind, caring and compassionate with excellent communication skills. Her care and patience are exhibited in all of her endeavors.”
Karen is an integral part of the CCU leadership team, dedicated to the unit, patients, family and coworkers. Susan Gramcko further commented that she would have difficulty leading the unit without the support and participation of Karen Fitzpatrick.
What are we looking for? The committee is in search of MMC or ARI employees with a proven employment record, rooted in the nursing profession. Our 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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