Office of Public Affairs

HomeHealth Visiting Nurses Awards Scholarship to USM Nursing Student

Charity Hirst, Development & Community Relations Associate
HomeHealth Visiting Nurses 207-284-4566

Saco— University of Southern Maine (USM) nursing student Natasha Splaine recently received the Patricia Geary Community Health Award from HomeHealth Visiting Nurses (HHVN).  HHVN awards this $1,000 scholarship annually to help an outstanding student like Splaine pursue an education in the field of nursing.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Splaine received her Bachelor of Science in ecology from the University of Georgia, then spent some time providing wilderness therapy to at-risk youth.  She found the experience “profoundly moving,” and it ignited a passion for serving the complex needs of adolescents.  Splaine searched for schools with accelerated degree programs, in an environment that supports the active outdoor life she loves, and found what she was looking for at USM in the School of Nursing.  She will graduate in 2013 with her Master’s as a Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

The HHVN scholarship honors Dr. Patricia Geary, a beloved former HHVN board member and Dean of the USM College of Nursing and an outspoken champion of community and home health nursing. Dr. Susan Sepples, director and associate professor at the USM School of Nursing and a long-time member of the Board of Directors at HHVN, shared this statement about the annual scholarship award and its significance to the nursing profession and the community: “The Patricia Geary Community Health Award is awarded to an exceptional young nursing student who shares a commitment and love for community based health care with the woman in whose name the award is given and with HHVN, an organization committed to supporting the future of community health.”  

When asked to comment on the significance of the HHVN scholarship, Splaine explained that “working with people in the community is really important to me; it’s hard to extract people out of the context of their daily lives and treat them as a whole person. I want to be proactive in my care and try to anticipate a need rather than waiting until there is a physical or mental health crisis.” She is grateful that the Patricia Geary Community Health award supports that philosophy while also offering valuable financial support to nursing students.

HomeHealth Visiting Nurses is a not-for-profit home health care agency providing skilled nursing, rehabilitation, home health aide support, medical social work, parent and child health care, community health clinics, Telehealth and other services in Cumberland and York and Southern Oxford Counties.  HomeHealth Visiting Nurses is a member of MaineHealth.  For more information, call 1-800-660-4867 or visit