AlumNews

Fall 2021

Message from the President: Increasing Covid-19 cases force 2021 Homecoming cancellation

With disappointment, the Mount Carmel Alumni Association Board wishes to inform you of our decision to cancel Homecoming again this year. We were hopeful and encouraged we would be able to have Homecoming this fall. After the start of vaccinations last winter, the virus seemed to be decreasing in the spring and early summer. Unfortunately, the increase in Covid cases and hospitalizations the past few weeks led us to reevaluate. We had to consider the health and well-being of our alumni traveling from out of the area to attend. The current uncertainty of the virus is problematic. A large gathering could put attendees at risk.

The Homecoming celebration every fall has been a very popular and exciting event. Many alumni look forward to the event and reconnecting with former classmates, especially the honor year classes. Many classes are, and will be affected by the cancellation. It will be hard to recognize everyone as they have been recognized in the past. The Alumni Association Board is developing ways to recognize the different honor classes, especially the 50-year classes. We will do our best to recognize and highlight the 50-year classes, even if it is not possible in person.

Since our annual meeting is also conducted at the Homecoming celebration, we will make it available for online viewing.

We have reserved a date for next year’s Homecoming (Covid free, we hope) for September 24, 2022. It will again be held at the Grand Event Center in Grandview. More information will be available next spring.

Disappointing as it is, we believe it is the best decision for the well-being of alumni. We hope you all stay healthy and safe.


Pat Skunda MS, RN
President, Mount Carmel Alumni Association

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Mount Carmel School of Nursing founded 118 years ago

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, marks the 118th anniversary of the founding of Mount Carmel School of Nursing by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, from Notre Dame, Indiana.

Three years later, the first graduating class of 13 students earned a Diploma in Nursing. The sisters’ vision inspired them to continually enhance nursing education, earning the distinction in 1941 of being one of the few nursing schools in the country to receive accreditation.

In 1990, the school transitioned to the Mount Carmel College of Nursing, a baccalaureate, Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree-granting institution of higher learning.

9/11: A somber anniversary looms

September 11, 2021, will mark the passage of 20 years since hijacked aircraft were used to attack targets in New York and Washington, D.C. The impact of those airplanes – two that were flown into the World Trade towers in New York, one that crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth that was downed in a Pennsylvania field – has reverberated throughout the world, reshaping foreign policy, homeland security and disaster preparedness for the United States and other countries across the globe. More than 3,000 Americans died on that bright, sunny September morning.

Mount Carmel School of Nursing alumna Marie Blain ‘61, RN, NREMT-P, served as a volunteer EMT in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001, in the wake of the terror attack. As soon as her pager went off that morning, she headed to the fire station, where her unit was dispatched to the Pentagon. She and her colleagues transported firefighters to the hospital from the site of the disaster as needed.

Marie said that there was an instantaneous outpouring for first responders. “The day seemed to go on and on. We kept waiting for something else to happen,” she remembered. “We didn’t know the full extent of what was going on until midnight. We stayed with the ambulance at the firehouse and rotated personnel to eat, cool off, and rest. There were hot meals delivered to the responders while they tried to grasp everything that was happening.”

Read more about Marie’s experience in the next issue of the LAMP (coming January 2022).

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Alumna Meghan Long wins 2021 Sisters of the Holy Cross Award

MCCN Alumna Meghan Long ’05, ‘15, MS, BSN, RN, CEN, was recently presented with the 2021 Sisters of the Holy Cross Award by Mount Carmel Health System. She is the director of Emergency Services for Mount Carmel Grove City (MCGC) and Mount Carmel Franklinton.

“Meghan demonstrated managerial courage and leaned into our Core Values of Integrity, Reverence and Justice,” says MCGC Chief Nursing Officer Denise Minor, DNP, RN, NEA-BC. “She reached out to other thought leaders and, with their assistance, developed five weeks of staff meeting that helped her team recognize their own personal biases and how their own actions impact racism, injustice, and discrimination.” In addition to her role at MCGC, Denise serves as an MCCN adjunct faculty member.

Through this exploration of racial justice, Meghan was able to help the emergency services team bring their personal journeys toward understanding inequality, discrimination, and health disparities revealed over the past year.

“Meghan’s thoughtful leadership, persistence, and reverence have not only impacted her team’s personal journey, but her leadership also has impacted our patients and community,” said Minor.

Meghan Long also will present her work at the 2021 Press Ganey Client Conference, sharing what she learned with other health systems from across the country.

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Our Legacy of Learning Campaign building on first year success

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“The world needs more nurses. The world especially needs more Mount Carmel nurses. The Ray and Phylis Crook Scholarship in Memory of Sister M. Blanche, C.S.C. will support the excellence in nursing that the Mount has been known for since 1903,” said Phylis Crook ’63, RN.

Phylis and her husband, Ray, funded a named scholarship through a contribution to the Our Legacy of Learning Campaign. As Mount Carmel College of Nursing continues to focus on accommodating enrollment growth, campus improvements, and enrichments to programs and services that enhance the outcomes and preparedness of our graduates, $1 million dollars was raised in the first year of the two-year Our Legacy of Learning Campaign.

“Establishing a scholarship has been in the back of my mind for many years. Ann Schiele, PhD, RN, president and dean emeritus, has been saying to me for years, ‘You and Ray are consistent donors. When are you going to put a name on it?’ The Our Legacy of Learning Campaign gave us the impetus and opportunity to do just that,” said Phylis.

“I encourage other alumni and community members to support this campaign, said Phylis. “To alumni, remember all the gifts Mount Carmel has given you over the years. Whether you consider it paying back or paying forward it is for the good of future generations of alumni. Plus, you won’t believe how good it makes you feel to contribute!”

Alumni support of the campaign is welcome and appreciated. Funding priorities are:

To strengthen the College through innovation in nursing education - advanced technological teaching tools and faculty professional.

To support our students in their pursuit of higher education - scholarships and student emergency funds allow our students to answer the call to become professional nurses.

To sustain our legacy - ensuring the mission of our founders, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, remains at the center of nursing excellence in the Catholic tradition and allow us to continuing educating compassionate, caring and confident nurses both today and in the future.

Campaign updates and giving information are available on the giving page of the College website. For more information, please contact Alyssa Fry, senior development officer, at afry@mchs.com.

MCCN is now offering a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Master of Science program

The PMHNP program is designed for those who currently hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing and are looking to specialize in caring for those in the psychiatric-mental health population across the lifespan. This program is designed for both novice and experienced registered nurses who are looking to advance their nursing career. The program prepares the advanced registered nurse to care for individuals, groups and families in both counseling and psychopharmaceutical management.

The program is offered in an online format with direct clinical experiences and three immersive experiences. Check out mccn.edu or contact gradfacultymentor@mccn.edu for any questions you may have.

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Meet Jenifer Elchisco Bayer ’76, RN

Professional Highlights — After graduating from Mount Carmel and passing the grueling State Boards (We sat for Boards at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, in no air conditioning, writing on old wooden varnished tables. It was so hot, the varnish stuck to our arms!) I began my career at Bucyrus Community Hospital working on the med-surg floor, then the ICU, and finally spent my last 22 years there in the Emergency Room. I also was the outpatient diabetes educator. I then went to work at the Seneca County General Health District as a part-time public health nurse and continued working part-time in the ER.

In 1997, I became the Public Health Supervisor and left my beloved Emergency Room. In 2000, I became the Director of Community Health. I was responsible for overseeing a Home Health Division and a Public Health Division. I found a passion for public health, looking at community health assessments and planning programs around the needs identified. I became a pretty good grant writer, securing funding for programs that were so very important to the health and well-being of the citizens of Seneca County, especially children. I retired in January 2018 after 25 years in public health. I went back this past year and helped during the COVID-19 pandemic, doing contact tracing, case management, vaccination clinics and anything else I could do to help. I had spent years on planning teams working on how we would handle a pandemic. We knew years ago it was not a matter of if, but when. I help out at the Student Health Center at Heidelberg University when they need extra hands and really enjoy the students. Other than all that, I am really enjoying retirement!

Original Hometown – Republic, Ohio, a village in Seneca County, about an hour southeast of Toledo.

Current Hometown – Bloomville, Ohio, also a village in Seneca County.

When did you first feel the call to be a nurse? I think I always was interested in a “helping” profession, so during my high school years, I determined medicine was where I wanted to devote myself.

What television show do you have to DVR every week? Oh my, my husband and I DVR quite a few shows! We always watch Jeopardy! and like all the NCIS shows. I watch This Is Us, and some HGTV programs.

What is your favorite memory of Mount Carmel? The lifelong friends I made! Several of us became very close and remain so today. The 6 Annex and 6th floor ladies are still some of my dearest friends.

What book is currently on your nightstand (or at the top of your e-reader favorites)? The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

How has your Mount Carmel network helped you in your life, personally or professional or both? There is no better profession than to care for your fellow man. The Mount Carmel education I received truly set me apart from other nurses at the time. I remember applying for a job and getting a call where I was told I didn’t need to interview, that since I graduated from Mount Carmel, I had a job! We were full time students at Mount Carmel and at OSU. The schedule was difficult, but the education we received was exemplary. I have always felt that somehow without us even realizing it, we learned to care for the whole person- physically, mentally, and spiritually. We learned compassionate care is paramount to a good outcome. It makes such a difference!

What advice would you like to share with other nurses as they move from student to alumni of Mount Carmel? The education you received at Mount Carmel has prepared you for an incredible career. There are so many options open to you—try several and you will find your niche and blossom!

Meet Jami Nininger ’87, DNP, RN

Jami Nininger

Other degrees and conferring university - BSN, Franklin University; MSN, Wright State University; DNP, American Sentinal University

Certifications - Certified Peer Reviewer and Master Reviewer for Quality Matters; Teaching Online Certificate through Quality Matters

Professional highlights

  • I began my career in the surgical ICU/Open Heart Recovery Unit at Mount Carmel West where I worked from 1987-2008. During my work here I was able to be involved in unit-based leadership and professional development activities that enhanced care delivery and patient outcomes. A couple of examples include: the development of formalized preparation class for patients preparing for Open Heart Surgery - the class focused on what to expect across the care continuum and patients’ partnership in the process of care and recovery - it was a nurse-driven venture that impacted patient satisfaction. I also had the privilege of being involved in the development of unit-based orientation structures and programming for new nurses and new grads (prior to the inception of residency programs).
  • Through involvement in precepting activities and work with students in the ICU, my passion grew for nursing education.
  • In 1994, I became a faculty member with MCCN, teaching medical-surgical nursing and critical care courses. During this time I helped integrate the first high-fidelity simulation experiences at Mount Carmel and was involved in the development of simulation curriculum through the METI Corporation - co-authoring the Sepsis scenario for the professional nursing curriculum. I also served as the subject matter expert and co-designer for the Online RN refresher course - the first online course offered by Mount Carmel College of Nursing.
  • 2005 - 2009 - I ventured to see how things were done elsewhere in higher education. I was a clinical faculty member (course lead) at OSU College of Nursing, teaching in the high acuity and leadership courses of the pre-licensure program and in the leadership course for the RN to BSN program. I also served for two years as a coordinator for simulation integration leading the initiative to integrate simulation into every nursing course within the pre-licensure curriculum. This was a successful venture that afforded me opportunities for me to grow in leadership, teaching, and scholarship.
  • 2009-2016 - My career took an unexpected turn due to personal influences and the death of my mother. In the events that unfolded, I was blessed with the opportunity to lead a practical nursing program as the program administrator. During this time, the program evolutions allowed it to rise to the top 5 to 10 of nursing programs for the state - remaining in this range from 2012-2016. Simulation, point of care technology integration, and active learning for improving learner competency and safety in care delivery are highlights of my work.
  • 2016 - present - I rejoined MCCN as the Assistant Dean of Distance Education in 2016. I became the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Distance Education in 2019 and the Associated Dean of Academic Affairs in 2020. I work with an amazing and talented team of individuals in the preparation of nurses for the complexities of the nursing profession. Highlights include receipt of the MCHS Nursing Excellence Award in 2019; recipient of the Quality Matters Making a Difference for Students Award - MCCN RN to BSN Program recognizing the faculty team's work in gaining Quality Matters certification for all courses in the RN to BSN program - which demonstrated significant impact on student satisfaction and meaningful learning. I am also working with an amazing team of colleagues (Dan Abbey, Theresa Draher - Alumnus) on academic practice programming in support of interprofessional practice. The team (which also included Dr. Binay Eapen and Dr. Brianna Donaldson - no longer with MCHS) received a Trinity Innovation grant in the amount of $176, 000 to support this work.
  • An important focus and vision of my role - support and drive innovative academic/practice partnership in support of quality education - preparing nurses to tackle the complexities of healthcare today and tomorrow.

Original hometown - Sunbury, Ohio

Current hometown - Centerburg, Ohio

When did you first feel the call to be a nurse? – During my senior year of high school, I worked a summer job with two individuals who were attending MCSON. I visited them on campus and knew that was what I was meant to do. Nursing has been such a blessing in my life and provides me with the foundation for serving God through serving others.

What television show do you have to DVR every week? - I have old DVR recordings of Castle. Love the mystery and humor of the show and when I take time now to watch TV, it's generally home improvement shows (love to get ideas from watching these shows but my husband wishes it did not add to our project and to-do list.)

What is your favorite memory of Mount Carmel? Living in the dorms - the comradery, the fun - the development of lifelong friendships. Friday nights were Miami Vice nights. A group on our floor would make brownies and have a party watch to decompress from the business of the week (and to prepare for the power weekend of study ahead).

What book is currently on your nightstand (or at the top of your e-reader favorites)? - My devotional and Bible which serve to keep me grounded and the book - The Leadership Challenge (inspires me to continue to learn and grow in my role).

How has your Mount Carmel network helped you in your life, personally or professionally or both? My Mount Carmel network is foundational to who I am as a nurse, nurse educator, and now an academic leader. I have been privileged to have fabulous role models and coaches who helped not only develop my knowledge and skills in nursing but shape my values and standards. The influence and shared experience and guidance of these individuals have fueled my drive to always be the best I can be in service to colleagues, patients, and students through my work.

What advice would you like to share with other nurses as they move from student to alumni of Mount Carmel? Always remember the power, blessing and responsibility that nursing demands - serving individuals, often during the most vulnerable times of their lives is a serious responsibility and a privilege - but it comes with strings attached. It means that there must be a personal commitment to service to others; a commitment to continued learning and development to ensure that knowledge and skill bring the best care possible to patients, families, and communities; and a commitment to doing your part to move the profession (and healthcare) forward through continued learning, innovation, scholarship, and service.

Mount Carmel Alumni Association Board

  • President: Pat Skunda ’72, ’10, ’14, MS, RN
  • Vice President: Matt Edgington ’14, BSN
  • Secretary: Jami Nininger ’87, DNP, RN
  • Treasurer: Suzanne Martin ’66, JD, RN
  • Members at Large:
    • Iris Freisner ’66, ’07, MSN, RN
    • Jody Gill Rocha ’08, ’10, MS, RN
    • Angela Snider ’10, ’14, MS, RN, APRN-BC
    • Freida Gill ’91,’97, ’09, MS, RN
  • Ex-Officio: Alyssa Fry, senior development officer, Mount Carmel Foundation

Why Choose Us

10%

undergraduate male students

#1

largest private BSN program in Ohio

903

2020-21 students enrolled