Ashley Watson, a Kent State University graduate nursing student from New Philadelphia, Ohio, was selected as one of the 2013 recipients of the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses (OAAPN) scholarship. Each year, the OAAPN awards four $1,500 scholarships to students to promote the professional development of advanced practice registered nurses. Watson is in her third year in the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program at Kent State.
"The OAAPN scholarship recognizes a graduate nursing student who aspires to a leadership role and seeks to make a difference in the healthcare arena,” said Gail Bromley, associate dean of academics in Kent State’s College of Nursing.
“To compete for this award, I had to complete an application that included my work, educational experience and transcript,” Watson said. “I had to get two letters of recommendation from faculty and preceptors and write an essay about how my own goals and aspirations line up with the mission of OAAPN.”
Watson said the award represents the values of OAAPN, which include providing affordable, quality care to all Ohioans through several different avenues and encourages these values in upcoming professionals who seek to further their education and growth professionally.
“For me personally, this award represents an opportunity to focus more on my studies and what I can do for my patients,” Watson said. “It allows me to worry less about how I’m going to pay for my education.”
Watson has been working in the healthcare field since she was 18 and has worked as a nurse’s aide in almost every kind of hospital unit, from cardiac intensive care unit to maternity, she said. As a registered nurse, she has worked with weight-loss surgery patients, cardiac step-down patients, and is currently working with cardiac patients in the outpatient setting.
“I found out I would be receiving this scholarship when I received an email on Sept. 16,” Watson said. “I was completely surprised and so excited.”
She had applied for the scholarship in the spring and since she never heard anything back, she assumed winners were already picked. Watson describes receiving this scholarship as an honor.
“Winning the scholarship is a huge encouragement to me, and I’d like it to be an encouragement to other nurses pursuing advancements in the nursing field,” she said. “Being singled out by an organization like OAAPN has encouraged me to continue to strive, overcome and move forward to help my patients and help the healthcare community strive for perfection.”
Watson said that because healthcare reform is a major focus for the country right now, nursing has a huge opportunity to affect the healthcare community to get affordable and quality healthcare to more people than ever before.
“I want to encourage other nurses who may feel that they are not ready or that they are not good enough to do something more,” Watson said. “In today’s changing healthcare environment, we need as many nurses that are seeking to improve themselves and their profession as possible.”
For more information about Kent State’s College of Nursing, visit www.kent.edu/nursing.
For more information about the OAAPN, visit www.oaapn.org.
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Emily Vincent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-8595