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Left to right: Katharine Green, RN; Amy Weller, RN; Allison Murphy, BSN; Jaime Wiley, BSN; Alexandra Chaffin, RN; and Jill Maynard, BSN. Amanda Crossman, RN, and Turquoia Johnson, RN, are not pictured.

Eight SVMC Nurses Receive Continuing Education Scholarships

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — Eight nurses at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center received funds from the SVHC Foundation in support of their continuing education efforts.

The funds were provided to the Foundation by the Helen Dixon Kunzelmann Nurse Scholar Program, the Margaret M. Rehm Nurse Scholar Program, and donations for nursing education.

The nurses awarded scholarships represent many hospital departments, including the Emergency Department, Endoscopy, Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Perioperative Services. They are attending a variety of institutions including Community College of Vermont, Southern New Hampshire University, and St. Joseph's College of Maine, and others in pursuit of bachelor's and master's degrees.

Nurses receive partial scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and related educational expenses. Scholarships are awarded in addition to the traditional tuition reimbursement benefit offered through SVHC Human Resources. A partnership with Castleton University allows practically guaranteed employment for nurse graduates and up to 100 percent tuition reimbursement for those who work a specified number of years.

As a designated Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence, SVMC recognizes the value of higher education among its professional nursing staff to improve patient outcomes and sustain a professional and rewarding work environment.

Helen Dixon Kunzelmann made a bequest to SVHC to further nursing excellence. Margaret M. Rehm Nurse Scholar Program was created by Carol Conroy and her siblings to honor their mother. Conroy was the chief nursing officer when she retired from SVHC in 2017 and currently serves on the health system’s Board of Trustees. Both sources of funding aim to reduce the financial challenges to nursing staff pursuing higher education.


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Berkshires Beat: Community Members Donate Guided Technology for PICC Line Placement

SVMC donation

The Interventional and Perioperative Services Departments at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center received a special gift from donors Bob and Anne Farrara of Eagle Bridge, N.Y. The couple donated $10,000 for the purchase of an Arrow Vascular Positioning System (VPS) G4 Device from Teleflex. The machine expedites the placement of Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter lines—a long thin tube inserted into a vein in the heart. PICC lines remain in place long term and provide clinicians convenient access to deliver intravenous (IV) antibiotics, nutrition, or medications or to draw blood over several encounters without the need for a needle stick.

"Everyone’s heart anatomy is a little different," said registered nurse Tanya Cowder, SVMC's senior director of Perioperative and Interventional Services. "Just as a GPS system helps you navigate your car to your destination, this new technology helps clinicians place the PICC catheter tip in the optimal location for treatment."

Before this technology was available at SVMC, a radiologic technologist would need to take a chest X-ray, and a radiologist would need to read it in order to determine catheter tip placement. This machine uses a sophisticated biosensor, rather than X-rays. It allows nurses with specialized training to place PICC lines and validate that the placement is accurate. The technology eliminates both the delay in initiation of therapy and the patients' exposure to the radiation X-rays emit.

The Farraras have donated to SVHC for many years. A number of their gifts have supported equipment needs. "SVMC is a great place," Bob Farrara said. "When I am here, I feel like I am home. The staff are caring."


Christmas tree pickup

Christmas tree pickup in the month of January in the city of Pittsfield will accompany the regular trash pickup schedule. For more information, call 413-499-9330.

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