Progressing, developing, and advancing in one’s life requires a strong base foundation on which to grow. Priscilla Quilter ’00 believes her own foundation, both professionally and personally, began right here at Sacred Heart University. Like many college students, Priscilla learned much about herself during those four impressionable years and she chose Sacred Heart because she believed it was the perfect fit. “When I first saw the school I just knew that it was the place I wanted to be. It was small but progressive. The atmosphere was so warm and friendly.” It was at SHU, in the welcoming atmosphere, that Priscilla began her nursing journey.
Studying nursing at Sacred Heart takes a great deal of dedication, enthusiasm, and inspiration from those around you. Priscilla notes that she would not have completed her degree without the strong support system she found at SHU. “I was most influenced by Dr. Linda Strong and Kathleen Friess from the department of nursing. They both pushed me when I needed it the most. They are the type of nurses that every nurse should be and I will be forever grateful for the foundation that they built for me.” In addition to nursing, Priscilla found her niche in SHU’s Campus Ministry programs. “Father Mike was responsible for building and helping us maintain relationships with each other and ourselves through our faith, regardless of our religious beliefs. My life-long SHU friends are ones I met through Campus Ministry.”
After graduating from SHU, Priscilla went on to earn her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Connecticut. She currently works as a nurse practitioner at Backus Hospital in Norwich. “I work in a multispecialty surgical group focus on bariatric surgery, colorectal, oncology, and general surgery. My day is never the same and that keeps things interesting.” Her love for the profession was fostered at Sacred Heart and she has continued to touch the lives of those she meets. “I love my career. The best part of my day is the patients. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people.”
As a 2014 Nightingale Award recipient, Priscilla is recognized by her peers as a leader in her profession. She credits SHU with instilling in her the importance of compassion and empathy: “I treat all my patients like they are my family. Everyone is someone. I have always had that outlook, it was fostered at SHU, and I have been able to carry that along in my career and everyday life.” Priscilla’s passion for helping others keeps her positive and excited to continue on in her profession. “The patients and families are what make my career the best. I can go home every day knowing I made a small difference in the life of a stranger.” Priscilla is a true inspiration for all aspiring health professionals.
When asked for a piece of advice for future SHU graduates, Priscilla reiterates the importance of sincerity. “Our world is an ever-changing place that works at a very fast pace but kindness is what keeps us together. Stay true to yourself and you should be OK.” She reflects back fondly on her four years at Sacred Heart: “I feel sad those years went by so fast. I am thankful for the memories and the ever lasting friendships that I have. I feel proud to be an alumna.”