Scrubs, Stethoscopes and Scholarships: Ambika’s Journey to Care   

Scrubs, Stethoscopes and Scholarships: Ambika’s Journey to Care

Ambika Alagona and family.

Nurses are the heart of health care. Each and every day, they bring comfort and compassionate healing to those in need. They selflessly dedicate themselves to the well-being of their patients, and often pursue a path that furthers their education, ensuring that they can provide the best-in-class care. For Ambika Alagona, a Nurse Practitioner with Jersey Coast Vascular Institute at Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center, the generosity of donors and the transformative power of nursing scholarships in her quest to be the best she can, have helped pave her journey to becoming a nurse practitioner.

Ambika, who has been with Hackensack Meridian Health at various hospitals and facilities for nine years, learned about the availability of nursing scholarships at the network through her aunt, Dawn Chadwick, BSN, RN, also a Hackensack Meridian Health nurse at Riverview Medical Center. Upon applying, she learned how effortless the process was. “The application process wasn’t tedious at all,” she recalls. “For many applications, they require a short personal statement, letter of recommendation, proof of enrollment and tuition cost. It pushed me to apply!”

Ambika’s commitment and potential caught the attention of Hackensack Meridian Health and other organizations that recognized her talent and unwavering dedication to patient care. Since she began applying for scholarships, she has received over half a dozen, totaling more than $25,000 towards her educational journey.

"These scholarships have played a tremendous role in allowing me to grow my career at Hackensack Meridian Health," says Ambika. "Had it not been for these scholarship opportunities, it would have been very difficult to be where I am today.”

Amid Ambika’s academic achievements and professional growth, one thing is certain: her heart has remained steadfastly devoted to providing care at the bedside. "There are patients of mine who have left such a valuable mark in my career, and hold a special place in my heart." she recalls. “I’ve found such solace in connecting with them through listening to their stories, being with them during vulnerable moments and connecting with their families.” It’s in those most simple acts that she feels the true essence of nursing.

Ambika, who is also a clinical instructor at Georgian Court University and adjunct professor at Monmouth University, is paving the way for the next generation of nurses. She teaches core nursing skills and the importance of good patient experiences and outcomes.

But Ambika has never forgotten the generosity that has propelled her forward. She is a passionate advocate for scholarships and champions the cause of aspiring nurses and colleagues who, like her, possess the same innate desire to become the best nurse they can be, which yields high quality nursing care. 

Today, Ambika is pursuing her Post Masters Doctorate in Nursing Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and she continues to rely on scholarships to help her. "I am already working on the next batch of scholarship applications," says Ambika. "Every little bit helps!" 

We applaud Ambika for her motivation and commitment to her education that will continue to benefit her patients at Jersey Coast Vascular Institute and Ocean University Medical Center. We know that her patients - today and tomorrow - are truly in skilled, compassionate care. To make a gift to support our nurses, please visit


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