Second cohort of Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing scholarship recipients look to opportunities ahead

Amidst the backdrop of an acute care nursing shortage and the pressing need for workforce diversification, the MGH Institute’s School of Nursing continues to expand its role to enhance the workforce pipeline at hospitals within the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.

For the second year, scholarships have been given to three high-performing Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students in their final semester. Each scholarship comes with $10,000 and a two-year work commitment at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) or Mass Eye and Ear (MEE)

“We’re thrilled that these partnerships are expanding throughout the Mass General Brigham system,” said School of Nursing Dean Dr. Ken White. “The hospitals will get exceptionally prepared new nurses who are familiar with MGH and MEE. They have done clinical rotations there, know the nurses, and have experience working with the interprofessional teams. Our students have incredible opportunities working in these nationally renowned hospitals.”

Each of the three scholarship recipients had their own motivation to enroll at the MGH Institute and become a nurse. They all share a common goal of wanting a career in which they will make a difference in the lives of patients.

After earning a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts Boston, Catherine Callahan, a 29-year-old from Weymouth, worked at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on breast cancer clinical trials as a research coordinator and then as assistant clinical research manager. She continued working on clinical trials at Foundation Medicine, where she helped academic medical centers run clinical trials using the Boston cancer research company’s genetic testing. While she enjoyed the work, Callahan realized that a corporate environment really wasn’t for her. 

“There were now too many degrees of separation between me and the patients, and I wanted to have a more direct impact on them,” said Callahan. “I thought becoming a nurse would be a better way for me to help them.”

Her preceptorship at MEE gave her invaluable experiences working with post-op surgical patients. “It is such a helpful jumping-off point for us as we transition from graduates to full-time nurses because we build foundational skills, get crucial hours in person with patients, and are taught by experts in our field,” she said. 

Callahan, who will spend at least the next two years at Mass Eye and Ear, said she was looking forward to the sense of belonging and readiness to cultivate foundational nursing skills.

“There are so many connections within the MGB system. I am always surrounded by so many recent grads from the IHP School of Nursing or teaching assistants from my classes who I recognize and who know we are capable,” she said. 

For Laura Bostwick, 35, nursing marks a transition from a decade-long career in healthcare consulting. She has a bachelor’s in sociology from Colgate University and a master's in public health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bostwick began her career working as a client engagement director at the e-learning company Amplifire, then became a director of client success at the healthcare company Optum, and then was an analyst at global professional services firm, Towers Watson

“Though I learned a lot and enjoyed my experiences on the corporate side of healthcare, I always felt like something was missing,” Bostwick said. “I really wanted to gain clinical experience, connect one-on-one with patients, and really make a difference in people’s lives.”

Her preceptorship in the operating room at Mass Eye and Ear reinforced the experience of working with students and professionals in other disciplines.

“Having interprofessional experiences working with students from other programs at the IHP translates to, for example, the operating room, where you interact with different people, personalities, doctors, nurses, and patients,” she noted. “This will be very valuable when I'm working.” 

Danielle Silva’s interest in healthcare stemmed from childhood experiences of visiting her great aunt and grandmother in the hospital. It spurred the 23-year-old Wilmington resident to work as a nursing assistant at Lahey Hospital in Burlington after graduating with a degree in kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Becoming a registered nurse was the next logical step to care for patients. 

“I was really drawn to the IHP’s program because of the number of clinical hours I’d be completing within the Mass General Brigham system,” she said. “The one-on-one experience with nurses is crucial in transitioning to full-time work.” 

According to Dr. Rebecca Hill, associate dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Nursing, the growing relationship between the IHP and hospitals within the MGB system is a win-win.

“Graduates from our ABSN program secure more nursing positions in the MGB system than any other nursing school in the region,” said Hill. “These scholarships are a testament to the commitment of our clinical partners to hire, support, and retain IHP-prepared nurses.”

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