People of PA College: October 2018 Edition

by Karen Jenkins October 9, 2018

People of PA College: October 2018 Edition

We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:

Student Spotlight

Angela Fiorentino, RN

Bachelor of Science in Nursing ’19

Drawn to enroll in PA College by the opportunity for meaningful one-on-one relationships with faculty, Registered Nurse Angela Fiorentino especially enjoys working with the professors in her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, who have always been ready to help her with any challenges she’s faced along the way. Angela is particularly pleased with the quality of these connections, as her program is completely online.

Angela currently works on a medical-surgical unit at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital and decided to pursue her Bachelor’s degree to gain more knowledge and experience. “I believe achieving my Bachelor’s degree will make me a better nurse, and allow me to have additional opportunities beyond bedside nursing,” Angela shares. After completing her degree in December, she hopes to eventually shift her nursing work to a role in an intensive care setting such as the ICU.

Outside of working full time, and doing classwork, Angela enjoy spending time with her family, friends, and dogs. In particular, she likes to pursue hobbies such as golfing, hunting, hiking, swimming, scrapbooking and baking. She also relishes weekend escapes with her boyfriend – going to the beach in the summer and to the mountains in the winter.


Alumni Spotlight

Elissa Dougherty ’10, CHPN 

Team Leader, Hospice & Community Care

After working a variety of jobs after high school, Elissa Dougherty became a non-traditional nursing student in her 30’s. Her now-husband encourage her to attend an open House at PA College, and she was hooked. Throughout nursing school, Elissa worked in the Intermediate ICU at Lancaster General Hospital and gained valuable experience as a patient care assistant and as a unit clerk. After earning her ASN in 2010, she continued at LGH, working on 8 Lime and earning her chemotherapy certification. During this time, Elissa had the opportunity to work closely with the Palliative medicine team from Hospice and Community Care (HCC), as their patients frequently overlapped. She felt most at ease caring for terminally ill patients and their families, so in 2012, she made the decision to begin working for HCC as a case manager.

Elissa is a proud certified Hospice and Palliative Care RN (CHPN) and has served in a variety of roles at HCC, including case manager in private homes and nursing facilities and now as team leader. In this leadership role, Elissa supervises a team of 13 (a mix of RNs, LPNs, Aides, Social Workers and Chaplain) that covers the Lancaster city area. She also serves on several committees, including those pertaining to quality improvement and a new electronic medical record system, as well as a committee working to ensure that the organization responds to the specific needs of members of the Latino community. She still sees patients intermittently, for routine assessments, symptom visits and admissions to care.

Earning her degree from PA College has given Elissa the freedom to support her family doing something that she loves. She feels honored to work for a non-profit organization that values her as a person and gives her the chance to truly change the lives (and deaths) of the patients she serves. Elissa shares: “I’m proud of making the leap to work in home care.  We meet people on ‘their’ turf, often at one of the most difficult times of their life.  It is a complex relationship, and a privilege to navigate along with the people in our care.  I get to educate patients and families on a daily basis, and see the flash of recognition when someone ‘gets it.’ I’ve been in the sacred place when someone took their last breath, bathed the dying and the dead, and have learned that nurses absolutely cry too.  I’m proud to be trusted by patients and their families, and truly thankful that I took the chance on Hospice.”

Elissa lives in Lititz with her husband Pat and their son Brayden. When she’s not at work or chasing after an incredibly energetic six year old, she is sewing, weaving, embroidering, or reading.  And she adds: “I love taking the mystery and fear out of death and the dying process, and urge everyone to do more than just think about your wishes for end of life – talk about them!”

Seeking “People of PA College”

Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!