Abiodun Olusesi (left), a nurse apprentice I, and Sherard McKenzie (right), a nurse apprentice II, at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview.

Sherard McKenzie and Abiodun Olusesi, both in nurse apprentice positions at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview and part of BayCare’s student nursing program, were recipients of nursing scholarships through the St. Joseph’s Hospitals Foundation and community benefactors. McKenzie and Olusesi were surprised with oversized checks in ‘Publishers Clearing House’-type presentations during their shifts. Both men said the scholarships will help as they balance raising their families, working and going to school.

McKenzie, from Seffner, is a nurse apprentice II and received a $2,500 scholarship through the Kosaraju Family Scholarship program and the foundation. He is studying at St. Petersburg College to become a registered nurse and will have his associate degree in December.

McKenzie has been with BayCare for seven years, working at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South and in the BayCare mobile nursing pool before taking a permanent position at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South. He has been all over the BayCare ‘map,’ as he has provided patient care in 10 of BayCare’s 16 hospitals.

“I’ve always wanted to help since I was a child and give back. I always wanted to respond to disaster situations and help people in need so I knew nursing would get me onto that path and field,” explained McKenzie.

Olusesi, from Ruskin, is a nurse apprentice I and was awarded a $5,000 nursing scholarship through the Al Greenway Nursing Scholarship program and the foundation.

He has been with St. Joseph’s Hospital-South for less than a year but has made a big impact in that short amount of time. He goes to school during the day and works at the hospital at night. Olusesi, who already has a degree in biochemistry, is scheduled to have his bachelor’s in September from Rasmussen University to become a registered nurse.

Olusesi said his passion for taking care of people led him to pursue a nursing degree, but his biochemistry education also spurred his interest in nursing.

“That knowledge (in biochemistry) pushed me into nursing,” he said. “I wanted to know more about how the body works.”

In the nurse apprentice positions, Sherard and Abiodun provide care under the direct supervision of nurses. St. Joseph’s Hospital-South is one of 16 BayCare hospitals in the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions.

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