Grow Our Own Nursing Program Celebrates 20 Years with New Graduates

Maurice Lindsey said, “I’m ready. I’ve been at the bedside for a long time. I’ve been an aide for 14 years with two at Albany Med. It’s been a long time coming.”

Lindsey is one of nine graduates from this year’s class of the Grow Our Own program. For the past two decades, it has served as a pathway for Albany Medical Center employees to pursue a career in nursing. The program, which is supported by community donors, provides eligible employees with academic training and financial aid as they work to become registered nurses while still holding other roles. After they graduate and pass their boards, they become full-time registered nurses at Albany Medical Center.

Lindsey attended nursing school at Hudson Valley Community College while working as a patient care associate in the General Surgery and Trauma Unit. He said he’s looking forward to continuing to care for these patients on B3 in his new role as a registered nurse.

“All my patients know that my heart is here,” he said. “I care about them. I’m just here to make sure they have a good patient experience.”

Grow Our Own started in 2004. Twenty years later, nearly 280 employees have become registered nurses through the program in partnership with local colleges like HVCC, Maria, and Russell Sage. This year’s graduates include three licensed practical nurses (LPNs), three patient care associates (PCAs), a medical assistant, a surgical technician, and an administrative support associate (ASA).

“Education is an important first step in building a life and a career of great purpose,” chief nursing officer Kevin Zeng, MSN, RN, said to the graduates. “We are especially proud that so many of our colleagues, from so many different backgrounds, see the value in our mission and chose to advance their dedication to the people we serve.”

“Candidates from any role from within the hospital are welcome to consider growing their careers with us,” said academic coordinator Pam Slattery, MS, RN, from Albany Med’s Center for Learning and Development (CLD). “One of our greatest strengths is the diversity of our workforce’s talent and culture. When we grow our own, we enrich the patient and provider experience.”

Slattery has been with Albany Medical Center for more than 15 years and has held her current role for three. She said her favorite part of working in CLD is supporting employees.

“They talk about their dreams, and I want to make their dreams come true,” she said. “They’re so excited about it, and that’s what I love.”

Franceska Dhimoshi has worked at Albany Medical Center for five years as a PCA and ASA, most recently on the post-cardiothoracic surgery unit. Dhimoshi will be returning there as a new registered nurse. She is proud to be part of a team of 4,000 dedicated nursing professionals who provide the most advanced care for our region in the Albany Med Health System.

“We’re there for them during their vulnerable moments,” Dhimoshi said. “It’s very rewarding to be at their side, taking care of them, making sure they’re doing well and helping them get better. When I see people come back saying, ‘look at me, I’m doing great,’ it is the best feeling I can imagine.”

The Albany Med Health System has nursing opportunities available in units across the organization. Learn more about nursing opportunities today.

If you are interested in learning more about the Grow Our Own program, please contact the Center for Learning and Development at [email protected].