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In This Issue:
For Analesa Baraka, RN, the best thing about coming to work is knowing that she is going to make a difference in someone’s life.
“I love helping people, and it’s especially rewarding when we’re discharging patients and sending them home,” said Baraka, a nurse on Tower 4B, who cares for plastic surgery and urology patients.
That personal connection with patients is why Baraka, who previously worked as an administrative assistant in Molecular Diagnostics handling patient samples, dreamed of going to nursing school. She enrolled at Lawrence Memorial/Regis College two years ago and later saw a table outside the BWH cafeteria promoting the Educational Financial Assistance Program (EFAP) offered by BWH Workforce Development. Through the program, employees enrolled in one of the degree or certificate programs listed on page 4 can receive a forgivable loan of up to $10,000 to cover tuition, books and other fees.
“This took an extra burden off me during my last semester,” said Baraka, who applied for and received the forgivable loan. “It allowed me to focus on school and passing my boards.”
The program has awarded forgivable loans to 31 BWH employees since its inception in the spring of 2007. “EFAP gives employees money up front to help them finance their education and concentrate on their studies,” said Beverley Sobers, director of Workforce Development. “It’s hard to put into words how people feel when they receive a check for up to $10,000 for their education.”
Yvette Hernandez, a surgical technologist who received an EFAP award to cover a semester at Massachusetts Bay Community College, agreed. “It was huge for me. It’s hard as a single parent to go back to school and be able to afford it,” she said.
Hernandez had worked for eight years as a manager in Brigham Medical Specialties before applying to the surgical technologist program offered by Mass Bay in conjunction with BWH Workforce Development. She completed her certificate program and began in the OR in June. “I love it,” she said. “I love the people I work with, the patients and the busy atmosphere.”
Christine Flanagan, RN, nurse manager for Tower 4B and 16CD, is part of the EFAP award selection committee. “It’s exciting to see how motivated employees are,” she said. “It really helps them to advance and pursue their dreams.”
Employees who receive the forgivable loan commit to working at BWH for two years after completing their degree or certificate program. That was no problem for Baraka. “I’ve always wanted to be a Brigham nurse,” she said.
For more information, contact Workforce Development at 617-713-3738 or firstname.lastname@example.org