A student nurse receives the “gift of opportunity” to change the way health care is viewed
Alexandria Constantine works as a registered nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ
Alexandria Constantine, a current student in Seton Hall’s Adult and Gerontology Emergency Nursing Program, received a $10,000 scholarship.
In October, the New Jersey Nurses League (NJLN) presented scholarships to the 2022 Dr. Maureen Sullivan Foley Memorial Scholarship recipients during a virtual awards ceremony. The scholarship honors Maureen Sullivan Foley’s legacy as a New Jersey nursing leader, past president of the NJLN from 1986-88, and past president and CEO of the Bayonne Nurse Practitioner Association (BVNA) for more than 48 years.
“I first heard about the NJLN scholarship from an advertisement from Seton Hall. When I looked at the organization, I thought that this is such a wonderful gift that they are giving students – I immediately became a member,” said Konstantin.
Applicants for the Dr. Maureen Sullivan Foley Memorial Scholarship must be legal residents of the United States and permanent residents of the State of New Jersey; be enrolled in an accredited nursing program, having completed at least one semester in an accredited nursing program (BSN, MSN, or doctoral degree) with a GPA of at least 3.0; intend to practice nursing in the State of New Jersey after graduation; and be a current, active member of the NJLN.
“It’s an honor for them to even consider me as a candidate, let alone award me one of their scholarships,” she said.
Transfer to Seton Hall’s nursing program
Originally from East Rutherford, NJ, Constantine now lives in Belmar, near where she works as a registered nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ.
She received her BS in Nursing from Holy Name Medical Center and completed her BSN from Walden University. In 2020, she also received her CCRN. She was invited to become a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society during her undergraduate and graduate studies and received a scholarship from them last year.
Originally enrolled in graduate school at Walden University, Constantine decided to apply to Seton Hall to see if she would be accepted. “I wanted to go to a school where I would have to focus and study to make my dreams come true so that when I graduated I would be prepared for my boards,” she said. “When I had an interview with Dr. [Mary Ellen] Roberts and heard her say, “Congratulations and welcome to Seton Hall University,” I was shocked! I quickly turned down Walden University and accepted Seton Hall’s offer.”
Although Constantine has been an intensive care nurse for several years, she noted that “the Adult Emergency and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program was very challenging for me; it’s what I was looking for in graduate school. I I feel much more knowledgeable than when I started, and I’m ready for when I graduate in the spring.”
She also found her nursing instructors to be very helpful, but still challenged her with their assignments and exams. “The professors are extremely supportive and understand that we, as students, also live outside of life and events happen where time may be limited,” she said. “Dr Moira Kendra in particular was extremely attentive and responded promptly to emails. She also gave me a scholarship referral.’
A life-changing experience during Covid-19
When Constantine began her nursing career, she knew she wanted to “help save people and be their ‘hero’.” She spent most of her time in the intensive care unit and “really loved saving lives.” She said: “I felt I was destined to do this in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic started. But then I suddenly lost my father to Covid-19 after trying several lifesaving techniques on him, right outside our house.. Shortly after that, my mom was hospitalized for a few weeks with the same illness.”
“It was during this difficult time that I discovered that medical professionals are often so invested in saving a person’s life that they don’t think about the consequences of their efforts,” she continued. “Since then, I have learned that doing ‘more’ is not always helpful. Patients have a choice in how they receive medical care and how they want to spend the rest of their lives. Many of them do not want to spend their last months, days or years in a hospital , where treatment takes place. Instead, I hope to empower patients to spend the lives they have left with their loved ones.”
Constantine left the intensive care unit not because of the stress of Covid-19, but because she “no longer agreed to do ‘everything'” with someone who has no voice and critically limited chances of survival, let alone quality of life “.
“This scholarship will help me achieve my goals of becoming a palliative care nurse practitioner and change the way healthcare professionals and treatment are viewed,” she said. “It’s truly a gift—a gift of opportunity—that I can give to these patients and their families. I would like to change the perspective of the medical field to really understand what “quality of life” is.
November is National Scholarship Month. Visit here for more information on nursing scholarships.