Fueling lifelong learning

Every year, nurses and staff at St. Joseph’s receive donor-supported professional practice awards to turn their education dreams into reality – and improve patient care

Working as a nurse for more than 35 years, Jeannette Lydestad, RN, has taken many opportunities to further her education.

“Learning new things always keeps your mind active and young,” she says.

A woman (Jeanette Lydestad) wearing scrubs in an operating room

Recently, Jeannette realized her family needed the security of a full-time role – something not available in her position at the time.  

So, she decided to go back to school to recertify her nursing skills in the operating room. But taking a leave from work and paying for education comes at a cost. Fortunately, Jeannette was selected to receive a professional practice award, supported through the Dr. David B. and Zivia Anne Meltzer Nursing Professional Development Fund. It helped to ease the financial burden and allowed her to focus on her studies.

These awards are given annually to nursing staff across St. Joseph’s based on excellence in nursing for continuing education. The Meltzer award is one of many St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation offers through donor supported endowed funds. The funds have been specifically established by caring donors to provide financial assistance to help deserving individuals advance their education.

Jeannette is now working full-time in the operating room at St. Joseph’s Hospital and grateful for this positive change in her career. 

“I am enjoying being in this fast-paced environment. This generous award has enabled me to create new opportunities at work, and further my career without the added financial stress. My most sincere gratitude to the Foundation.”

Ashley Camden, BScN, also received a bursary award this past year – the Christine McQueen Memorial Fund for Nursing Education.

As the Coordinator of the 3B West Complex Care program at Parkwood Institute, Ashley knows that a strong clinical knowledge is critical to providing the best care to patients, who each have unique needs. Her workday involves connecting with a team of nurses, supporting patients, interacting with family and caregivers and collaborating with leaders across Parkwood. 

A woman (Ashley Camden) in a forest leaning up against a totem pole

She recently completed a Master’s of Health Studies while continuing to work full-time. Receiving the Christine McQueen award helped provide financial stability to finish her last two courses with less stress. She just finished the degree earlier this month, a commitment that she calls a privilege

Christine McQueen’s legacy of advancing patient care at St. Joseph’s lives on through this award that bears her name. Each year, it enables full- and part-time nurses at St. Joseph’s to advance their clinical knowledge through additional training.

By upgrading her education and working at the same time, Ashley was able to challenge herself to succeed and apply real-life examples to her studies. Her Master’s program has increased her abilities as a leader at St. Joseph’s, giving her more confidence to suggest ideas, speak up and advocate for the best possible care for patients with complex medical needs.

“The kindness of this award embodies the St. Joseph’s values, and I hope to be able to take this kindness and pay it back one day,” Ashley says.

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