Nursing for Life: A day of appreciation for Western New York Nurses

Have you heard? We’re gathering together some of Western New York’s most influential healthcare leaders to kick off National Nurses Week with a day of appreciation, education and professional development at our Nursing for Life conference.

Through our partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, we’re assembling representatives from their team as well as from Trocaire, ECMC, Catholic Health, BryLin Hospitals, Willcare, Elmwood Health Center and Roswell Cancer Park Institute to create an event that celebrates nurses and gives them the recognition and thank you they deserve.

“What we have here is very unique,” Mario Hicks, Trocaire’s Director of Development and Alumni Relations, says. “We’re bringing the healthcare community together to strengthen relationships and build partnerships with Trocaire.”

Trocaire nurses

Why join us? When you’re not networking over breakfast, enjoying fare from Fat Bob’s Smokehouse for lunch, speaking with a Mary Kay representative for a new look, sneaking in a free massage in between sessions or indulging in Nitro Magic Ice Cream, you may learn something new!

The conference, which will take place May 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at BlueCross BlueShield’s downtown Buffalo headquarters, is open to all local nursing professionals and students.

Cultivating change: State of Healthcare in WNY

“Our goal was to get a variety of members from the local healthcare systems,” Mario says. “Each person’s role will offer a unique perspective.”

Trocaire nurses

To start off the day, we’re inviting attendees to join a discussion about the current state of healthcare in WNY and the emerging changes.

“Our committee is working to create educational and informative questions related to both the healthcare industry and specific to each company’s role here in Western New York,” Mario says. “Attendees will also have the opportunity to submit their own questions to ask the panel.”

Tackling nursing issues head on

Throughout the day, there will be three breakout sessions to allow attendees to dive deeper into the issues that many nurses face. The topics to be covered will include:

  • Horizontal violence. Also known as workplace bullying. This session, facilitated by Dr. Abigail Mitchell, D’Youville College associate professor and director of graduate nursing, will address the growing need for positive mentors in the profession and ways to end negative work relationships.
  • Nontraditional nursing careers. This session will offer three options for nurses interested in working outside the norm. Tracey Maw, Heathwood Assisted Living vice president of operations support, will discuss legal nurse consulting; Linda Ann Taylor, owner Natural Harmony Holistic Health, will discuss holistic nursing; and a representative from BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York will detail options for nurses who may wish to work in the insurance industry.
  • Personal finance and healthcare financial management. Do you ever worry about saving for retirement? Stella Fey, Alliance Advisory Group financial representative, will explain how to be proactive in saving money for the future you want.

Trocaire nurses

“We talked with the committee to find out what hot topics are being discussed in the healthcare and nursing worlds,” Mario says, “and how people are dealing with these issues.”

Learning from the best: Keynote speaker Donna Cardillo

“Donna Cardillo is a great motivational speaker,” Mario says. “We watched many presentations, and she really fit our mission.”

With over 25 years of clinical, managerial and business experience, this inspirational guru has seen it all. Her experiences, which include working as a columnist for and expert blogger for, have prepared her with a wide base of knowledge to talk about.

“We brought Donna in to take part in this event to light a fire under our guests,” Mario says. “Our goal is for them to come away feeling appreciated, motivated and encouraged.”

Keynore speaker Donna Cardillo

Following the talk, Donna will be available for meet and greets, as well as for book signings.

“We want to celebrate nurses,” Mario says, “and give them the opportunity to be re-energized, join their fellow colleagues to learn and make a difference in the community.”

Visit our website to register for the conference or contact Mario Hicks, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at for more information.