Here at Providence Life Services, we strive to employ the best possible staff to enhance the lives of those we serve in Jesus’ name. Not only do we employ the best, we continuously equip and encourage our staff to grow in their area of expertise. That is why Providence offers a special Nursing Scholarship to our CNAs, LPNs, and others serving in the nursing profession.
History of the Scholarship
When Nicholas G. Knol, a resident of Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation in Palos Heights, passed away in 1965, his family wanted to commemorate his life and say thank-you to the nursing staff who had cared for him during his final days. They established a scholarship trust fund to make it financially possible for CNAs to receive formal nursing education and become Licensed Nurses, improving their professional fitness for the benefit of those entrusted to their care at Providence.
Since the establishment of the fund, the need for licensed nursing staff has increased, and other partners of Providence Life Services have added donations to the scholarship fund, hoping to expand the opportunities available.
Valarie Jankovsky is the Healthcare Concierge at Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center at Palos Heights. Coming from a family in healthcare, Valarie was exposed to a variety of areas right out of high school when she worked at her local hospital. From office work, to oncology, to radiology, she has vast array of experience under her belt. But her favorite?
“Having the choice, I would just stay with geriatrics.”
A CNA for 16 years, Valarie has a passion for the elderly and their care, which shows in her daily commute of 33 miles to Palos Heights every day.
“It’s worth it,” she insists. “I’ve finally found a company where I feel comfortable at. I’m at home. I have worked with so many inspirational people.”
When she began to talk about going back to school while employed at Providence in Downers Grove, a supervisor told her about the Providence Nursing Scholarship. She jumped on it immediately.
“My nurses at Downers Grove wrote me letters of recommendation.”
After transferring to Providence in Palos Heights, she discovered that she was awarded the scholarship, and has chosen to complete her degree with the College of DuPage’s COD 3 + 1 program. However, she will be able to graduate through any university she chooses.
“Right now, I’m looking at Benedictine. My dad went into COD and also went to Benedictine, so I’m really trying to follow in his footsteps.”
However, she couldn’t have come this far without the support of her friends and family – which includes her Providence family!
“[This scholarship] has really given me the opportunity to reach for my dreams. I know I want to be a nurse, but I do want to grow and stay with this company until I retire. I don’t want to leave. I have all of these inspirational people that I’ve met here and it just makes me thrive!”
Another recipient of the Providence Nursing Scholarship is Ariane Wilson McClanahan. She has been with Providence at Home since 2008, but she often assists with Providence Home Health and Providence Hospice.
“I love it. I like going to the different facilities, meeting different people.”
It wasn’t long before everyone noticed the special spark that Ariane had in her service.
“There was this lady… and she was like ‘You know, you’re really awesome and great! You need to go back to school and become an RN.’ [The new Private Duty Director] was like, ‘I see so much potential and growth in you.’ Then I was like, ‘I’m going to do it!’”
She applied for the scholarship and was declared a recipient. After searching around, she decided to go to Prairie State College.
“[It] met my needs. I got all my stuff, turned it in, and was approved!”
Being a mother while working and going to school has not been easy for Ariane. Especially when her school schedule dictated that she needed to take morning classes.
“The people here have been supportive because they know my school schedule is going to change. They said ‘Don’t worry about it! We can place you [where you need].’ If they were not supportive, I don’t think I could be on this journey.”
The Providence difference has really made an impact on Ariane, and she fits right in with the exceptional service that Providence is dedicated to providing.
“I wasn’t just stuck to a desk. I was able to go out and let everybody know who I am and that the residents can call me if they need me. I just like the interaction with the residents.”
And even though it’s been difficult for her to balance everything, she makes it work and is setting an example for her family.
“I tell my kids, ‘In the end, it’s going to be well worth it!’”