Six new students are recognized for making a positive difference in the lives of their patients, their organizations, and the future of nursing.

November 2012—In September, Walden University awarded six incoming graduate students Nurse of the Year Scholarships. This scholarship recognizes nurses who are making a positive difference in the lives of their patients, their organizations, and the future of nursing.

This doctoral student received a full-tuition scholarship:

Michele WilliamsRecipient: Michele Williams
Hometown: Trappe, Md.
Title: Pain/palliative care specialist and clinical coordinator at Shore Health System in Easton, Md.
Program: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Professional Achievement: Williams worked with oncology nurses, their nurse manager, and the administration to develop a model of palliative care that complements the community hospice program by providing a homelike environment, around-the-clock registered nurse coverage, and privacy for families.

Professional Goal: “To initiate, shape, and develop a program that can remove regret, guilt, and/or unresolved conflicts from family members’ final days together.”

This doctoral student received $10,000:

Recipient: Roma Allen ’10
Hometown: Carol Stream, Ill.
Title: Director of women’s and children’s service at Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare
First Program: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Current Program: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Professional Achievement: Allen built a partnership between her hospital and a teaching facility to educate and mentor nursing staff to meet qualifications to care for premature newborns. As a result, all of the nurses were able to complete a clinical practicum to achieve a higher standard of nursing practice. Eighteen months later, Allen presented these outcomes to the state, which designated her organization as a Level IIE.

Professional Goal: “My mission this year is to collaborate with a midwifery program for patients desiring an alternative birth plan at my hospital; establish new partnerships through a community-based program, Positive Parenting; and advocate for standards and excellence in nursing practice to position my organization for achieving magnet status.”

This doctoral student received $5,000:

Maureen O'BrienRecipient: Maureen O’Brien
Hometown: Toms River, N.J.
Title: Critical care clinical specialist at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, N.J., and adjunct faculty member at Georgian Court University in Lakewood and Ocean County College in Toms River
Program: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Professional Achievement: O’Brien’s students frequently tell her that they had an “aha moment” in one of her classes and now understand something that was previously unclear to them. “Teaching is my calling and what I’m meant to do,” she says.

Professional Goal: “To study how new nurses and students can develop their clinical competence by expanding their basic skills and critical thinking. I will explore styles of learning that best promote student interest and proficiency.”

This master’s student received a full-tuition scholarship:

Recipient: Linda Sifuentes
Hometown: Pflugerville, Texas
Title: Trauma nurse at Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, Texas, and sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) for the Austin/Travis County SANE Team and at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center
Program: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Professional Achievement: As a sexual assault nurse examiner, Sifuentes provides comprehensive care to patients with interpersonal violence issues such as sexual assault and domestic violence; demonstrates the competency in conducting a medical/forensic exam; and testifies in court as an expert witness. “I chose to become trained and certified as a sexual assault nurse examiner because it is a unique specialty that blends nursing with the judicial system,” she explains.

Professional Goal: “I plan to continue working as a sexual assault nurse examiner and advance my training to become an emergency family nurse practitioner so that every victim of sexual assault who enters my emergency room will be seen by a trained sexual assault nurse examiner. My goal is to educate hospitals on the importance of having SANE programs and to recognize the importance of providing quality medical care and forensic evaluations to every sexual assault victim, no matter the place, time, or circumstances.”

This master’s degree student received $10,000:

Lisa ChambersRecipient: Lisa Chambers
Hometown: Lake Forest, Calif.
Title: Former nursing education consultant at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh and full-time student
Program: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Professional Achievement: Chambers helped institute a framework for a rapid-response team, wrote policies and protocols for the nursing department, and developed and taught training workshops to support the policies.

Professional Goal: “To work with my colleagues in the Bangladesh Nursing Council to start a master’s in nursing education. Teachers there need to be taught so that the gaps in nurses’ knowledge can be filled with evidence-based practice.”

This master’s degree student received $5,000:

Melissa WrenRecipient: Melissa Wren
Hometown: Peculiar, Mo.
Title: PRN infusion nurse at Biomed Pharmaceuticals and RN at Saint Luke’s Home Health and Hospice
Program: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Professional Achievement: A native of Peru, Wren has worked as a nurse and an interpreter in hospitals since the start of her career. She offers patients an outlet for their concerns and helps pair them with the resources and services they need to be healthy.

Professional Goal: “By becoming a healthcare provider, I will be better equipped to make an impact in the Latino community that I know so well. Ultimately, I hope to open a clinic in which underprivileged and underserved Latinos of Kansas City are able to receive the healthcare services that they need.”