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Current Position: Nurse Practictioner at TJUH
Steven Bocchese graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Vineland, New Jersey in 2007. He first heart about GMercyU through a nursing alumna who also graduated from Sacred Heart.
"The selling point was the small Catholic school atmosphere. That was an environment I was familiar with and one I could thrive in. And that was the case," Steven said.
Steven was a highly involved individual with Campus Ministry and participated in Alternative Spring Break. He was also a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the National Nursing Honor Society. Through the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing & Health Professions, Steven had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip both his junior and senior year.
Steven had a great experience in the Nursing program. Students were immediately placed into nursing courses and clinicals within their first month as freshmen.
"It was a tough program, but I felt completely prepared to take the NCLEX and for when I started working as a nurse," Steven said.
There were many faculty members that stood out, both in the nursing program and throughout campus. Within the nursing program, Steven recalled Dona Molynaeux, Professor of Nursing, who taught her students "down to earth" nursing, as Steven put it, and helped him find a job when he graduated.
During his second semester as a freshman, Steven was feeling particularly anxious because the semester was supposed to be the toughest of the whole program. To help combat his feelings, he set up an appointment with Mary Hermann, Associate Dean of Nursing.
"She offered me such words of encouragement and comfort that I felt so much better after our meeting. She went out of her way to make me feel comfortable during a time that was anything but," Steven said.
Steven also recalled Betsy Black, now retired, who exposed him to the Dominican Republic mission trip, and Velia McCabe, also retired, who attended one of the mission trips with Steven. He expressed that Pam Lynn, Assistant Professor of Nursing, was always an interesting and fun professor to learn from.
He could not forget to include Nancy Chirantona, Assistant Professor of Nursing.
"She was an exciting professor to have in class. She also took me under her wing when I began as an adjunct faculty member teaching clinical to the undergraduate nursing students," Steven said.
Steven mentioned several other nursing faculty members that impacted his time and experience at GMercyU, including Barbara Jones, Marjory Belchic, Tricia Brown-O'Hara, Tammie Kear, and Andrea Hollingsworth.
Outside of nursing, Steven had many other noteworthy faculty and staff members, including Meredith Hoch-Oescher, Dean of Student Success, who served as Steven's FYE professor and boss as a nursing tutor.
Rich Coletta, Microbiology Instructor, was one of his favorites, and Steven described him as "one of the best people I met at Gwynedd."
"He was an outstanding professor and one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was born to teach and mentor young people," Steven said.
He also noted Father John Collins, Chaplain, who became an integral part in Steven's success at GMercyU.
"Father John was one of the most influential people I met at Gwynedd. I was lucky enough to have him preside over my wedding in 2017," Steven said.
Lastly, he highlighted Mary Reilly, Assistant Professor of Psycholgy, who served as his liberal arts professor. He highly enjoyed taking classes with her.
Steven completed his clinical rotations at a number of hospitals, including Jefferson Hospital, Abington Hospital, Grandview Hospital, Doylestown Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
"The expereinces were intense but fruitful. I felt prepared to step into the working world because of the strong nursing theory I had learned and the immersive clinical rotations that I experienced," Steven said.
Steven's answer was simple when asked what his favorite part about GMercyU is.
"It was the people," Steven said.
Like many who attend GMercyU, Steven met lifelong friends. His roommate from freshman year became his best friend and the two lived together throughout their four years. He was eventually in Steven's wedding, and Steven served as his best man.
"Because it is a smaller school, I was able to form relationships with professors that I may not have at other schools. We were able to do this while still learning and reaching the goal of becoming proficient and capable nurses," Steven said.
In 2011, Steven started as a staff nurse at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH). He stayed until he earned his Master's degree from Thomas Jefferson University as an acute nurse practitioner.
Steven began work as a nurse practitioner in a Medical ICU in 2016, and in 2020, he returned to TJUH as a nurse practitioner.
Also, in 2020, Steven began working on his PhD in nursing at the Catholic University, and is currently on schedule to defend his dissertation in May 2024.
In 2017, Steven got married to Jill Corl, whom he met at TJUH when they were both working as nurses.
"It was a fun story where we 'locked eyes across a crowded' patient's room. She has listened to me talk about my time at Gwynedd for eight years now," Steven said.
Steven and Jill have two daughters, Madeline Rose and Juliette Mary.
Currently, Steven is working as a nurse practitioner at TJUH for the vascular surgery sevice. He has also continued to teach as adjunct faculty for undergraduate students at Thomas Jefferson University. In summer 2022, he plans to expand to adjunct faculty at Drexel University to teach nurse practitioner students.
"My favorite part is the ability to connect with other humans on a level that cannot be replicated in other fields," Steven said.
Steven said that nurses have the power to connect with their patients when they deliver good news and serve as their shoulder to cry on when there may be bad news.
"We are there when life begins and at its end. We are there for our coworkers, our peers, and our friends that we met along the way. Yes, there are tough days and no job is perfect. But we are her to serve those that need serving," Steven said.
He quoted Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and she said, "We should be shining lamps, giving light to all around us."