Four Saint Xavier University (SXU) students from the School of Nursing have been awarded scholarships of $2,500 each from the Blue Island Community Healthcare Foundation. The recipients are Bridget Allen of Blue Island, Jennifer Hodorowicz from Palos Heights, Christie Lewis from Hometown, and Kaylin Schrader of Oak Lawn.
Bridget Allen, a Marist High School graduate, plans to go into critical care nursing, preferably in an emergency room. She chose to pursue nursing as a career after having minor surgery on her back. Allen says, “The nurses who took care of me pre and post op were really nice and caring and made me want others to feel like that too.”
Jen Hodorowicz, also a Marist graduate, works on the mental health floor at Mercy Hospital and is considering graduate school after completing her R.N., possibly to become a nurse anesthetist. She expects to float to other departments at Mercy, but she requested mental health first because “there are many social stigmas about the mentally ill that are unfounded; mental health patients are no different than any other patients at the hospital seeking help.”
Christie Lewis, a certified nursing assistant (CNA), works at Advocate Christ Medical Center on the adult rehab floor, along with fellow CNA, Kaylin Schrader. Both SXU students are graduates of Oak Lawn Community High School and appreciate the experience they’re getting at Christ, noting that the adult rehab floor is a great place to learn because it affords them the “chance to work with stroke and cardiac patients as well as those who have suffered spinal cord injuries,” and, because the hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center, people with gunshot wounds can also get help.
Lewis says, “All those hours spent in hospitals as a teen due to diabetes (she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 15), visits with my mom, a breast cancer survivor for four years, and the many great nurses her family saw during those times as her collective inspiration to become a nurse.”
Kaylin Schrader had planned to attend SXU for nursing since the age of 10. “My neighbor was studying nursing at SXU, and when I’d see her after class, she’d tell me how awesome it was,” she explains. “I still keep in touch with her—she actually works at Christ!” Even though her mind was made up at a young age, Schrader notes that the process hasn’t always been so simple: “As the first person in my family to go to college, figuring it all out has taken a lot of willpower.” Although she realizes it will be emotionally difficult, upon earning her R.N., Kaylin plans to work in pediatric oncology.
These experiences, along with a quality SXU education, are sure to make them all excellent nurses in the future.
Founded in the 1970s as a supporting organization for St. Francis Hospital, Blue Island Community Healthcare Foundation continues the legacy started by St. Francis Hospital, which operated as a nonprofit in Blue Island, IL for over a century. The organization now funds various charitable groups that serve the area in providing such services as health screenings, programs for disabled children and adults, assistance for those with mental illness and addiction, and nursing education.
All four recipients are grateful to Blue Island Community Healthcare Foundation for its generous gift.