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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Hope for the Holidays

Bring It On 2010
With the country seemingly fomenting from one crisis to the next this past year, many of us are looking forward to a new beginning, let’s bring on that extra digit for 2010! This article highlights what one family did to make a difference in a social need, providing a little hope for the holidays.
Nursing Shortage
As the United States population continues to age, more of us will become hospital patients, which is of concern given the current 135,000 nursing vacancies across the country. Despite the economic downturn, a shortfall in nursing supply continues and is expected to grow to 260,000 in the next fifteen years. Which means, when we are older and more vulnerable, who will be there to care for us?
Mid-course correction
Donna grew up a middle child of seven, in the Great Lakes land of Swedes and Norwegians. When she became an adult she had seven children, four of them before age 24. After several cross-country moves she returned to school and completed her R.N. program shortly before her fiftieth birthday. She worked for 25 years as a charge nurse in a community hospital before retiring. During that time she absorbed the changes of many for-profit corporate takeovers and saw a decline in the quality of care due to decreased staffing in the facility. Finally, she retired at age 72, not out of fatigue, but from frustration with the diminishing resources available to care for increasingly more vulnerable patients.
One Person Can Make a Difference
For Donna’s seventieth birthday, a scholarship was created in her name through the Texas Nursing Association. The award was designed to finance nursing school for community college enrollees who are displaced homemakers. The first scholarship recipient was a survivor of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and mother of three children. Despite the loss of her home and damage to her school she stayed on track for completion. The second scholarship was just granted in November, to a fifty-year-old woman who is just entering nursing. Each year, Donna contributes significantly to the fund, even though she is now a retiree, but most importantly, helping someone else still inspires her.
One person, one family, reached out to a community to address the need to recruit and train more nurses in the long term. In a more immediate sense, two families are better off now than before. Thanks Mom.
Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!


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