Colleen McDonnell, a 2008 Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (EASTERN) Allied Health and Upper Moreland High School graduate, recently received the Nurse Excellence Award for National Nurses Week. This award was presented to Colleen at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health where she has been working as a registered nurse at for the past three years since graduating from the Abington Memorial Hospital Dixon School of Nursing. The Nurse Excellence Award is a peer-nominated award chosen by the unit council at Abington.
She currently works in Abington Hospital’s observation unit, which is considered an extension of the Emergency Department. In this unit, nurses monitor patients from 24 to 48 hours in order to determine if the patient should be admitted to the hospital.
Starting out as a new nurse was very overwhelming for Colleen, but she credits her nurse manager, Mike Sangiardi, and her coworkers for helping her get through the more difficult transition times and for encouraging her to be a leader on her floor. She now assists with all admissions that come from the Emergency Department.
Even as a child, she was interested in the medical field. Coming from a large family, helping others was part of who she was, and she wanted to find a way to make helping people a career. She found out about the Allied Health program at EASTERN through her older sister who graduated from the Culinary Arts program in 2007, and who is now a Culinary Arts Instructional Aide at EASTERN.
“Once I experienced going to the hospital every week through EASTERN’s Allied Health program, I felt called to be a nurse,” said McDonnell. “I saw all of these remarkable nurses caring for people, and I felt as though this is what I am supposed to be doing. Mrs. Kalita, my Allied Health Instructor, provided an amazing example of how a nurse should be and truly inspired me.”
Allied Health at EASTERN is designed for high school seniors who plan to continue their education in college to prepare for a career in the health field.