Altruism and compassion are two reasons why this senior nursing major was recently honored with a service award from the SSJs…


Jackie Soucia ’18, a senior nursing major and student-athlete here at Elms, received the Sisters of St. Joseph Service Award at the college’s annual honors convocation ceremony on May 4, 2018. The accolade is granted to a student each year who exemplifies altruism, compassion, and the charism that the SSJs are known for–uniting neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God, without distinction.

A native of Belchertown, MA, Soucia was a time management virtuoso at Elms. In addition to successfully managing clinical rotations as a nursing major, she also demonstrated excellence as an athlete in both soccer and lacrosse, as a member of the Student Nurses Association and Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and as a home health aide with Trinity Health of New England at Home. In February 2018, she volunteered to go on a medical mission trip to Jamaica, where she assisted in delivering vital care to residents of rural areas.

Empathy lies at the heart of Soucia’s nursing practice and guides her patient interactions. “People are more comfortable, and they heal more quickly, if they have trust,” she said.

As a Type 1 diabetic, Soucia discovered that she could ease her patients’ burdens and fears by sharing this part of her life with them.

“People are a lot more comfortable when they know that I have given a thousand shots instead of one, and that I know the pain of finger pricks and blood sugar being high or low,” she said.

This compassionate work ethic has made a significant impression on her colleagues and mentors, too.

“I admire her compassion, empathy, and ability to leave her patients better than she found them,” said Molly Sullivan ’18, a fellow nursing major who often worked with Soucia in clinical rotations. “Each and every day, Jackie inspires her peers to give their best and serves as a role model to others.”

“Jackie exemplifies the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph is so many ways: being present to patients and classmates, working outside her comfort zone, always showing love of God and love of neighbor,” said Sr. Carol Allan, SSJ, director of campus ministry at Elms. “I have known Jackie since coming to Elms, and I have always been impressed with her dedication to studies and athletics. She will be a partner on the SSJ mission for years to come.”

With commencement being just a couple of short weeks away, Soucia has her sights set on moving to Boston, taking the NCLEX over the summer, and beginning her career as a registered nurse.

While she isn’t entirely sure what type of nursing she wants to specialize in, one thing is certain: Her faith will guide her decision-making.

“Faith is a big pillar for me,” she said. “I couldn’t do what I do without God.”