Mother and Daughter Graduate from the ACE Program a Decade Apart
December 2, 2013 —
Maureen Hammond has memories of her mother’s stacks of index cards, which she would tote around in case an opportunity arose to cram a few minutes of study time. Maureen was in middle school when her mom, Mary Hammond, grinded her way through the Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) BSN Program at the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Mary was a member of the second class of ACE graduates and a self-identified “Queen of Notecards.”
“I felt it was just like having a regular job every day. I would just go to class and clinical Monday through Friday and I would study when I could. It was probably literally the only time of my life I could fall asleep on demand. I was so tired all of the time!” said Mary Hammond of her experience in the ACE Program, which back then was 13 months long. “I agree with that!” Maureen confirmed.
This year, exactly a decade after Mary graduated from the ACE Program, Maureen followed in her mother’s footsteps. A 2013 ACE alumna, Maureen was inspired by her mother’s work as a nurse and by her own work experience at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field but I wasn’t sure what exactly, so I chose microbiology as my undergraduate major,” Maureen elaborated. “I was doing part-time work at UPenn, where I saw that it was the nurses who were spending more time with the patients.” She applied to Drexel’s ACE Program during her senior year at Cabrini College. Maureen said that the pace of the accelerated program was a “huge change” compared to her undergraduate experience. “It was a full time job,” she said, echoing her mother’s own words.
Ten years ago her mom, Mary, started working as a nurse on a kidney and liver transplant floor, and then a few years later became a transplant research nurse, looking at phase 1 tests of medications that had not been used in people before. Today, Mary Hammond is a Supervisor and Clinical Research Nurse for the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “I supervise the clinical research assistants, who are mostly undergraduates between graduate school or undergraduates in a post-bac program applying for medical school,” she said. Mary and her group participate in about 10 studies at any given time. “We recruit and enroll patients, consent them, make sure protocol is complete, and most importantly, make sure the patients are safe.” Maureen is currently working part-time in the same department while she applies for jobs.
Just a few weeks ago, Maureen took her nursing board examinations and passed. Now, she’s looking into nurse residency programs in Medical-Surgical or critical care. For Maureen, entering a residency after Drexel’s ACE Program is an ideal fit. “They make sure you’re your best. They emphasize your strengths and weaknesses, you gain more confidence, and you’re ultimately able to provide the best care to patients,” she said.
Mary always wanted to become a nurse, and the ACE Program helped her navigate getting that degree while balancing family life. “Nursing is just really satisfying,” Mary said, “You get to take care of people, you get to help them recover, maintain optimal health, and it’s very giving. It’s rewarding. You can sometimes extend much more care than a physician.” Maureen added, “When you help a patient feel better, it makes you feel better. I like how hands-on and patient-oriented nursing really is,” she said. Both mother and daughter enjoy spending quality time with patients.
When asked what it is like to have both graduated from the same program, a decade apart almost to the day, both Mary and Maureen say that it is pretty funny. “There are a lot of people still teaching that I know, that have remembered me when they meet my daughter,” said Mary. “When my mom was doing this, I had no idea at the time that I would be doing the same thing years later, so it kind of came full circle,” Maureen ended.