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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Rasa Fournier

Tournament Boosts Pali Momi Careers

Theresa Wojtala is one of nine scholarship recipients benefiting from the 2013 Maude Nishimoto Golf Tournament. Photo from Theresa Wojtala.

Every year since 1998, the Maude Nishimoto Golf Tournament has raised funds to provide scholarships for Pali Momi Medical Center employees.

Named after the late wife of hospital founder Dr. Joseph Nishimoto, the tournament combines Maude’s love of golf with her passion for volunteerism and community service. She created the tournament to help Pali Momi staff pursue further education in medicine, and her legacy lives on.

Helping to increase the pool of medical professionals in West Oahu, the most recent tournament was held Aug. 29 at Pearl Country Club. The nine scholarship recipients benefiting this year are nurse educator Grace Quidilla, mammography technologist Jill Baisac, food service worker Mechelle Mamuad, mammography technologist Audrey Pagala, referral development specialist Charlene Prieto, American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certified ultrasound technologist Lynn Uedoi and registered nurse supervisor Theresa Wojtala. They all hail from West Oahu neighborhoods including Aiea, Waipahu, Pearl City, Kapolei and Ewa Beach. Also winning scholarships were registered nurse Aaron Fort of Honolulu and parking services supervisor Jessica Onaga of Mililani.

The honorees are given one year to use their scholarships, which vary from $750 for pre-nursing or $1,000 toward a nursing degree, to $1,500 toward a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on leadership and management, or $2,000 toward a bachelor’s degree.

While they have just received their awards, Ewa Beach’s Theresa Wojtala, a single mom who works full-time at Pali Momi, is ready to put hers to use.

Wojtala currently supervises what is referred to as the med/surg/telemetry (medical surgical telemetry) department, overseeing a staff of about 180. She manages the care of patients in the 80 beds in her department.

Wojtala will continue to work full time while entering a UH Manoa program fitted specifically for her circumstances.

“The program is designed for executive RNs with at least two years of experience who are working full time while getting their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN),” she explained. “It is designed to provide an efficient bridge to the baccalaureate for the experienced RN.”

A BSN is expected to be required of nurses in the near future, so Wojtala is thankful for the scholarship funds, which will help her avoid taking out student loans while she pursues the degree.

Meanwhile, her third-grade daughter Rylee stays just as busy as mom, practicing up to 17 hours each week in a competitive gymnastics program.

“It is a very challenging schedule that we maintain,” noted Wojtala, adding that Hawaii Pacific Health (which comprises Pali Momi, Kapiolani, Straub and Wilcox hospitals) has been very helpful in allowing her to reach her goals.

“HPH is an organization that has always supported education and growth of their employees,” she said. “I feel blessed to work for such an amazing organization that allows me some flexibility with my schedule in order to achieve my professional and personal goals.

“I have worked here since March of 2002 and have always felt a sense of family and support to grow within this organization.”

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