South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative
South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative
South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative
Keeping Nurses in Beaufort and Jasper Counties
Nana Akua Ackaah
Nana Akua Ackaah received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May of 2022 from USCB and is now employed as an Operating Room RN at Beaufort Memorial. True to her calling, Nana volunteered with Volunteers in Medicine in 2020 to administer Covid vaccines and tests for uninsured residents of Hilton Head and beyond. Because she did not qualify for grants, she has significant student loans. The SCNRI will help ease some of that burden for her. As the oldest sibling to a younger sister and brother, she set an example by excelling in her academic studies and hopes to continue to do that when she pursues an advanced degree in the future. She is enjoying her current work as an Operating Room nurse, increasing her knowledge of techniques, equipment and her role as a patient advocate.
Kimberly Alicea earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from USCB last year and has been employed by Hilton Head Regional Medical Center since June, 2022. As an Operating Room Nurse, her current focus is on learning additional skills and obtaining certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support as well as CNOR certification to become a Perioperative Nurse.
Kimberly believes nursing is a key component of any healthcare system – but especially key in Jasper and Beaufort Counties. As they continue to expand the need for nurses is greater than ever.
A military spouse and mother of two – the SCNRI will assist Kimberly in paying off some of her student loans taken to become a nurse.
Cullen Estep attended the College of Coastal Georgia where he received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May of 2022. He is now working at Beaufort Memorial Hospital as an Operating Room RN. Cullen has always been very involved in his community and school, volunteering for a wide range of activities, including Best Buddies (a club helping special needs kids), the Bullock Country Food Bank and Dudley Little League. Cullen feels drawn to work in the OR and wants the community to know they are under the care of the ‘best’ nurses. Cullen describes himself as compassionate and hard-working with the desire to continuously learn and adds that in addition to helping him pursue additional certifications the SCNRI makes him feel appreciated and respected as a nurse.
Cherise Shaw Gardner
Cherise Shaw Gardner is currently a Staff Nurse at Beaufort Memorial. She received her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from ECPI University in Charleston, SC in April, 2022 and has been an RN at Beaufort Memorial since June, 2022. Previously Cherise was an LPN.
Cherise hopes to advance her degree to BSN and then MSN in Public Health. She plans to become a professional CPR Instructor in order to educate those in her community and save lives as a result. She believes she should advocate for her patients, advocate for the community, and be willing to allocate the time to service them.
The SCNRI will reduce Cherise’s financial burden of furthering her nursing education.
Hanna James graduated from East Tennessee State University in May of 2022 and is now an RN at Beaufort Memorial. New to the area, Hanna is anxious to give back to Beaufort Memorial for the opportunity to learn and advance her career. As the ‘bridge’ between her patients to the MDs, Physical Therapists, etc. – Hanna wants to be the best advocate she can.
When Hanna realized nursing was the path she wanted to pursue she transferred colleges. As a result she lost several scholarships she had initially obtained. The SCNRI will help her pay back the loans she needed to become an RN, save for a house and continue her education in nursing.
Christian Lorenzo is a recent graduate of USCB and now works at Beaufort Memorial as an Registered Nurse in the Progressive Care Unit. He is focused on expanding his skills and knowledge to advance to the Emergency Room. His longer term goal is to pursue a Masters in Nursing specializing in cardiac or emergency care. Beaufort Memorial is not a new environment for Christian – he was a volunteer there during his last two years of high school.
Christian’s family immigrated here from the Philippines. He aspires to hold a medical mission there for those who are unable to afford health care.
Bailey Moore is a field RN for the Friends of Caroline Hospice. There she supports patients and their families in Jasper, Hardeeville, Beaufort and Hilton Head. Bailey graduated from the Technical College of the Lowcountry in December, 2022 with her Associate’s Degree in Nursing. Previously she worked 3 years as a School Nurse for the Jasper County School District and 6 years in the SC Department of Corrections as an LPN.
When Bailey decided to obtain her Associate’s Degree in Nursing she had to leave her position as a School Nurse (at their request). So her two-income family with 2 children had to survive on one income while she pursued her degree at TCL. The SCNRI will help her replenish her savings account and pay for future continuing education. She hopes to go back to obtain her BSN in the future.
Samantha Parlagreco is an RN who received her BSN from Clemson University. She works for Hilton Head Regional Healthcare in Labor and Delivery. Women’s health is a specialty that she is passionate about and in this role she manages and provides safe care for laboring mothers and their newborns.
SCNRI will supplement her current degree and will provide funds to support further education, specifically in women’s health.
Rosalyn Paulino graduated in May, 2022 from Technical College of the Lowcountry with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She is currently employed at Sea Island Pediatrics in Beaufort. Previously she had a staff position at Beaufort Memorial in the Delivery and Labor unit.
Rosalyn believes strongly that integrity, compassion and trustworthiness are vital traits for someone in the nursing profession and this enables her to be a more effective nurse to her patients.
The SCNRI will allow her to pay off her student loans while is remains and works in her community.
Dean Smith is a recent graduate of TCL with an Associates Degree in Nursing. As a new RN – he practices at Hilton Head Hospital in the Same Day Surgery Unit. Dean has always wanted to be a nurse and is proud to have finally achieved this goal. Longer term he hopes to continue his education and obtain his BSN as well as a Master’s Degree.
Dean moved to the area two years ago from a much larger city and finds working in a smaller community provides for a deeper connection to his patients and co-workers.
Dean and his wife are expecting their second child in October – the SCNRI will help them offset some of the financial challenges they face.
My name is Hayden and I chose the nursing profession to make a diﬀerence in people’s lives, right here in the heart of the Lowcountry. The SCNRI will help me be able to aﬀord to live in my favorite area and face any obstacles life may throw my way.
Georgia Chahalis Tselios
My name is Georgia Chahalis Tselios and I am a newlywed and a new grad registered nurse! My husband is from Greece and I am Greek American, and as we searched for a place to start our lives together, Hilton Head stood out. We know it will make us both feel at home with the warm weather, beaches, and atmosphere and kind people that we are both drawn to due to our Mediterranean blood.
I will begin my nursing career in the emergency room at Hilton Head Hospital. I have wanted to work in health care since I was 4 years old, and finally having “BSN, RN” after my name seems like a dream. The SCNRI will help with our moving expenses from Greece and Maryland and help ease the transition of a new job in a new place.
We cannot thank this program enough for solidifying our decision for this big move and making South Carolina our home.
My name is Kaitlyn Davis, I am a recent 2023 graduate from University of South Carolina Beaufort. Words cannot express how thankful I am to receive the South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative Scholarship. This opportunity will allow me to start my foundation in Beaufort County, which I am so proud to call my home. Thus far, my nursing career has begun in Beaufort Memorial Emergency Department and I am inspired to make a diﬀerence in my community.
I chose this profession to truly make an impact on one’s health and wellbeing, as this is an ongoing struggle in this area. This scholarship will allow me to continue to work and fulfill my dreams in this beautiful Lowcountry area.
Christine Flores saw first-hand how nurses can make an impact on people’s lives. From her experiences as a volunteer, she realized how nursing is a mix of science and art in order to deliver holistic care – one that treats the person as a whole.
Endeared with the nursing profession, this prompted Christine to obtain her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at University of South Carolina – Beaufort.
Now working as a registered nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
My name is Anna “Colleton” Graves. I grew up in the Lowcountry and have spent many years volunteering at Coastal Carolina Hospital when available before my career there. I traveled upstate for my nursing education, but returned to my home town to start my nursing career. I enjoy taking care of people of all diﬀerent backgrounds and cultures. I choose the nursing profession so that I could help those in need and be the advocate patients need when they cannot advocate for themselves. I was a technician on a Cardiac Telemetry unit and in the Emergency Department as a nursing student where I gained experience in patient care. I did my nurse preceptorship in an ICU setting and fell in love with critical care. Today, I work as a graduate nurse in Coastal Carolina Emergency Department and gain new knowledge of critical patient care in hopes to lay the foundation for the future of my career. My goal is to achieve a CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) in an ICU setting and attend a program to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA). The SCNRI will aid in furthering my education to receive a BSN by helping to cover tuition and textbook expenses. I will work as a full time emergency RN and continue education to receive my BSN in order to reach my goal of CCRN and CRNA in due time.
I chose the nursing profession because ever since I was a little girl I loved helping people and making a diﬀerence. I saw that in nursing and the medical field in general. Seeing the diﬀerences you make in people’s lives is very heartwarming and gratifying.
The SCRNI will help me with trying to further my nursing career. I want to eventually get my Master’s Degree in Nursing.
I was born and raised in Beaufort as the oldest daughter of five children. Growing up, I was always a nurturing child, always carrying a baby doll in my arms or on my hip. As a kid, my mom and I loved watching medical shows such as Trauma: Life in the ER or A Baby Story and I believe this is where my interest in healthcare began. I dreamed of working in an ER or a NICU. Things were complicated when in 2010, I gave birth to my oldest daughter. Then in 2011 graduated from Battery Creek High School as a teen mom. Life was not easy and I worked several odd jobs after graduation. In 2015, I decided to pursue my childhood dream and earned my CNA certification, with the intent to eventually become a RN. Life only became more complicated when in 2016, while pregnant with my second daughter, I was sent to MUSC where she was delivered emergently at 29 weeks gestation. After our time spent in the NICU, I knew I likely didn’t have what it took to be a NICU nurse, I simply could not fathom the loss of an infant. Late 2016, after my youngest was out of the woods for premature complications, I applied for several diﬀerent positions at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. By the grace of God, I landed an interview in the Emergency Department and in October of that year, I was hired as an ER tech. I absolutely fell in love with the Emergency Department and being able to help someone on what could possibly be the worst day of their life. It was then that I decided I needed to pursue my dreams and I applied to TCL to become a Registered Nurse. During my college career, I maintained full-time status at BMH, while caring for two children in school and my grandparents at home. April 2023, I finally earned my Associate Degree in Nursing and on June 2nd, I oﬃcially earned the title of RN. Today, I continue to work full-time in the ER at BMH as a Registered Nurse with plans to further my education in the future and potentially become a nurse in a level one trauma center. Being a teen mom, a NICU mom, and the primary caregivers for my grandparents have never been easy, but I have learned that I am capable of conquering anything throughout this journey of life. Receiving the SC Nurse Retention Initiative Scholarship is an honor. Being born and raised in Beaufort, I have seen the huge increase in the housing market, and have always feared I would not be able to aﬀord to stay in Beaufort as a result.
This scholarship will hugely impact my ability to aﬀord to live and work in Beaufort County, while assisting with continuing my education. I cannot thank the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry enough for this wonderful opportunity and for believing in the newest generations of nurses.
Mariela Moreno Nava
My name is Mariela A. Moreno Nava, I recently graduated from the University of South Carolina Beaufort with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be in the medical field, but it wasn’t until one of my family members had an unexpected medical diagnosis and I knew I wanted to become a nurse. During this experience I felt as we weren’t being advocated for and it made me realize that I could be the person who advocates for future patients. I am currently working at Beaufort Memorial Hospital as an emergency nurse. The South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative Scholarship will allow me to continue my education. I plan on using it to pay for the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse Certification Review Course (TCRN) as well as my Certified Emergency Nurse Certification (CEN).
Personally, I also plan on saving a majority of it to put towards graduate school expenses in the near future.
I chose to become a nurse to serve others. Being awarded the funds from the South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative will help significantly with the high cost of rent in Bluffton, which is where I live in order to work at Hilton Head Hospital. It’s my dream job- but it’s also not a very high paying job. I do it for the love, and so do most of my colleagues. I hope the South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative is around a long time and is able to help other nurses stay here on Hilton Head to take care of all of YOU!
My contribution to health care started in my teens as a Candy Striper at Memorial Hospital in Savannah Georgia. This began my journey of caring for others. I also contributed through my church by helping the community with the needs of the elderly and the homeless. I became a Licensed Practical Nurse and have worked in nursing homes for 22 years, making patients smile, laugh and holding the hand of patients transition through the last stages of life. This is my greatest accomplishment and joy that I was a part of their life and could help them.I attended Hilton Head Regional Healthcare for my clinicals this year while I attended Technical College of the Low Country. I had such a great experience at this hospital, met a lot of caring staﬀ, learned skills and knew I wanted to be part of that. In a professional/personal perspective this scholarship would allow me the extra income to drive to Hilton Head Island for work in a place that cares about the patient.
I recently graduated with my ADN from Jersey College in January of 2023. As a new nurse I knew I could start anywhere. My fiancé and I decided we didn’t need to be long distance anymore so we got married in April and I relocated to the Lowcountry and began my nursing career here. This scholarship came up at the perfect time while we are in the process of making this place our home. While being in the midst of so many life changes I am grateful for this opportunity to be a nurse. I have met so many incredible people so far and it’s good going home knowing that my work does help people and make a diﬀerence in the community. Thank you SCRNI for supporting me as well as so many others as we step into the world of nursing!
My name is Kendra Zavala. I am from Laureldale, Pennsylvania, but I moved to South Carolina in 2018 to further my education at the University of South Carolina – Aiken. I currently work at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in the Birthing Center. I knew I wanted to be a nurse when in high school I did a community service project where a group and I visited nursing homes. From the little things we did, like making blessing bags or playing bingo with the residents, they expressed how much of a diﬀerence we made in their lives. I knew that I could make a greater impact on others by becoming a nurse. I currently am planning a wedding and have a 9-month-old at home. I hope to use this scholarship to help with the financial struggle of the two. Eventually, I would like to further my education and return to school to earn my Master’s degree in Education. I want to be able to give back to the community, but also help those who are struggling to find their way in nursing.
*Applications will be accepted:
*Applicants must have graduated within the 12-month period prior to the application start date.