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Nursing & Health Sciences: ‘Your path to a thriving career’

“If a career in a health care setting is your calling, your path to a thriving career starts right here at Penn College,” says dental hygiene student Dacia James, who leads a virtual tour of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences. The Williamsport resident (aided by Ally K. Swartz, a paramedic technician major from Bellefonte, and Alexia O. Zelenevskaya, a dental hygiene student from Ephrata) guides viewers through an 11-minute exploration of paramedic, physician assistant, dental hygiene, nursing, physical therapist assistant, surgical technology, radiography and applied health studies, as well as the school’s newest majors: health science and allied health.

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Director of College Health Services appointed

Pennsylvania College of Technology has named Wendie L. Snyder, an alumna with 25 years’ experience in a variety of roles in the health care profession, director of College Health Services.

Snyder, who began her duties Aug. 11, comes to Penn College from Geisinger Health System, where she had been an operations manager for outpatient surgery clinics including dental medicine; oral maxillofacial surgery; vascular surgery; and plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. She also has served as clinic nurse supervisor for the plastic surgery outpatient clinic at Geisinger and registered nurse manager for the general surgery outpatient clinic at Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg.

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Life as a nursing educator

A new video on Penn College’s YouTube channel acquaints viewers with Pamela W. Baker, who balances an ongoing nursing career with educating the next generation of health care heroes. “It’s important to have teachers like Mrs. Baker,” said Kathryn M. “Katie” Faust, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. “Because when I actually do go out into the clinical field and I’m practicing as a nurse, I feel like she really prepares you for real life.” Baker works as a R.N. in the cardiac recovery wing at Geisinger Medical Center over semester breaks, and being an educator offers a whole new level of flexibility – one that gives her more time with family and her border collie. “I went to school to be a nurse and I can still be a nurse,” said Baker, who will begin the Fall 2021 semester as an associate professor of nursing programs. “And although I was making a career change when I switched to a faculty role, I didn’t have to give up either of my careers.”

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Memorial gathering planned for retired nursing director

Pamela L. StarcherA sunset gathering in West Virginia will be scheduled in memory of Pamela L. Starcher, Penn College’s former director of nursing, who died Saturday, June 26. Hired as a full-time faculty member in August 1998, she assumed the director’s position in June 1999 and retired 10 years later.

An obituary in the Parkersburg (W.Va.) News and Sentinel directs that, “In lieu of flowers, Pam would enjoy knowing that one animal was saved at your local shelter, a student nurse can afford to complete a program of study, a dying patient has something soft and pretty to keep them warm, or your most precious gift is shared now and not later – time.”

Arrangements are being handled by Anders-Rice Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

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‘Tomorrow,’ the world!

Penn College’s “My Tomorrow” program (June 21-24 and June 28-July 1) opened middle-schoolers’ minds to a variety of vocational possibilities through hands-on activities and faculty-led sessions. The initiative, sponsored by the Soars Family, exposed students to a number of prospective careers – such as engineering, business and hospitality, the arts, and health sciences – as well as giving them a jump on charting their paths to success and satisfaction.

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Inspiring nursing grad generously lifts others

Nursing alumna Stephanie Suzadail, whose airborne delivery of emergency care is featured in the spring issue of Penn College Magazine, recently established two aptly named funds in support of Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

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A flight nurse’s calling

Stephanie Suzadail, '14
Stephanie Suzadail, ’14, aboard a Geisinger Life Flight helicopter

From the Spring 2021 Penn College Magazine: Having weathered many challenges herself, Geisinger Life Flight’s Stephanie Suzadail, ’14, loves to provide calm in the center of the storm. Read “A flight nurse’s calling.”

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Nursing grads exceed national licensing exam pass rates

Consistent with previous years, Pennsylvania College of Technology nursing graduates exceeded state and national pass rates on national board examinations – including a 100% pass rate on the exam for registered nurses by associate degree graduates.

Penn College offers degrees for those pursuing registered nurse and practical nurse licensure eligibility.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently released the pass rates for the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses) and the NCLEX-PN, for practical nurses. Results are for those who took the exams between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020.

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Alumni Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences

Nursing faculty member receives Patient Advocate Award

Donnamarie Lovestrand, assistant professor of nursing at Pennsylvania College of Technology, received the Pennsylvania Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses’ 2020 Patient Advocate Award.

The award was presented during the association’s Annual Education Conference, held virtually Oct. 6.

The purpose of the Patient Advocate Award is to recognize individuals who demonstrate extraordinary clinical expertise, compassion, commitment, initiative and problem-solving skills in an effort to intervene on a patient’s or family’s behalf.

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Penn College nursing faculty members earn doctorates

Four members of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s nursing faculty recently received doctoral degrees.

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College updates pathway to direct admission into nursing majors

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s nursing program will consider SAT and ACT scores in lieu of a Test of Essential Academic Skills score as part of the criteria for high school students to be directly admitted into its practical nursing and associate and bachelor’s degree nursing majors.

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Trading uniforms

Connor Burke
Connor Burke
Gillian Sinnott
Gillian Sinnott

From the Fall 2020 Penn College Magazine: When spring sports were canceled and classes were moved online, two athletes traded their jerseys for scrubs. Read their stories in “Trading Uniforms.”

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Penn College adds master’s degree in nursing education

Pennsylvania College of Technology is set to begin accepting students into its newest master’s degree offering – a Master of Science in Nursing, nursing education. The application for admission will open in January, with classes set to begin in Fall 2021.

Created for the working nurse, the curriculum for the MSN in nursing education is designed to be completed on a part-time basis within two years. All classes are conducted in an asynchronous, online environment.

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Faculty & Staff Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Students

Pathways Scholarship assists transition to degree programs

Pennsylvania College of Technology has established a new scholarship to support students completing Workforce Development programs in practical nursing and emergency medical technician who wish to further their education.

The scholarship provides assistance for practical nursing graduates interested in the Nursing, LPN to RN program at Penn College and graduates of the EMT course interested in pursuing one of the college’s paramedic majors.

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Nursing employee inventively enlists ‘patient’ spouse

A staff member in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s nursing program was just trying things out, experimenting with what she had on hand at home, to facilitate a distance-learning lesson for Adult Health Nursing I students, but the result garnered praise for the realistic learning opportunity it provided.

Valerie J. Kovalick, simulation laboratory coordinator in the nursing program, was tasked with helping faculty to find ways to teach an unfolding case study via distance learning. Typically, Kovalick’s job is to set up such simulations in the college’s nursing labs, where students learn in-person.

The tools Kovalick used included her cellphone and a tripod, a spare computer monitor, Laerdal simulation software, video-editing software made available by the college to employees, poster board, and a husband willing to play along.

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