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JOB WELL-DONE—Jeff Martin, Constituent Services Director at City Councilwoman Darlene Harris’ office, presents Kappa Chapter members Jerry Allen, Joan Mitchell and Michelene Jeter Ogagan with a proclamation. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

Kappa Chapter of Chi Eta Sorority preparing members

Registered nurses, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, and nursing assistants, get ready…you’re going to be in high demand.

In Allegheny County, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, almost 18 percent of the population is 65 years of age or older. The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance reports that nearly 480,000 people in southwestern Pennsylvania are over 65. According to research conducted by Imaginepittsburgh.com, a website maintained by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, due to the aging population, healthcare occupations are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as the job market overall within the next 10 years.

Registered nurses, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, as well as nursing assistants are among the top five occupations for growth.

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS—Longtime children’s advocate Kathi Elliott, executive director of Gwen’s Girls, encourages mentorship.

The message is clear to the Kappa Chapter of Chi Eta Sorority Inc. Their goal has always been to develop nursing leaders and encourage continuing education.

Keeping in line with their tradition, the local Kappa Chapter recently held their annual Mamie Garland Scholarship event. This year’s theme was, Advancing Healthcare through Innovation in Nursing Leadership, Education, Research and Practice. Scholarship recipients were Kiya Ficklin and Lailonny Morris.

Ficklin is enrolled at Chatham University’s online RN to MSN program. She is employed at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System as their RN Admissions Coordinator where her journey began as a LPN. Morris, a full-time student, is enrolled in the Community College of Allegheny County’s nursing program. She works two part-time jobs as she chases her dream of becoming a nurse.

Jessica Wimbush, MSN, RN FNP-BC, scholarship chairperson, said that “we are proud of the accomplishments of our scholarship winners and all our students.”

HELP FOR EDUCATION—Jessica Wimbush, middle, award Lailonny Morris and Kiya Ficklin 2018 Mamie Garland Scholarships.

She dedicated this year’s scholarship program to her mentor, former Kappa Chapter Basileus, Elsie Murray, CRNA Emeritus, MPM, who recently passed away. The scholarship was established by the husband of the late Kappa member Mamie Garland and throughout the years the Kappa Chapter has provided over $72,000 in scholarships to nursing students throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Scholarship Brunch Chairperson, Jerry Allen, said she was pleased with the attendance of over 200 people at the event held at the LeMont Restaurant. Michelene Jeter Ogagan, CRNA, MSN, served as mistress of ceremony. With the motto “Service for Humanity,” The Kappa Chapter’s annual event follows the national chapter’s mission of encouragement of the pursuit of continuing education.

Speakers during the brunch included Ficklin, Ellesha McCray, MBA, MSN, RN, and Kathi Elliott, DNP, CRNP, MSW. Each speaker reflected on their journey of becoming a nurse. The mother of three, Ficklin’s advice to aspiring nurses in the audience was to be determined. “Determination gives you the resolve to keep going despite the road blocks laid before you. The key is to change your way of thinking along with patience and perseverance. It’s a mindset,” she said.

McCray is the Associate Chief Nurse of Acute Care at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. She has a Master of Science in Nursing and a master’s in Business Administration from Waynesburg University, and received her Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing from Carlow University. Excited about her nursing career, she said as a leader one needs to have belief in their co-workers and that people, in no matter what field of work, need good directions. “The role of true leadership,” she said, “is to be educated in their field, to be able to help remove obstacles, to break down issues and to provide a support base.”

She defined leadership as motivating others to achieve a goal reminding that leaders are found in all aspects of life and needed at every level of all organizations, not just at the top.

Elliott has over two decades of experience in social service, community and individual mental health treatment. Her career began as a victim advocate at the Center for Victims, mostly within the juvenile justice system. She has dual master’s degrees in Nursing and Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Chatham University. The executive director of Gwen’s Girls, Elliott also has a private practice, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Services, LLC, and works at the VA Pittsburgh outpatient mental health clinic. She identifies education as the main tool to make an impact on the lives of girls and youth in this region. Quoting statistics from a report, The Inequities of Black Girls in Allegheny County, she said it indicates that 75 percent of girls within the county are reading and their math levels are below basic proficiency. “We have to pay attention to what is going on in our communities and our schools, otherwise we ultimately are going to pay the consequences because our kids are not being prepared. If our kids cannot read or write, they are at a disadvantage from the start.”

Mentoring and supporting is a must, she stressed. “Our young people have to see people that look like them in nursing and STEM fields. They must be encouraged and told that they can do it. That their goals are achievable.”

Joan Mitchell, CRNA, MSA, RN, is Basileus of the Kappa Chapter that was organized with 11 charter members in May 1949. Along with the scholarship event, this year the organization is hosting the 66th Northeast Regional Incorporated Conference and Educational Workshop, April 18-22, at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport. The Northeast Region is one of five Regions of Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc.

The event will carry the same theme as their Mamie Garland Scholarship event. A highlight of activities will include leadership and educational workshops, an interactive training session for diabetic educators, fitness activities, an awards luncheon, a night at Rivers Casino, and a jazz affair.

 

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