Abraxas presents sketch of historic Beebe School of Nursing to retiring school director

Sales of prints to help raise funds for new Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing
Lewes artist Abraxus, center, surprises Connie Bushey, director of the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare, at her retirement dinner with an original pencil drawing of the 1960s-era building as Beebe President and CEO Jeffrey Fried congratulates Bushey on her years of service. SOURCE SUBMITTED
January 28, 2014

Connie Bushey, RN, MEd, MSN, was recognized for her dedication and commitment at a dinner in early January marking her retirement as director of the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare.

She worked for Beebe for more than 40 years, first as a nurse, and then as an instructor at what was previously known as the Beebe School of Nursing before it was renamed the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing in 2011. She also served as curriculum coordinator, and in 1989 was named school director.

“She ran one of the best schools of nursing in the country,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, during the event. He noted how focused she was on the quality of education and making sure her graduates were prepared to work upon graduation from the school. “Our graduating classes of nurses have, year after year, earned high pass rates to become registered nurses. Connie leaves a legacy of a school that is a great training ground to prepare nurses for the future.”

Program coordinator Nina Hazzard, RN, introduced Lewes luminist artist Abraxas Hudson, who in a surprise moment presented Bushey with a 9.5- by-13-inch original pencil sketch depicting the 1960-era Beebe School of Nursing. The drawing, called "Beebe School of Nursing," includes the Jean Ellen DuPont McConnell Nurses’ Residence that was closed in 2006. That three-story building, representing a piece of Lewes history, was razed recently to make room for the new and expanded Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing.

Abraxas has produced 200 prints from the original drawing, and starting Jan. 16, he will sell them for $100 each. He will donate $40 from the sale of each print as a fundraiser toward the construction of the expanded school, now under construction. The $10 million project will double the capacity of the school and includes replacing the nurses’ residence with a new three-story, 18,000-square-foot building that will contain new, modern classrooms and clinical laboratories with a 10,000-square-foot wing will house a medium classroom, a student lounge, and faculty offices. One portion of the existing school will be remodeled to include an expanded library and computer lab, seminar rooms, and administrative offices. Upon completion, the expansion project will enable the facility to double the number of students it can accommodate each year from 30 to 60.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2015.

State Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, presented Bushey with a tribute from the Delaware General Assembly.

During her tenure as director, Bushey led the efforts that allowed the school to reach and surpass many milestones. The school has consistently been accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, now the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and its students have consistently performed above 80 percent on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, with three consecutive years at 100 percent. These achievements are among the many that reflect the quality of the program and the graduates.

Other milestones in Bushey's tenure as director have included the initiation of the articulation agreements for BSN and MSN degrees at Wilmington University and the University of Delaware, obtaining the $25,000 Helene Fuld grant for the establishment of a student computer lab, implementation of a two-year curriculum with college courses and a nursing assistant course as prerequisites, discontinuation of the student dormitory and creation of 24-hour student clinical labs and implementation of many academic and administrative policies.

During Bushey's tenure, the school has celebrated three significant anniversaries: the 75th, the 80th, and the 90th in 2011, at which time the name of the school changed from Beebe School of Nursing to the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing.

Bushey graduated from Beebe School of Nursing in 1968, and then joined Beebe as a nurse. She continued her education and achieved a BSN, MEd, and in 2010, earned her Master of Science degree in nursing.

Abraxas' works are showcased in his gallery in downtown Lewes. Through a combination of realism and light, Abraxas enjoys bringing nature to life and hopes to inspire others to seek adventure in life. His primary media are oil and graphite; examples of each can be found at his gallery as well as reproductions of his art, signed and numbered. Anyone who would like a specific number of the "Beebe School of Nursing" prints should contact Abraxas. Some people already have reserved special numbers, such as representing age or year of graduation.

The Abraxas Studio of Art is at 123C Second St., Lewes. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information can be found at or by calling 302-645-9119.