Caring for patients is inspirational for Marianne Hooper-Capuzzi, an M.S.N. graduate. During her sophomore year of college as a business major, she was home for summer break when her father was diagnosed with cancer. Marianne drove him to his daily radiation treatments. Inspired by her father’s medical team, she decided to change her major to nursing.
Living in West Chester, Pa., she now works as a school nurse in Delaware County, assigned to three different schools within the School District of Haverford Township (two public schools and one Catholic school).
Earning her associate degree in nursing at Hahnemann University, Marianne then attended Gwynedd Mercy University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She received her certification in school nursing at Immaculata University before continuing in the M.S.N. program. It was important, both professionally and personally, for Marianne to earn an advanced degree. Obviously, there are better opportunities for nurses with an M.S.N, but she also expanded her critical thinking skills and improved her written and verbal communication abilities.
“My M.S.N. has helped me to develop new skills, become more open-minded, and ultimately improve patient/student outcomes,” she says. She also made new connections.
The bond that Immaculata’s graduating M.S.N. nursing students created with one another was special.
“We were such a cohesive group, respected one another and we really wanted all of us to succeed,” notes Marianne.
She elaborates by describing the late-night calls and encouragement from one another. “We will get through this together. Even when some were dealing with a family issue, we all provided endless support for one another,” she says with pride.
As the only certified school nurse within her cohort, Marianne was able to share her experiences in an academic setting and gain insight from her classmates’ myriad challenges. Many of the nurses in her cohort work shift hours at hospitals. She confesses that the draw of being a school nurse is the hours: no weekends, no holidays, off during the summer and, she adds, “the joy of being with students all day, as they are our greatest educators!”
One of her favorite courses was Policy and Procedure, which helped her realize the importance of being politically connected and taught her how to advocate for the nursing profession. As a hands-on nurse who enjoys patient care, Marianne also appreciated the Seminar for Nurse Educators course, and her clinical and educational practicums, which provided her the opportunity to administer care.
In her role as a school nurse, she is responsible for contacting the PA Department of Health for outbreaks of communicable diseases, now including COVID-19. Her duties also include administering emergency medicine to students; screening for hearing and vision impairment and immunizations; and working with administration, students and families to develop government programs aimed at helping students with disabilities. Marianne works collaboratively with each school’s on-site nurse to ensure students are getting the care they need.
Prior to her current position, Marianne worked for five years at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit caring for special education students from the ages of 3-21. She gained practical clinical experience during her career as the clinical leader of a surgery center, critical care nurse, agency nurse for pediatric patients and preceptor for graduate nurses.
Her nursing experience has taught her to be prepared for all situations and circumstances. For this reason, Marianne decided to focus her final project on “Educating School Nurses to Promote a More Inclusive Environment for Transgender Students.” She earned second place during the M.S.N. Capstone Presentation last December.
“I wanted to ensure that I was administering quality care to every student. I realized the importance of having all the necessary tools and resources to be an effective nurse,” she says.