Author: Emily Perryman
South Buffalo is home to many cherished local spots including The Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub on Seneca Street; The Buffalo Irish Center, which celebrates the neighborhood’s very special heritage through music, food and culture; Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s beautiful Cazenovia Park; and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, to name a few. If you are not part of the close-knit South Buffalo Community, or have a connection to the neighborhood in some way, you might not know much about, or ever venture into this amazing and history-filled part of the city.
Many might say that one of the cornerstones of South Buffalo is Trocaire College, located on Choate Avenue right off busy Abbott Road. The private Catholic institution serves students from all backgrounds and areas of Western New York, offering programs in the growing and career-oriented fields of healthcare, business and technology. While the students of Trocaire today are a vibrant, multi-dimensional mix of talented learners from all walks of life, the college began when the religious congregation of Catholic women known as the Sisters of Mercy opened what was then known as Sancta Maria College in 1958, offering higher educational opportunities to women of the order. The College gained distinction early on in the field of nursing and health science education, in line with their Mercy mission.
The Sisters of Mercy had been founded 127 years earlier in Dublin, Ireland after wealthy heiress Catherine McAuley used her inheritance to fight domestic violence and poverty. The religious congregation grew quickly and in 1843, the first convent of the Sisters of Mercy in the U.S. was established in Pittsburgh.
In 1858, the Most Rev. John Timon, first Bishop of Buffalo, asked the Sisters of Mercy for help serving the sick and poor in the Old First Ward neighborhood of Buffalo, which held over 10,000 Irish immigrants who had arrived in South Buffalo, many suffering from extreme poverty. The Sisters of Mercy settled at St. Brigid’s Parish, living right in the heart of the Old First Ward, serving their neighbors in need. For most, the church was the center of people’s religious and social lives and offered them the support they required to help face their challenges head on.
In 1967, the name of the college was officially changed to Trocaire, the Irish word for ‘mercy.’ The institution began to grant admission to lay female students in 1965 and male students in 1972. It has grown and evolved in many ways since then and continues to offer Western New York students career-oriented education to help them fulfill their dreams, and for many, to help support and care for their families.
Many identify Trocaire with its well-recognized and highly regarded nursing programs. Many Western New Yorkers have a direct connection to the College, having known a family member or friend who found their start as a nurse within the classrooms at Trocaire.
Nursing is an important part of the fabric of Buffalo and Western New York. The business community indicates that nursing is an increasingly growing field in the region, providing many jobs and a rewarding career path for those willing to meet the challenge of an ever-evolving profession. Statistics indicate that employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.There are a number of reasons that support this projected growth including the demand for care of our aging population and Baby Boomer generation, increased emphasis on preventative care, and the many people who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Nursing is certainly not easy and much preparation, experience, education and training is required for those who care for us in our local hospitals, health care practices, assisted living facilities, and even during the in-home visits required by many patients. It takes a very special person to become a nurse, and we can’t forget how incredibly important they are to our community, economy, and of course, our overall health and well-being.
To celebrate and kick off National Nurses Week and acknowledge the Mercy mission and of course, the many hardworking nursing professionals in the region, Trocaire College has partnered with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York (BCBSWNY) to present a day-long appreciation and educational conference event on May 2, 2015. The “Nursing for Life” event is for both local nursing professionals and nursing students, and will take place at BCBSWNY headquarters at 257 West Genesee Street in downtown Buffalo, NY from 9:00AM-4:00PM on May 2nd.
The specialized conference will offer local nurses and nursing students education, networking and professional development opportunities, as well as an eclectic array of appreciation activities and pampering services to kick off and celebrate National Nurses Week, which takes place May 6 through May 12, 2015.
“Trocaire College is proud to kick off and celebrate National Nurses Week with our first time Nursing for Life conference event. We’re excited to share this opportunity with both our nursing program graduates and the Western New York nursing community. Trocaire has a tradition of educational excellence in the field of nursing and we’re excited to provide added value to our alumni, as well as to other hardworking local nurses. We’re thrilled to have everyone join us in fellowship and to honor those in this very highly valued profession,” says Mario Hicks, Director of Development and Alumni Relations for Trocaire College.
Educational sessions scheduled will include a “State of Healthcare in WNY” panel discussion, which will feature local healthcare industry thought leaders. The engaging panel discussion will provide conference attendees the opportunity to listen, learn, and ask questions related to the changing face of healthcare in the region. Breakout sessions scheduled will focus on topics such as staying in control of one’s finances, exploring non-traditional nursing careers, and even how to spot and stop horizontal violence and bullying amongst nurses in the workplace, a hot topic in many healthcare work settings today.
Inspirational guest speaker Donna Cardillo, RN will also address conference attendees with a high energy motivational speech. Ms. Cardillo is best known as the “Dear Donna” columnist at Nurse.com, an expert blogger for DoctorOz.com, and an experienced professional with 25 years of clinical, managerial, and business experience to share.
“As the region’s largest health plan, employing more than 300 health care professionals, we certainly value the integral role nurses hold in the delivery of health care.” said Thomas Schenk, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “Recently, we’ve seen the profession evolve, with nurses playing a greater role in delivering holistic, individualized care to improve outcomes and ultimately lower the cost of care. We are proud to host this very unique conference, which will provide useful education and resources to our region’s nursing population.”
While the event is open to all local Western New York nursing professionals and nursing students, conference planners aim to help reconnect Trocaire with its 57 year history of successful nursing program graduates and help tell the story of the College’s history in South Buffalo and beyond.
For those interested in registering for the conference, visit www.trocaire.edu/nurses to gain more information about the event. To keep up to date with what Trocaire College is up to; check out the College’s Trailblazer blog at http://www.trocaire.edu/trailblazer-blog to learn more about the institution’s past, present and future.