2018 Meister Nursing Scholarships Awarded

(L-R) CMHS Senior Vice President of Operations Adam Thunell, Chief Nursing Officer Cindy Fahey, scholarship recipient Grant Wingate, Barbara Mesiter, scholarship recipient Bridgett Lerma, and CMHS President & CEO Gary Wilde.

Community Memorial Health System is proud to announce our 2018 Meister Nursing Scholarship awardees: Grant Wingate, Joanna Hernandez, and Bridgett Lerma!  Each scholarship recipient walked a unique path to the field of nursing, but all have demonstrated a passion for, and commitment to, providing exceptional patient care.

Grant Wingate has been a team member at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura for ten years.  He started as a Transporter, moving patients throughout the hospital safely and interacting with physicians and other team members along the way.  After five years in Transport, Grant was promoted to a full-time staffing assistant in the Nursing Resources Department.  Several years ago, Grant’s father was in a tragic accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury.  He eventually made a full recovery, and Grant was deeply inspired by the caregivers who helped his father recover.

“Seeing the hospital from a visitor’s perspective and having interaction with such wonderful nurses helped me realize that my calling was to become a nurse,” he said.  In addition to pursuing his nursing education and working in the Nursing Resources Department, Grant is a nurse tech in the CCU, and a father to his one-year-old daughter Paisley.

“I am excited to see where my future takes me and look forward to becoming a nurse at CMH,” Grant said.

Much like Grant, it was first-hand experiences with exceptional nurses that inspired Joanna Hernandez to pursue nursing as a career.  Following a cancer diagnosis at age 16, Joanna underwent treatment and surgeries to fight the tumors found in her body.  After her second surgery, her cancer complications diminished and she was able to move forward with her education.  Joanna works at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura as a Nurse Technician and is pursuing her Associates Degree in Nursing at Ventura College.  She credits her experience as a cancer patient with inspiring her to become a nurse.

“There were many exceptional nurses that inspired me to become a nurse,” Joanna said.  “I take my job and career very personally because I know that every day I can inspire someone in a meaningful way, the same way I became inspired.”

While Grant and Joanna’s inspiration comes from their experiences as patients and family members, Bridgett Lerma’s passion for nursing comes from her experience as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Room.

“As an Emergency Room nurse, mother, and student, I feel immense gratitude and appreciation for all that life has presented so far,” she said.  A a single mother of two who is working and pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN), Bridgett is no stranger to challenges and adversity.  “I went back to school to follow a personal dream despite the hardship and stress that paved the way.”  Bridgett plans to earn her BSN degree from Grand Canyon University before going on to complete the additional education required to become an advanced practice nurse.

The Meister scholarship fund is awarded annually and was started in 2007 by Barbara Meister as a way to show her deep appreciation for the exceptional care her late husband received as a patient at Community Memorial Hospital.  Please JOIN US in congratulating Grant, Joanna, and Bridgett on their selection as Meister scholarship awardees!

Mrs. Meister (center) is pictured below with 2018 scholarship awardees Grant Wingate and Bridgett Lerma.