Scholar, Softball Star Snags Job at CT Hospital

NEWBURGH – It’s still weeks before she’s scheduled to receive her diploma from Mount Saint Mary College, but Nursing senior Riley Norwood of East Haven, Conn. has already earned a job in her field.

Soon Norwood will be working in Connecticut’s Yale New Haven Hospital as a Registered Nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. She’s also going to be a member of Yale’s Critical Care Nursing Residency Program.

“The Mount has provided me with a very valuable experience, both personally and professionally, allowing me to be successful in my career,” she said. “The professors know my name and know me as a person; every student is more than just a number.”

Mount Saint Mary College Nursing student and softball player Riley Norwood of East Haven, Conn. will graduate in May of 2024, and has already secured a job at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Mount Saint Mary College Nursing student and softball player Riley Norwood of East Haven, Conn. will graduate in May of 2024, and has already secured a job at Yale New Haven Hospital.

The last four years have been busy for Norwood, who certainly made the most of her college experience. She was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau honor society (Nursing) and the Alpha Chi Honor Society (general academics), and she served as president of Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society (student athletics). She was named an Aquinas Scholar, one of the most prestigious academic awards at the Mount, and she’s been a familiar face on the college’s Dean’s List for years. She also served as a peer mentor for the Mount’s Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) Program and as a nursing peer tutor, among many other accomplishments.

For many, Norwood was best known on campus as president of the Student Nurses’ Association (SNA).

“I was very thrilled and ready for the challenge [of being SNA president],” Norwood said. “I think it really helped me to become a great leader.”

In SNA, she organized and participated in events like community blood drives and workshops teaching her fellow nursing students how to administer naloxone, an anti-opioid overdose medicine.

The only thing that rivals Norwood’s devotion to nursing is her love of softball. As a member of the Mount’s softball team, Norwood received the Female Knight of the Year Award from the college’s Athletic Department in both 2022 and 2023, as well as All-Conference honors in the spring of 2023. She was also a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the college’s Athletic Mental Health Advisory Board. All of these experiences, she noted, shaped her into a more effective communicator and a team player.

Some college athletes find themselves retiring from their sport upon graduation, but not Norwood. After getting settled in to her job at Yale New Haven Hospital, she’s planning to take up coaching softball.

“I’m not sure whether that would be at the travel, high school, or college level,” she explained. “[But] I want to give back to the sport that has taught me so much.”

As she prepares for the next chapter in her life, Norwood is also looking back on her progress throughout these last four years. All of her professors have been wonderful, she noted, including Lynette DeBellis, associate professor of Nursing and Chair of the School of Nursing.

DeBellis helped her to schedule Nursing and clinical work around her softball career, Norwood explained, enabling her to continue being a student athlete at the college.

DeBellis has also been an inspiration for her academically, serving as Norwood’s mentor for her Honor’s Program research project, “The Effect of Non-Pharmacological vs. Pharmacological Interventions on ICU Delirium.”

“Dr. DeBellis has been extremely helpful to me throughout my nursing journey,” Norwood said. “I would not be here in the position I am in without her support and guidance…she has been an endless supporter of SNA and has helped me tremendously in my role as president.”

Like any grad, Norwood is excited about the new challenges on the horizon. But she will never forget the friends she met along the way.

“I will miss all of my friends that I have made here at the Mount,” she explained. “I have loved living just down the hall from them throughout the four years. Additionally, I will miss the views and sunsets from campus, especially from my favorite spot on campus, the patio area outside of the Dominican Center.”

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