Alexandria Constantin works as a registered nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J.
Alexandria Constantin, a current student in Seton Hall's Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program, has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship.
The New Jersey League of Nursing (NJLN) presented the recipients of the 2022 Dr. Maureen Sullivan Foley Memorial Scholarship Award with their scholarships in October during a virtual awards ceremony. The scholarship honors Maureen Sullivan Foley's legacy as a New Jersey nurse leader, past president of the NJLN from 1986-88, and former president and CEO of the Bayonne Visiting Nurses Association (BVNA) for over 48 years.
"I first heard of the NJLN scholarship from an announcement from Seton Hall. As I looked up the organization, I thought this was such a wonderful gift they are giving to students — I immediately became a member," said Constantin.
Applicants for the Dr. Maureen Sullivan Foley Memorial Scholarship Award must be a legal resident of the U.S. and a permanent in-state resident of New Jersey; be enrolled in an accredited nursing program, having completed at least one semester in an accredited degree nursing program (B.S.N., M.S.N. or Doctorate) with at least a 3.0 GPA; possess the intent to practice nursing in the State of New Jersey after attaining their degree; and be a current, active member of NJLN.
"It is an honor for them to even consider me as a candidate, let alone award me with one of their scholarships," she said.
Transferring to Seton Hall's Nursing Program
Originally from East Rutherford, N.J., Constantin now lives in Belmar, close to where she works as a registered nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J.
She received her undergraduate nursing degree at Holy Name Medical Center and completed her B.S.N. at Walden University. She also obtained her CCRN in 2020. She was invited to be a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing during both her undergraduate and graduate studies and received a scholarship award from them last year.
Originally enrolled in Walden University for graduate school, Constantin decided to apply to Seton Hall to see if she would be accepted. "I wanted to attend a school where I would have to focus and study toward pursuing my dreams so that when I graduated, I am prepared for my boards," she said. "When I had my interview with Dr. [Mary Ellen] Roberts and heard her say, 'Congratulations and welcome to Seton Hall University,' I was shocked! I quickly resigned from my enrollment with Walden University and accepted Seton Hall's offer."
Constantin attended the NJLN Nurse Recognition and Scholarship Awards Event with her professors, Drs. Moira Kendra (left) and Mary Ellen Roberts.
Although Constantin has been an intensive care nurse for several years, she indicated that "the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program has really challenged me; this is what I was seeking for my graduate studies. I feel much more knowledgeable than when I started, and I am prepared for when I graduate in the spring."
She also found her nursing professors to be very helpful while still challenging her with their assignments and exams. "The professors are super supportive, and they understand that we, as students, also have an outside life and events occur where time can be limited," she said. "In particular, Dr. Moira Kendra has been extremely attentive and replies to emails immediately. She also gave me a referral toward the scholarship."
A Life-Altering Experience During Covid-19
When Constantin started her nursing career, she knew she wanted to "help save people and be their 'hero.'" She spent much of her time in the intensive care unit, and "absolutely loved saving lives." She said, "It was what I felt I was destined to do in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. But then I lost my father suddenly to Covid-19, after trying multiple lifesaving methods on him myself, right outside our home. Shortly after, my mom was hospitalized for several weeks with the same illness."
"It was during this difficult time that I discovered healthcare professionals often become so invested in saving an individual's life, they do not think of the consequences of their efforts," she continued. "I have since learned that doing 'more' is not always rewarding. Patients have choices in their medical care and how they want to spend the remainder of their life. Many of them do not want to spend their last months, days or years in a hospital receiving medical treatment. Instead, I hope to give patients the gift of spending the life they have left with their loved ones."
Constantin left the intensive care unit, not because of the stress of Covid-19 but because she "no longer agreed with doing 'everything' on someone who has no say and has a critically limited chance of survival, let alone quality of life."
"This scholarship will assist me in reaching my goals of becoming a palliative care nurse practitioner and changing the perspective of healthcare professionals and treatment," she said. "It is truly a gift — a gift of opportunity that I can give these patients and their families. I would like to change the perspective of the medical field to really understand what 'quality of life' is."
November is National Scholarship Month. Visit here for more information on nursing scholarships.