Foundation provides financial aide for employees

The cost of pursuing higher education can be enough to derail a person’s goal of achieving a new degree or certification. However, with the assistance of Mile Bluff Medical Center Foundation and the Carol Purvis Education Fund Scholarship, the burden of higher education costs is a little lighter for Mile Bluff employees and students.

The foundation provides all Mile Bluff employees with an opportunity to apply for the Carol Purvis Education Fund Scholarship. The program was designed to provide incentives and encouragement for students, adult learners and professionals, to consider a career in or to advance their careers in healthcare. Recently, several members of the Mile Bluff team were presented with scholarships.

Kathy Marose
Kathy Marose wears a few different hats within Mile Bluff, working as a registered nurse in both the surgery and cancer care departments. Using the scholarship she received from the foundation, Kathy pursued a specialty nursing certification for operating room nurses.

“Obtaining my certification has been a long-standing goal of mine,” said Kathy. “I have been a member of the Association of Operating Room Nurses for many years, and I felt this was the right time for me to challenge myself to become certified as an operating room nurse.”

The Certified Nurse - Operating Room certification is the gold standard. The credentialing program is for perioperative nurses interested in enhancing their specialized knowledge and skills.

“This education helped me to understand how the perioperative standards we use everyday are developed with rationale behind them using the best practice,” said Kathy. “This certification has helped me to feel more confident in my role, which in turn, allows me to provide better care for my patients.”

As an employee of the medical center, Kathy appreciates the assistance the foundation provided. “Having the support of the foundation is amazing. It means the world that I work for an organization that encourages education advancement through a scholarship program,” said Kathy. “I am truly grateful for the support and encouragement the foundation has provided me.”

Johnnie Bigalke (not pictured)
Johnnie Bigalke is a coder at Mile Bluff Clinic. She is required to know thousands of medical codes - one for nearly every type of healthcare service - so she can apply them to patient care records. Recently, Johnnie received a scholarship from the foundation to take the health information registry exam.

Having already completed the health information technology program, taking the exam was Johnnie’s next step. “I felt this would be a great way to stay current in my knowledge of not only coding, but healthcare privacy and security, healthcare technology, and other areas,” explained Johnnie. “It is my intention to use my credential toward becoming a certified cancer registrar and/or trauma registrar.”

Even though those working in health information and medical coding do not provide direct patient care, these individuals are very important in the healthcare industry. Accuracy in medical coding is essential to maintaining medical records and claim payments, and in reducing claim audits. The information gathered in health information departments is also used by both Federal and local public health departments to track public health conditions, monitor illness, and measure outcomes and care provided to patients.

“By becoming a certified cancer registrar or trauma registrar, I would be maintaining cancer and trauma registries that would provide information on types of injuries or disease, treatment outcomes, the effects of co-existing conditions, and much more,” explains Johnnie. “So, while I don’t provide direct care for patients, I am still working for them behind the scenes.”

When she received the scholarship, Johnnie was reminded of Mile Bluff’s commitment to its employees. “Mile Bluff has always stressed teamwork and the idea that we each contribute to patient care no matter what our role here might be,” said Johnnie. “I think awarding this scholarship to a ‘behind the scenes’ employee shows it isn’t just something Mile Bluff’s leadership says, it’s something they believe.”

When individuals choose a career in healthcare, they are choosing a path that requires lifelong learning.

Nurses play a vital role in patient care. Mile Bluff’s nurses have a desire to continually expand their knowledge in order to best meet the needs of the individuals they serve.
In nursing, an increased emphasis is being put on higher education, and the critical thinking skills that come with it. Care givers are encouraged to think beyond the roles of traditional nursing, and to pursue advanced degrees.

With this in mind, a group of Mile Bluff nurses developed a tuition reimbursement program called Nurses Helping Nurses. It provides employees with financial support while they continue their nursing education. Whether they are pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, the program supports Mile Bluff nurses in accomplishing their goals.

Erin Stanila
Recently, Erin Stanila, a registered nurse in the Infusion and Cancer Care Department, was awarded financial assistance from the foundation. This will help her as she works toward her bachelor’s degree from Chamberlain College of Nursing.

“I knew that I wanted to pursue a role in nurse leadership. The program that helps me work from an associate degree in nursing, to bachelor of science in nursing degree, provides me with the knowledge needed to start that journey,” explained Erin. “I also look forward to gaining further knowledge of nursing informatics, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement in healthcare. All of these areas are becoming more and more important in delivering high quality healthcare.”

Erin appreciates the assistance that Nurses Helping Nurses and the foundation have given her. “This support has made this education journey less burdensome, and has given me more peace of mind that my goal is attainable,” said Erin. “The help is evidence to me that the nurses in our facility care about each other and about continually enhancing the care delivered to our patients. To me, this support and dedication helps to affirm that Mile Bluff is where I want to be.”

If you would like to assist other healthcare workers who are looking to further their education, consider donating to Mile Bluff Medical Center Foundation. Your contributions can help make it possible for even more individuals to advance their careers in the healthcare field.

If you would like information on making a donation to the foundation through the Carol Purvis Education Fund scholarship or the Nurses Helping Nurses tuition reimbursement program, please contact Martha Airth-Kindree at 608-847-1495 or donate online.