A quick tour of the Long Island State Veterans Home (LISVH) gives the impression that the facility has everything. From a player piano to whirlpool baths, a barber shop, Wii therapy, and dental offices, the veterans enjoy a community that meets their needs and enhances the quality of their lives.
When you talk to LISVH Executive Director Fred Sganga, however, you learn that there is one thing facilities like LISVH can always use more of—homegrown caregivers who are committed to perpetuating a comfortable and creative environment for those men and women who have served their country in the armed forces.
On May 7, to cap Nursing Week, the LISVH did its part to help remedy that situation by awarding $1,000 scholarships—called the Nursing Vision Awards—to seven certified nursing assistants.
“A lot of health care executives pay lip service to the nursing shortage. At the LISVH, we use our energy to create more nurses because without great nurses you can’t have a nursing home,” Sganga said. “This is our little way of combating the nursing shortage.”
The LISVH began the scholarship program seven years ago. Anyone attending nursing school is eligible to apply for the scholarship to help further their nursing education. “We think the best employees are homegrown,” said Sganga. “They understand our mission, vision, and values. Hopefully they’ll stay here, and most of them do. We have a low staff turnover. We’re always looking to have the best and the brightest.”
As dozens of residents witnessed two of the CNAs accept their scholarships, Director of Nursing Virgie Bowie explained that the raffle prizes help raise funds for the Nursing Vision Awards. Some of the nurses were unable to attend the ceremony because of their duties. The two who accepted their awards, Karen Carbajal and Macdala Jean Baptiste, stood beside Sganga and Bowie and beamed as they were showered with applause.
The other recipients are Christine Adrion, Ryan Doyle, Rachal Hall, Guylene Moise Olivier, and Christopher Tallman.
“The veterans get excited watching this—they form a unique bond with their caregivers,” said Bowie.