Jaclyn Szeluga ‘15 in a canyon

Bachelor degree in nursing science, minor in psychology

RN, BSN Neuro-Surgical ICU
Buffalo General Medical Center | Buffalo, N.Y.
Jaclyn Szeluga ‘15 in a facemask and shield

Daemen College alumna Jaclyn Szeluga is very grateful for all she gained from her education. “My Daemen family is a gift that I never anticipated receiving,” she said. “I often wonder how I got so lucky to end up at a place that fit me so well.”

Szeluga said she landed her first job in the Buffalo General Medical Center’s intermediate level care unit after participating in an observation day with a nurse manager there. This opportunity was part of a class in her last year of Daemen’s nursing, B.S. (1+2+1) program. “By the end of the day, the manager asked me if I’d like to apply. Just like that, I was hired,” she recalled.

Szeluga now works in the intensive care unit at the center. “We get to do it all – the ‘straight-forward,’ the emergencies, the miracles,” she said. In March, she began caring for COVID-19 patients. “Nurses banded together and we made it through. We were all stretched past our comfort zones,” she said. “I’m not sure people realize how deeply rooted the instinct to protect our patients runs, unless they know a nurse. It absolutely is the purpose in my life.”

Szeluga said she experienced an outpouring of support. Daemen donated personal protective equipment, and alumni traveled to her home in Pendleton, N.Y. to stand in her driveway with signs of encouragement. Also, two fellow community members heard about the impactful work Szeluga was doing, and, without even knowing her, reached out and offered her their RV to sleep in. This allowed Szeluga to reduce the risk of exposing her father to the virus during the first wave of the pandemic. “They are strangers! I still don’t have words,” said Szeluga.

Despite 2020’s challenges, Szeluga sees a light at the end of this tunnel and looks forward to traveling again, a passion her parents helped instill in her growing up. “I enjoy the things my parents introduced me to,” Szeluga said, explaining that she has a love for other cultures, earth’s natural beauty and meeting new people.

Szeluga’s hope is that we can all come together to do the right thing for our communities as we work towards a brighter future.