Outstanding alumnae honored with College's Medallion

2019 Medallion recipients
The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President joins Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor (far right) and 2019 M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Medallion recipients (l-r) Deborah Capone-Swearer '85 MSN, Carol Filicetti Chwal '91 BSN, and Stephanie Butler Buxhoeveden '09 BSN.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing celebrated its 30th Annual Mass and Alumni Awards Ceremony. Alumni and friends of the College gathered in St. Thomas of Villanova Church - with The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, University president, celebrating Mass - to recognize the accomplishments of this year's Medallion recipients and their innovative contributions to health care.

The 2019 awardees include Stephanie Butler Buxhoeveden '09 BSN, the Medallion for Clinical Excellence in Nursing; Deborah Capone-Swearer '85 MSN, the Medallion for Excellence in Nursing Education; and Carol Filicetti Chwal '91 BSN, the Medallion for Distinguished Leadership in Nursing Practice.

Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor, noted the caliber of the awardees, saying, “We are honoring three brilliant, accomplished women who have definitely been igniting change…Thank you for inspiring us. We are so proud to call you Villanova Nurses.”



Stephanie Buxhoeveden

Stephanie Butler Buxhoeveden '09 BSN * Medallion for Clinical Excellence in Nursing

When faced with the challenge of a diagnosis of mulitple sclerosis, Stephanie created opportunity. Determined to make a difference in the lives of patients living with MS, Stephanie became a Multiple Sclerosis Certified Nurse, just six months post-diagnosis. She went on to graduate Cum Laude from Rutgers, where she earned her Family Health Nurse Practitioner degree, specializing in the care of MS patients. Today, Stephanie works as a senior clinical science liaison at Biogen, a neuroscience biotech company, while pursuing her PhD in Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Stephanie’s passion for supporting the MS community extends past her work and into her daily life. She gives voice to those with MS, bringing her unique perspective on Multiple Sclerosis as both a nurse and healthcare professional and as a person living with the disease. Stephanie works to empower the MS community – she has built educational programs and helped to develop the first workshop for young professionals with MS. She consults on behalf of Can Do MS, developing programs and participating in webinars for people living with MS and their support partners. She facilitates and writes for WebMD’s online MS community and shares her perspective on her personal blog, Keep on S’Meylin, which has more than 10,000 followers in over 100 countries. In 2015, she even delivered a TedX talk “Thriving in the Face of Adversity”.

Stephanie is an advocate on Capitol Hill having served as a District Activist Leader and chair of the National MS Society’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee. She has also lobbied legislators for increased MS research funding and legislation under which the purchases of motorized wheelchairs for seniors with MS would be reimbursable by Medicare insurance.

Deborah Capone Swearer

Deborah Capone-Swearer '85 MSN * Medallion for Excellence in Nursing Education

Deborah Capone-Swearer has made significant contributions to nursing education and patient education for more than 27 years. Today, she serves as the patient education coordinator and nurse educator for the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Since 2006, her commitment to the care and well-being of our nation’s veterans has been Deborah’s priority and is evident in each of her roles.

As Nurse Educator, she demonstrates in-depth theoretical knowledge and extraordinary clinical skills, and the ability to teach share her knowledge with nurses and other disciplines that make the most complex theoretical principles come alive in the clinical area. Deborah is a mentorwho challenges and inspires staff to think in new and innovative ways to address complex situations.

Within the VA, Deborah has led the creation of several programs to prepare staff to meet the unique and evolving needs of our veterans as they return from deployment. Her conferences have addressed needs related to traumatic brain injury, PTSD, polytrauma, mental health issues and challenges in community reintegration. As a Patient Educator, she is a champion of the veteran and family. She has developed and implemented a veteran hypertension course with dramatic outcomes, artnered with a colleague to develop Shared Medical Appointments, a ground-breaking, new paradigm of care for veterans with diabetesand established a quarterly Patient Education Newsletter for Veterans and the Patient Education channel at the VA.

Deborah’s energy, enthusiasm, compassion and good humor underline her dedication and expertise in Nursing Education. Through her role as educator, mentor, leader and champion, she has ignited a quest for knowledge and learning in the strong community of nurses, colleagues, veterans and families that she has built throughout her career.

Carol Chwal

Carol Filicetti Chwal '91 BSN * Medallion for Distinguished Leadership in Nursing Practice

Dr. Carol Chwal is a creative and collaborative nurse leader, inspiring those who surround her to excel in their nursing practice. She is the Nurse Director and Administrative Director of the Women and Children’s Service Line for Abington – Jefferson Health at Abington Hospital. A champion of patient safety and quality care, Carol provides a high level of energy, knowledge and enthusiasm as she leads the second largest obstetrical department in the state of Pennsylvania.

A Certified Nurse Executive, Carol’s success as a leader stems from her ability to engage her team to achieve optimal outcomes. Carol successfully led a multidisciplinary team to transform patient care and work flow at Abington Hospital, achieving the Baby Friendly designation in 2018. In her role, she is responsible for more than 180 nurses, oversees Labor and Delivery Services, as well as the care of nearly 5,000 births annually and the management of a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Her expertise in business and financial acumen has also led to tremendous improvements through the capture of revenue. Her systems innovation thinking led the redesign the hospital’s process for scheduling Caesarean sections, resulting in improved efficiencies, as well as increased patient and provider satisfaction.
Described by peers and colleagues as a “nurse executive who has not forsaken her clinical skills for the boardroom”, Carol has grown from her roots as a competent, compassionate and ethically motivated nurse who has gone on to influence the care of women and children on a large scale. She is a founding member of the Philadelphia Area Magnet Consortium. She is committed to growing the wellbeing of women and children throughout her community as an active board member of the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, providing support and services to victims of domestic abuse.