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Mattituck Lions donating $40K to help PBMC nurses earn degrees

The Mattituck Lions Club will donate $40,000 over the next four years to create the “Mattituck Lions Club Nursing Education Fund,” helping Peconic Bay Medical Center nurses earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

The Lions kicked things off by granting $10,000 in scholarship money to 20 PBMC nurses during the hospital’s annual Nursing Award Ceremony Friday afternoon.

“Amy Loeb, Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer, has a goal for 80 percent of our nursing population to have BSNs by 2020 as a step toward a Magnet designation,” said Samantha Vigliotta, the Vice President for Foundation and External Affairs at PBMC.

A Magnet hospital designation is an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center to hospitals that meet certain criteria.

She said they recently met with Mattituck Lions Club representatives who were “very interested in giving back in a meaningful way.”

Michael O’Donnell, chief financial officer at PBMC, is a member of the Mattituck Lions Club, Ms. Vigliotta said. The Lions signed on and offered to create a fund to help nurses.

“We have a relatively large organization that’s committed to the community,” said William Araneo, a past president of the Lions. “Many of our residents come from Mattituck and Cutchogue and the North Fork and are treated here and cared for here. We felt it was a wonderful opportunity for us to help people.”

Darrien Garay, the special gift officer for the hospital Foundation, said that when Ms. Loeb arrived in late 2015, only 30 percent of the hospital’s nurses had BSN degrees.

“This is very important to me,” said Sharon Dyer of East Quogue, who’s worked at PBMC for 23 years and is now a registered nurse on the medical-surgical floor.

“I have two kids in college, and so my finances are really pushed toward them,” she said. “I definitely want to finish my bachelors degree, so anything I can obtain to help with that, I’m extremely grateful for.”

The courses are done online, Ms. Dyer said

“A BSN education will impact not only my professional practice but the hospital and community,” said Kimberly Maione of Mastic, who’s been a registered nurse at PBMC for five years. “I do believe that education makes a difference in how nurses practice. The baccalaureate nursing program provides students with a more in-depth study of nursing research, nursing leadership and management, community and public health nursing.

Cindy Anderson of Mattituck is an assistant nurse manager at PBMC and has worked at the hospital for nearly 30 years.

“This is a tremendous help,” she said. “I have two kids that are currently in college, so for me to go back to college would be difficult.”

She also is taking online courses.

Mandi Marcello, a registered nurse who commutes from Ronkonkoma, said she’s worked at PBMC for seven years and finances and time have held her back from getting a BSN.

“My kids were younger then, and now they’re older and I have more time to take the classes, and with this scholarship money, I can definitely get it done now,” she said.

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