If you would like to continue Joyce’s legacy and help make an even greater impact on future Knight nurses, you may donate to the Joyce DeGennaro Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
Instructor Joyce DeGennaro ’03 ’09BSN ’13MSN served as faculty liaison on the Alumni Chapter Board for four years (2016 – 2020) and throughout her five-year battle with stage IV breast cancer.
Prior to becoming a faculty member in 2013, DeGennaro was an ICU nurse at Florida Hospital Orlando. “I always thought I gave really good care, until I was on the other side of the stethoscope,” she had said during an interview for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “I was like, I can be so much better. Just the little things, like an ice pack that I never thought of that could relieve pain for someone, or holding someone’s hand.”
A devoted educator, she saw her diagnosis as her greatest teaching tool. She documented her treatments, using her cell phone camera, and embedded it in her curriculum. “I want to use this mess that I’m having to deal with to make them better nurses for people like me,” she said.
In addition to serving on the Alumni Chapter Board, she was an advisor to the Student Nurses Association at UCF Orlando. Under her advisement, the chapter won the national Stellar Chapter and state Diamond Chapter awards. She also served in several leadership positions, most recently president (2018 – 2020), of the Theta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
She earned numerous honors for her contributions to nursing education and community service, including a 40 Noble Knight Nurse award in the Educator category, a Sigma Nursing: Theta Epsilon chapter Nursing Excellence in Leadership, Research, Education and Practice award, a UCF Women’s History Month award, Florida Nurses Association Icon Award, and being named Advisor of the Year from the Florida Nursing Students Association.
She was an inspiration to all who knew her and leaves a lasting legacy of teaching compassion.
“It’s amazing to see how many lives she touched in her time here. She leaves behind a legacy I would say of thousands,” said BSN student Megan Donnelly.
“The biggest loss is those that will never be able to be taught by her,” said UCF College of Nursing Clinical Coordinator Kate Dorminy.
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