News and Stories

Radiology Nurse Expert Retires

Roxanne Taylor NURRoxanne Taylor, MS/CNS ’06, RN, NE-BC, retired last summer as Deputy Director of Nursing with 14 years at Upstate starting as a vascular access RN, moving on to radiology and nursing leadership. Taylor became the first nurse Director of Radiology in 2005, saying: “It was a nontraditional role for a nurse. I brought to the table caring for the patient as a whole, not just as a chest x-ray.” She instituted processes for patient safety and earned the Nursing Excellence Award in Radiology. Taylor remains professionally active part time, to include teaching Basic Patient Care for Medical Imaging Sciences. “Students can appreciate that I can marry real experiences to the theoretical,” she said. “I really don't ever see me hanging up my nursing cap!”  

Commencement 2016

The Commencement Ceremony was held May 22 at the Crouse Hinds Theater in downtown Syracuse. The College of Nursing awarded 109 degrees and 2 certificates: 43 BSN, 58 MSN, 8 DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) and 2 post-master’s certificates.  

Student speakers selected to represent their programs (all summa cum laude) were Mashelle Jansen, DNP; Jessica Arcuri, MS/FNP; and Ryan Grabiec, BSN. Jansen was also awarded the Graduate Student Leadership Award.

“We have all chosen the dynamic field of health care where there is only one guarantee, and that is change,” Arcuri noted. “In the few short years that we have been training there have already been numerous changes. ICD9 had changed to a more specific and incredibly detailed ICD10. Another change we’ve seen is electronic prescriptions. You better hope that you have the correct pharmacy before you confirm and send those prescriptions. The upcoming presidential elections will surely bring about new changes likely to influence the way we view and practice preventive care; and, thanks to our education at Upstate, we will be ready.”

Alumna Bambi Carkey, DNP, PMHNP-BC, NPP (MS ’00), College of Nursing clinical assistant professor and director of Clinical Affairs, was the guest speaker. She wrote the following poem and dedicated it to the Class of 2016.

I Remember

I remember my first, last clinical course!!!
Oh God thank you, I prayed, I never have to take another clinical course again!!!

I Remember, that was so long ago, older than my children, and I am sure older than most of you
who are graduating today.

I Remember, two Master’s and a Doctoral degree, and so many more clinical courses later...
I Remember… and, Today, I Remember You!
Eager to learn, anxious, confident, and so, so wanting that fast track to Graduation.

I Remember, your calls each day of that first clinical course,
“Am I in the right clinical? Will I learn what I need to know? Am I OK here?”
“Am I, am I, am I?”
I Remember my mantra: “You are in the right place, You will get what you need, and,
You will be just fine! You will, you will, you will!!!
Oh yes, I Remember!

I Remember Theories -- Scientific Theories Nursing Theories, Systems Theory, and Theories of Human
Growth and Development, and
I Remember Systems -- Body Systems, Family Systems, Organizational Systems,
And Health Care Systems!

I Remember Chief complaints and HPIs and
PMH’s & EKGs, LFTs, MRIs, MSEs and so many other diagnostic screens,
and so much more alphabet soup!
Oh yes, I Remember!

I Remember heart sounds and lung sounds, and cries of pain and sighs of relief,
the joy of laughter, and the tapping of fingers flying over the keyboard late at night
in order to get that assignment in!
I Remember!

I Remember readings, discussion boards, reflective journals, presentations,
scholarly papers (oh those papers), OSCES (yes, the dreaded) OSCES
Oh yes, I Remember!!!

I Remember the DNP Project, the clinical hours, the IRB, the re-writes, the meeting with your
Committee, the re-writes, the re-writes, and finally, the pride of completion!
I do Remember!!!

And one day, just like the DNP graduates who are here today…
You will Remember that this might be your first, last clinical course, after all!



Nursing Alumni scholarships assist the next generation of nursing professionals

It has been said that without continual growth, words like achievement and progress have no meaning. Efforts by the Nursing Alumni Association to grow its scholarship program give meaning to the excellence demonstrated by nursing students as they become tomorrow’s advanced practitioners. A total of 22 alumni scholarships, or $20,000, was awarded May 9 at the College’s celebration of National Nurses Week. 

2016 Nursing Alumni Scholarship Recipients“The Alumni Association is fortunate that over the years many generous donors have established scholarship endowments, and gifts each year to the annual fund allow us to award additional scholarships,” noted Barbara Kane, MSN, RN, FNP-BC (BS’98/MS’99),alumni association president. Two new awards presented were the Bonnie St. Andrews / Barbara Maloy Kane Nursing Scholarship and the Carol Scheel Gavan, EdD, RN, Endowed Nursing Scholarship.

“Presenting the first Bonnie St. Andrews / Barbara Maloy Kane scholarship this year was extremely emotional,” Kane commented. “Having been awarded a scholarship myself while attending the College of Nursing, I felt very passionate about paying it forward. And Bonnie St. Andrews was an incredible inspiration to me during that time.” Bonnie St. Andrews, PhD, was a leading humanities educator, poet and founding editor of The Healing Muse. “With the help of Dr. Deirdre Neilen (also on the Humanities faculty) and the Upstate Foundation, this goal became a reality.”

In receiving this scholarship, Katherine Shields, BS class of 2017, commented: “I appreciate the alumni support because it both enables and encourages me to keep pursuing higher education. It feels great to be recognized for my hard work, and pushes me to keep doing the best I can. It is also really nice to see how active and supportive alumni from Upstate are.”

Carol Gavan retired after 25 years on the nursing faculty, having also served as associate dean and chair of the graduate program. Due to her expertise and dedication, she was twice given the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Her scholarship encourages students with an interest in continuing education and the inaugural award was presented to Yi Duan Low, MS class of 2017.

“This alumni support,” remarked Low, “inspires me to help others by giving back to the community and solidifies my determination to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I will use my financial assistance to pay for textbooks and my nursing examination fee. Thank you!”

The Nurses Week celebration also featured guest speaker Dianne Cooney Miner, PhD, RN, dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College in Rochester and co-author of the BS in10 legislation, The Initiative to Advance Nursing Education in New York State. Cooney Miner’s career reflects substantive accomplishments related to influencing and improving patient care through nursing education. She supports the goal of the legislation to increase the level of education of future RNs to the baccalaureate degree while maintaining all educational paths to licensure. 

“Regardless of the status of the bill,” said Cooney Miner, “the nursing service and practice arenas continue to acknowledge the contributions of baccalaureate educated nurses to increased safety and quality, decreased costs and increased patient satisfaction, the three components of the Triple Aim Initiative. Nursing education programs,” she added, “continue to innovate and collaborate to provide models of education that prepare all nurses with the knowledge, skills and competencies required for today’s  and tomorrow’s practice as the transformation of the US health care system continues.”

Inaugural DNP Class Graduates

The first graduating class of Upstate Medical University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is “a tremendous group of professionals now well prepared to launch into their expanded clinical roles encompassing populations and systems, as well as individual patients,” according to program director Joyce Scarpinato, DNP, PNP-BC, FNP-C ’09. The four graduates completed their degree requirements in January and walked for graduation at the University’s Commencement ceremony in May.

Upstate's First DNP GraduatesThe new DNP alumni are (left to right) Ray Muldoon, DNP, PMHNP-BC; Denise Hiser-Ruddick, DNP, FNP-C; Suzi Koshy, DNP, FNP-C; and Mashelle Jansen, DNP, FNP-C. The College also brought on Koshy, Jansen and Hiser-Ruddick as adjunct clinical faculty for the FNP program.

“A main reason nurses should consider a DNP is because it provides parity with other health care professions,” Koshy commented. “Furthermore, nurses who have earned doctorate degrees are expected to be in high demand through the rest of the decade. With an aging population and growing health care issues, there's an increasing need for highly trained nurses.”

The DNP program was introduced in 2013 as a part-time, online program that post-master’s nurses can complete in two and a half years. This terminal degree provides the student with skills in translation and generation of evidence-based knowledge into clinical practice, as well as expanded skills in leadership, health policy and advocacy, interprofessional practice and information technology.

In addition, a BS to DNP program will launch in 2017 and specialize in acute care, according to Scarpinato. “Patients are far more complex than in the past, with multiple comorbidities. The knowledge and skills that nurses need to care for our populations are at the doctoral level, and at Upstate, we have the expertise to deliver that education,” she said.

DNP applications are taken from September 1 through June 1. For more program information, see Call Dr. Scarpinato at 315-464-3903 to discuss your career progression.

With Distinction blog features Upstate students

Upstate Medical University students do great things on campus, down the street and around the world. They raise money for a fellow student whose home burned down, volunteer at Ronald McDonald House, give up their winter break to help at clinics and orphanages in Haiti.  Our students are a wonderful blend of talents, ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.  Where can you find out more about them?  Check out our With Distinction blog at

When was the last time you visited the JOB OPPORTUNITIES page?

Whether you're an employer looking for the best-qualified applicants or you're looking to make a change in your own employment situation, the alumni association's Job Board is an excellent resource.