What happens when people invest in scholarships for students they’ve never met? The greater good of the community is served. This is especially demonstrated by two enterprising Colorado Mountain College nursing students who have achieved high grades while creating greatly needed scholarships for other nursing students.
Paula McNeil and Mischel Mosbey both received CMC Foundation nursing scholarships in their quest to become Registered Nurses and get Associate Degrees in Science of Nursing.
They are almost at their goal, with a few short days of classes left and state board tests looming ahead. Both have achieved outstanding grade point averages. Both are working as LPNs at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle. Both pause in any sentence to warmly greet aging residents who wander by for a sunny smile from the two.
But their goodness doesn’t end there. Seeing their peers struggle financially while studying for a demanding profession, the two have just wrapped up fund-raising to benefit fellow nursing students. McNeil gathered classmates, including Mosbey, into a group they call Student Nurses Organization and scoured the community for donations, raising more than $4,000.
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The money provides two nursing scholarships to LPNs aspiring to become RNs. It creates an Emergency Assistance Fund for student nurses at CMC. It pays for expenses for this year’s RN class to attend the NCLEX review for state boards in Denver. And it helps students attend state conventions at which they make career contacts.
“Becoming a nurse is a challenging commitment that does not leave time for students to support themselves financially. Scholarships help students focus on becoming great nurses, and address the shortage of qualified nurses,” says Carol Brown, CMC Foundation Specialist.
Mosbey says her Robert and Elizabeth Fergus Foundation Scholarship set a turning point in her life. Her husband had left her a few days before she started nursing school, and she had children to raise. “It had an impact on me when I received the money. I felt so much more obligated to finish and do well, because someone I didn’t know gave me almost $5,000, and the committee chose me to get the scholarship. I sent the Fergus family a graduation announcement and a ‘thank you’ from my heart!” The Fergus scholarship was established just last year, and Mosbey and CMC student Michael Wanhala are the first recipients.
McNeil’s scholarship came from donations at last year’s CMC Foundation Nursing Scholarship Benefit Dinner. She says, “I couldn’t have done any of this without the scholarship I received. It has brought me full circle from needing help to giving help. Because there were people who cared enough to pay for my education, I felt very, very challenged to be the best nurse I could be. I love nursing; it has been the most fulfilling two years of my life.” She received the Spotlight Student of Colorado award from the Colorado Student Nurses Association.
Mosbey has accepted a job at Denver’s St Joseph’s Hospital in Critical Care Stepdown taking care of patients after surgery. McNeil is looking forward to working as an RN at Rifle’s Colorado State Veteran’s Nursing Home to support her husband as he heads to CMC to switch careers from construction to law enforcement.
“Hi, buddy!” the girls call out in unison to a short elderly man at the veteran’s home. “Hi, little buddies,” he greets back, and comes over to tickle the top of each girl’s shoulder.
Help students like McNeil and Mosbey by attending the 4th Annual CMC Nursing Scholarship Benefit Dinner and Auction at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Zocalito’s Latin Bistro in Carbondale. Tickets are $75; contact Joyce Usher at 947-8378.
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