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Press Release

Long Island State Veterans Home Nursing Scholarships Keep Vacancy Rates Low

May 24, 2013 - 4:16:10 PM

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Fred Sganga, right, Executive Director of the Long Island State Veterans Home, recognizes recipients of the Virgie Bowie Nursing Vision Awards for 2013. On the front row, left to right, are: Melissa Montelione, RN; Karen Peshkur, Certified Nursing Assistant; Gabriella Bereczky, RN; Kelly O’Toole, Dietary Aide; and Melissa Morales, Certified Nursing Assistant. On the second row are, left to right: Joanne Leyco-Miller, LPN; Clara Joana Henriques, RN; Jennifer Bratisax, Certified Nursing Assistant; and Austin Hines, Certified Nursing Assistant. On the third row are Virgie Bowie, RN, Past Director of Nursing at LISVH for whom the awards are named, and Jean H. Rogers, RN, Director of Nursing at LISVH. Not pictured is Christina Eze, Certified Nursing Assistant.

STONY BROOK, NY, May 24, 2013 – Ten employees of the Long Island State Veterans Home (LISVH) who are enrolled in nursing school have received Virgie Bowie Nursing Vision Awards and scholarships for $1,000 each in recognition of their educational pursuits, as part of an innovative approach that helps the Veterans Home maintain a nurse vacancy rate below one percent.
The scholarship awards were announced on Friday, May 10, by Fred Sganga, FACHE, Executive Director of the LISVH, in conjunction with National Nurses Week. They have been offered for the past 10 years to LISVH employees in any position who enroll in nursing school and maintain an average grade of “B” or higher, Sganga said. The financial awards are made possible by donations received from LISVH employees, patients and their families.
The awards have helped the LISVH maintain a nurse vacancy rate below one percent, Sganga said – well below the current state and national averages for skilled nursing facilities.
“We are excited to have a role in creating new LPNs and RNs who have chosen geriatric nursing as their specialty,” Sganga said. “All of our winners are committed to making a difference in the provision of care. We are also thrilled that a majority of past winners have stayed on to work at our home after they have obtained their nursing license.”
The awards are named after Virgie Bowie, the former Director of Nursing at the LISVH. “She shared my vision of creating great new nurses,” Sganga said, “because without great nurses, you can’t have a great nursing home.”
Three of the scholarship recipients are students at the Stony Brook University School of Nursing: Gabriella Bereczky, RN, of the Nursing Department; Kelly O’Toole, Dietary Aide in the Food Service Department; and Melissa Montelione, RN, of the Nursing Department.
Other LISVH staff who received scholarships for 2013 are:
•         Jennifer Bratisax, Certified Nursing Assistant, Adult Day Health Care
•         Christina Eze, Certified Nursing Assistant, Nursing Department
•         Clara Joana Henriques, RN, Nursing Department
•         Austin Hines, Certified Nursing Assistant, Nursing Department
•         Joanne Leyco-Miller, LPN, Nursing Department
•         Melissa Morales, Certified Nursing Assistant, Nursing Department
•         Karen Peshkur, Certified Nursing Assistant, Nursing Department
The Long Island State Veterans Home is a 350-bed skilled nursing facility located on the campus of Stony Brook University. Opened in 1991, the facility is operated through the Health Sciences of Stony Brook University and is one of the only nursing homes in the nation that is fully integrated into the health and educational mission of a major teaching and research university. LISVH includes a 55-bed Respiratory Care Unit and a 55-bed Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia Unit. For more information, visit

© Stony Brook University 2013

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