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Paynesville Press - January 23, 2002

Good Samaritan gives scholarship

Scholarship winner The Good Samaritan Care Center gave its first scholarship from a new state program to Jill Sogge last week.

Sogge, who has worked at the Good Samaritan for two years, first as a certified nursing assistant and then as a trained medication assistant, is attending Ridgewater College for an EMT course. She started in January and will finish the semester in May. She got a $500 scholarship last week.

Jay Ophoven, director of nursing at the Good Samaritan Care Center, gives a $500 scholarship to Jill Sogge, who is taking EMT classes. This was the first scholarship under a new state program.

In the last legislative session, the state took steps to address the shortage of skilled personnel in long-term care. Over the next two years, facilities will receive 25 per patient day from the state for scholarships. The Good Samaritan Care Center expects to have more than $2,000 to offer in scholarships through this program.

The Good Samaritan also budgets $2,500 yearly for employee education. Employees can earn 50 per hour for future education or to pay off college debts or can apply for a scholarship from the facility. Because the state money must be used or will be lost, the facility will be using that money first this year.

To qualify for the state scholarship, Sogge must continue to work at least 20 hours per week at the Good Samaritan. With a young family and the rising cost of tuition, she likely could not afford more schooling without the scholarship money, she said. Next fall, she plans to start nursing school at Ridgewater.

The Good Samaritan also has provided Sogge with flexible hours to make it possible for her to attend classes, said Jay Ophoven, director of nursing. Training your own personnel for skilled positions is a good way to improve their career prospects while addressing the facility's staffing needs, he explained. "Usually when you grow your own, they stay with you and are more dedicated to the field," he said.

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