Three students in the nursing program at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) were recently recognized by the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) for their outstanding academic careers in CSM’s rigorous program. Abena Acheampong, Jessica Fantaccione and Michael Howard were honored during the MNA District 9 Annual Awards Dinner for their outstanding academic careers – to date.
“There is a great shortage in the faculty needed to teach the next generation of nurses, so any time we are able to recognize the people in this profession and the importance of studying it, that is a benefit to us,” said Laura Polk, chair of the Health Sciences Division at CSM. The MNA is divided into geographic districts according to students’ town of residence and CSM is included in District 9.
Fantaccione earned MNA’s coveted Nursing Student of the Year. Polk said the Nursing Student of the Year award is based on academic achievement and clinical practice, plus involvement at both the school and in the community.
“CSM has a great reputation for our high-quality nursing program,” said Polk, adding that the faculty were proud of Fantaccione’s achievement. “We have expert faculty and our students score better than the national average on their national exams.”
It’s not just the students who are special in District 9 – two of the awards given are named after former CSM faculty members – an honor that recognizes CSM’s nursing program and its instructors for continuing academic excellence.
“Grace Brown and Joanne Zwick were both nursing faculty at CSM,” explained Polk. “It’s great to see their legacy honored with these awards, and it’s always wonderful when their awards are won by students or graduates of the CSM nursing program.”
Acheampong, a second semester nursing student at CSM, won the $1,000 Grace E. Brown Basic Nursing Program Scholarship. Brown was an educator at the college when it was known as Charles County Community College, and was one of the creators of the nursing program. The Grace E. Brown Basic Nursing Program Scholarship is one of two scholarships in Brown’s name, presented in her memory by a special bequeath from the estate of Grace E. Brown.
Howard is a nursing program graduate and he won the Joanne Zwick Caring Award.
The JoAnne Zwick Caring Award recognizes a registered nurse who provides an outstanding example of excellence in direct nursing care and professionalism. Zwick was also a CSM instructor and was well known throughout Southern Maryland for her caring and compassion for patients while working at local hospitals.
“She was known for her interest in oncology and hospice care,” said Polk. “She was just an extremely caring person.” Howard, Polk said, has a similar personality and was a perfect recipient for the award named in Zwick’s honor.