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York Hospital honors recent York College graduate with Nursing award

October 17, 2018
Emily Abbott, nursing graduate

Emily Abbott had just finished working on one surgery at WellSpan’s York Hospital and was setting up for another when her co-worker approached her.

“Have you heard?” her co-worker asked. “You won!”

The Barbara Serniak Memorial Perioperative Nursing Award is awarded to a new nurse excelling in the operating room. Winning was a big deal to Emily — she was thrilled. But like the impressive young nurse she is, she tucked her excitement inside and set back to work, prepping for the next surgery.

The caregiver

Emily has always been a caregiver. Her grandmother has rheumatoid arthritis and has had countless back and knee surgeries. Emily always saw it as her job to be there when she was recovering.

“I just always liked seeing her happy,” Emily says. “And me coming over and helping her always lifted her spirits.”

She’d help her grandmother into her wheelchair and make her meals. It was the little things that seemed to mean so much.

Her grandmother liked her house spotless. So, when she couldn’t clean, Emily took that job over.

I did all the things she wished she could do but couldn’t, Emily says.

It made Emily feel good to be able to help her grandmother and led her to pursue a degree in Nursing.

Preparing for her future

As soon as she stepped on York College of Pennsylvania’s campus, Emily knew she was home.

“This just feels right,” she remembers thinking.

It was small but not too small. The personalized, one-on-one attention she got in her classes was just what she was looking for.

The program challenged her and led her to discover her passion within nursing — the operating room.

As an operating room nurse, you’re a patient’s eyes and ears, Emily says. They’re asleep, they’re vulnerable, and it’s your job to be their advocate.

The pace is lightning fast, and every day is different.

Emily forged connections in the department while taking an operating room nurse course over the summer. She also gained experienced volunteering in the recovery room at York Hospital.

She set herself up for success and graduated with the job offer she’d hoped for: a spot as an operating room nurse at York Hospital.

The real world

Even though she’d spent countless hours there as a volunteer, Emily was still nervous her first day of work at York Hospital.

But she wasn’t on her own.

She began the year-long orientation with computer-based training. Then, she worked side-by-side with experienced nurses who guided her as she learned.

It was a lot of work, Emily says, but there was always someone there to answer her questions along the way.

Her hard work and dedication didn’t go unnoticed. It was her co-workers who told her about the Barbara Serniak Memorial Perioperative Nursing Award and suggested she apply. They wrote her glowing recommendations, citing her hard work and dedication.

Having her co-workers recommend her was almost as satisfying as winning the award itself.

“It confirmed that I’m in the right field and doing what I love,” Emily says. “It’s the right fit, and other people see that too.”

Rewarding work

Now, over a year since she was hired, Emily is working on her own, and she loves what she’s doing.

At the end of a long day, she’s tired. But it’s rewarding work.

“You know you’re helping people,” she says.

Emily still helps care for her grandmother. She can’t get around like she used to, but she still loves seeing her granddaughter. And she’s proud of Emily, too.

She herself wanted to become a nurse, but she stopped working as an LPN to care for her kids. Seeing her granddaughter fulfill her dreams brings her joy.

And seeing her grandmother happy, that makes Emily happy.

Learn more about the nursing program at York College.

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