An Update on Neodesha's Medical Scholarships

by Billie Porter, Community Relations Director

I was recently asked "Just how successful are Neodesha's Medical Scholarships?" I answered, "You only have to look around Neodesha's Medical Facilities to appreciate our successes."

We benefit from the education of two nurse practitioners, Toni Barnhart, RN, NP-C and Patricia Peck, RN, NP-C. Ron Quanstrom, CRNA provides anesthiology services for Wilson County. Two WMC physical therapists, Julie Wittum PT and Heather O'Dell, PT are part of our success stories.

Radiology graduates include Christi Cole, RT and PJ Ramey, RT. Many shifts at WMC are staffed by excellent nurses we were able to help including Carlos Venegas, Jr, RN and Carol Hale, RN. Some worked at WMC to meet their contract requirements and are currently nurses at other facilities like Brooke Harper Baird. Some appreciated our help while attending school, would like to work here, but repaid their scholarship since circumstances make living in Southeast Kansas impossible-like Andrea Bailey Whitmore. Some are medical information systems professionals-whose departments used to be called medical records- including Betty Shoop and Jennifer Green-Williams.

Our success stories include assisting a student who lived in low income housing with a medical card providing health care for her children-- who now owns a home and provides medical insurance for her family. One person shared experience of working several jobs to support her family that now is working fewer hours at a satisfying job.

With the cost of education rising each year, scholarships become more important. Most scholarships are $1000/year--Ruth Stephens is a book scholarship, $300/year. In a rural area, even the escalating cost of gasoline severely affects commuting students. This fall, five students are attending colleges with our assistance.

NHS graduate Danelle Anne Brown is a Respiratory Therapy student at Labette Community College in Parsons who expects to graduate in May 2005. She is the daughter of WMC's Physical Therapist Julie Wittum, works part-time at WMC and received two scholarships this year- Hinrichs Family and Russell Vickers Scholarships.

Kay Collins, LPN works part-time at WMC in our Nursing Department and Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine. She plans to continue working at WMC as a Registered Nurse and graduates in May 2005. Kay and her family are active in the Thayer Community. She received the Hinrichs Family and Russell Vickers Scholarships.

Belle Dickens is working towards an AAS Degree and Radiology Certification with an expected graduation date of May 2006. Belle has worked for WMC since December 2001 at our Get Fit! Wellness Center as a fitness trainer and PT tech. She received the Jessie and William Post Scholarship, Ruth Stephens Scholarship and Russell Vickers Scholarship.

Our scholarship committee always respects our donors' wishes and Mr. Post requested his scholarship be used to help an Altoona student if we had a qualified applicant. Belle and her husband reside in Altoona-and we were delighted to award her the Post Scholarship.

Rebecca A Rhone, RN, CWS® continues to work full-time at the Neodesha's Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine as our Clinical Coordinator while completing college and will graduate in September 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Tabor College in Wichita. She is a resident of rural Fall River and a recipient of the Eunice Swartzleonard Scholarship and Russell Vickers Scholarships.

Becky says our Wound Care Department has "been reaching out into the community with healthcare education both to professionals and lay people: More is planned. While I have already been involved in this, a bachelor's degree preparation will enhance my effectiveness in community nursing and lend credibility to my speaking/writing/teaching. It will also bring more professionalism to the overall Wound Care Program and, I believe, make me a better nurse." Becky received the Eunice Swartzleonard Scholarship and Russell Vickers Scholarship.

Kimberly Speaks, RN, BSN is attending Pittsburg State University full time and is enrolled in Masters in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Program. She graduated from Lewisville High School. Kimberly and her husband live in Fredonia and have four boys. A WMC employee since August 2000, Kimberly is presently a Night Shift House Supervisor and was awarded the Eunice Swartzleonard Scholarship and Russell Vickers Scholarship.

We have found investing in our students to be highly successful-much more so than recruiting employees to a rural area from cities. The more years of education a speciality requires, it seems the tution gets more expensive. With the rising cost of education, it is a rare student that does not require assistance.

If you would like to establish an endowment to provide for a yearly medical scholarship or simply make a donation to our Scholarship Fund, contact Billie Porter or Deanna Pittman. It is a wonderful way to help individuals help themselves and their families-and, when they complete their education, provide great employees for our Hospital. Scholarships are wonderful memorials or can honor a special person in your life.