For COM LVN student of the year, loss inspires compassion
Hospitals formed the backdrop of much of Stephanie Macaluso’s life.
“I’ve had health issues throughout my life,” said Macaluso, of Santa Fe. “I had a little girl who passed away after 22 days.”
Her experiences spurred her to come to the College of the Mainland Licensed Vocational Nursing Program so she could offer other families the support that nurses gave her.
“I want to pay it forward,” said Macaluso. “I want to be that family’s backbone.”
Making a difference even while in nursing school as interim president and later co-president of the COM Vocational Nursing Student Organization, Macaluso excelled in academics and service.
“At the beginning of the year we went to the Ronald McDonald House and served breakfast,” said Macaluso. “It was one of our service projects. I liked giving back.”
Between the student organization and class, she also bonded with friends to work together to master challenging subjects.
She needed their support when during the program she had health scares, which later turned out to be false.
“There were nights I’d lie in bed and question, ‘Am I strong enough to do this?’” Macaluso remembered. “But it was all worth it.”
Named COM Licensed Vocational Nursing Student of the Year at the recent pinning ceremony, she has encouraged other students.
“She is very well-rounded and has good critical thinking skills,” said Debbie Smith, COM Vocational Nurse Program Coordinator. “She can calmly find solutions to problems and that is what stood out to us.”
Now a COM graduate, she looks toward her next goal.
“I’m interested in ICU. I’m transitioning to the (COM Associate Degree Nursing Program) in May,” said Macaluso.
“You always have that one nurse that you remember. I want to be that nurse.”