Tricia Seidler ’97, RN, MSN, FNP was Wisconsin’s 2007 Nurse Practitioner of the Year, a generous, outgoing nurse who truly cared about her patients and colleagues. Amy Olson ’03, RN, BSN and a student in Alverno College’s first Family Nurse Practitioner program, is also a dynamic, dedicated nurse, committed to expanding her knowledge base so she can provide personalized care to her patients.
The two nurses have never met. They will never work together. And yet Seidler’s generous spirit will help Olson serve the patients they both care about so much.
Olson, who is due to graduate in December 2013, is the first recipient of the Tricia J. Seidler Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship established by Tricia’s husband, Andrew, after she passed away suddenly in 2011.
“I wanted to do something to keep her name alive,” said Seidler. “At Tricia’s funeral, I was totally amazed by the line of people going out the door, many of them her former patients and colleagues. People kept coming up to me and telling me how Tricia had helped them. That’s when I really realized how much she did for others. Her death was a loss to the system, too.”
He wanted the scholarship to help students like his wife – hard-working students who may be struggling to combine school and work. Tricia, he said, struggled with dyslexia but worked part-time and cared for their two young sons, Noah and Zachary, while she completed her master’s degree.
Olson, who coincidentally completed practicum hours at the clinics where Tricia worked as a nurse practitioner, is the perfect nurse to carry on Tricia’s legacy. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first recipient,” Seidler said.
Like Tricia, Olson is a working mother who’s dedicated to her profession. “I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was four-years old,” said Olson, who became interested in the profession after a kind nurse offered popsicles to Olson and her brother after he broke his arm. “I remember thinking, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a nurse and hand out popsicles.’”
She did. After graduating from Alverno in 2003, Olson pursued a career at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She shares, “When I handed my first popsicle to a kiddo who had his tonsils removed, I thought, ‘I have arrived.’”
She decided to pursue a degree as a family nurse practitioner because she wants to help people of all ages. The scholarship, she said, will help her achieve that goal.
“I am the breadwinner for my family,” said Olson, who cares for her disabled husband and six-year-old daughter while completing her studies. “This scholarship is really a benefit to my family.”
It’s also an inspiration. “What Tricia did every day inspires me. Patients came to her at wits’ end, not really knowing where else to go, and she helped them,” Olson said. “This scholarship inspires me to work harder.”
Those words bring joy to Seidler who got to know Olson at the scholarship presentation. “Tricia’s death was a loss,” Seidler said, “but this scholarship is going to help great new nurse practitioners like Amy.”