The School of Nursing Newsletter

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December 04, 2014

Holiday giving can include nursing scholarships


Traditionally, the holiday months have been a time of giving.  From Thanksgiving feasts all of the way to the pristine prospect of a New Year, our lives brim with reminders of generosity.  Especially during this season we are in touch with the compassionate ways we can affect the lives of others and truly make the holidays about giving.

The holiday season is the ideal time to think about those who need someone to care for them and the special people who provide that care – nurses.  Nurses often have special patients they remember the rest of their lives, patients who remind them why they became nurses in the first place – to give to others.

For Mitzy Kobeissi, one such patient walked into the low-income clinic where she was working after graduating from our Family Nurse Practitioner program. The man had high blood pressure and had not taken medication for several years. When Mitzy entered the room, she could tell that something was very wrong, even though he insisted that he did not have chest pain. Experience taught her not to ignore her gut feeling. She ordered an EKG and called 911. When the paramedics arrived, they confirmed he was indeed having a heart attack. Mitzy’s quick thinking saved his life. “He came back to the clinic two or three weeks later with his wife to thank me,” she said. “I’ll never forget him.”

Mitzy Kobeissi is now working on a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which will allow her to practice at the highest clinical level as well as operate at the organizational system level. Her dream is to one day operate a mobile clinic that will provide care to those uninsured/underinsured patients who desperately need medical attention.

Boston Yoder, a BSN student at the UTHealth School of Nursing and PARTNERS Scholar, has learned at a hospital bedside about the peace her touch can bring to a confused, frightened patient. When that happened, Boston recalled: “I was just holding back tears, because you don’t prepare for those things – that was the first time I felt like a patient needed me.”

With permission from her supervising nurse, Boston pulled up a chair and cared for her patient by just being there. “I would have never imagined that just sitting next to somebody and holding her hand would make such a difference,” she said. “But it did.”

When Boston began her journey at the School of Nursing, she faced plenty of uncertainty, including how she would pay for her education. But PARTNERS, a volunteer group that nurtures a $1.5 million endowment to provide support and encouragement for our students and faculty, funded a scholarship that allowed her to focus on becoming the nurse she dreamed of being since childhood.

“I first thought I would have to figure out how to cover tuition and find a job, all while starting my first semester of nursing school, and the PARTNERS scholarship just changed everything,” Boston said.

As Boston prepares to graduate this month and begin her career as a nurse, she is mindful of the difference she can make – not only to her patients, but by mentoring other nurses, just as experienced nurses taught her during clinical rounds. (Click HERE to see a video interview with Boston on YouTube.)

Maybe you have a nurse, like Mitzy and Boston, who you will remember the rest of your life. At the UTHealth School of Nursing, we strive to educate those special nurses who treat patients like members of their own families, who go above and beyond every day to care for them and impact their lives. Yet, a nationwide nursing shortage is crippling our workforce.

Every year, applicants are turned away from the School of Nursing. Not because they are not qualified. Not because they are not passionate about nursing. It’s because we simply do not have enough nursing faculty to train them, and we lack the funding to create more scholarships to attract the many talented students who want to begin their journeys to becoming nurses. But you can change that. You have the opportunity to lay the foundation for a lifetime of care. With your support, our nurses will become tomorrow’s health care leaders.

By making a gift to the UTHealth School of Nursing Annual Fund, you can open doors of opportunity for our future nursing leaders. You can support faculty recruitment to bring additional qualified teachers who will train, mentor and guide more students. And you can fund breakthrough research that empowers the School of Nursing to do more, to teach more, and to heal more.

Boston Yoder, like Mitzy Kobeissi, knows that many people helped her reach this goal, including everyone who gives to the School of Nursing.  Donors’ generosity, she says, will be responsible for each new healing touch she brings to a patient in need.

“When you give, it’s way more than just putting a person through school,” Boston said. “It makes a lifetime of difference.”

Please support our efforts in nursing education.  If you prefer to make an online gift, please visit our Donations page.

Happy Holidays – and best wishes for a healthy 2015!

– Dean Starck