The Mary Ellen Burke Sosa '78 Nursing Endowed Scholarship
Our dear friend Mary Ellen Burke Sosa was born in Providence Rhode Island in 1956. She was born with Spina Bifida at the L4-S1 levels with meningocele and equinovarus feet. This left her without sensation in the L4-S1 level as well as urinary and fecal incontinence. She would go on to have a least 17 surgeries on her feet and develop osteomyelitis.
We met Mary Ellen while working at Women & Infant’s Hospital in Providence. Despite her many medical issues she graduated from Rhode Island College with a BS in nursing. She would go on to receive a Master of Science in Perinatal Nursing from Boston University. Mary Ellen became the Clinical Nurse Specialist for high-risk obstetrics in the Maternal Fetal Medicine Division at the hospital and served as the Diabetic Nurse Educator for the division. Mary Ellen was appointed as a faculty member for the Warren Albert Brown University School of Medicine – a position she held for twelve years. She was a nationally known speaker in perinatal high-risk obstetrics as well as a member of the National Certification Corporation (NCC) and the Association of Women's Health Obstetrics and Neonatal Nursing.
The NCC remembered Mary Ellen as a nurse who “dedicated her career to improving the care of mothers and babies. She believed that national certification improves patient outcomes and that clinical practice is elevated through the validation of specialty knowledge.” NCC remembered Mary Ellen for her years of service from 1996 until her passing, in 2022, further stating that her “volunteer work and commitment to certification is demonstrated in her y ears of service with NCC. She will be missed” (April 4, 2022, nccwebsite.org)
We will remember Mary Ellen as a wonderful friend with a zest for life despite her many medical issues She believed strongly in nursing education. She lectured and taught nursing staff, medical students and nursing students as she worked to improve care for mothers and babies.
Mary Ellen had a tenacious personality and was passionate about her nursing profession. She was truly a life well lived. She is missed.
Deborah Owens, BS, MS
Jean Salera-Vieira, DNP, APRN-CNS, RNC