Sun Health Foundation Scholarships Bring Higher Education Dreams to Life for Nurses

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Thirty Banner Boswell Medical Center employees were awarded nursing school scholarships at an Aug. 31 reception at the medical center in Sun City, Arizona. The awards aim to help current nurses sharpen their knowledge and skills and to encourage others to enter the profession.

Some of the nursing scholarship recipients from Banner Boswell Medical Center. Sun Health Foundation awarded 30 scholarships to current and aspiring nurses at the medical center.

Knowledge is the biggest gift you can give to yourself, your patients and your co-workers.

Becoming a nurse has long been a dream of Kathy Culwell.

Thanks to the support of family, friends, coworkers and Sun Health Foundation, that dream is drawing closer to reality.

The native of Poland draws inspiration from her late mother and father and her coworkers. “They are the ones who have kept me going forward,” Culwell said at an Aug. 31 reception honoring 30 nursing scholarship awardees who work at Banner Boswell Medical Center (BBWMC). Each recipient received a $2,000 scholarship for the 2015-16 school year.

Sun Health Foundation (SHF) Board of Trustees Chairman Jerry Solomon and Development Director Bonnie Olsen presided over the celebration, praising the recipients and presenting each with a scholarship certificate. Administrators from BBWMC and employees’ managers were on hand to show their support.

Culwell, whose full first name is Katarzyna, currently works as a nutrition representative in culinary services at Banner Boswell, a position she’s held since 2010. She was accepted into the concurrent-enrollment nursing program offered by Glendale Community College (GCC) and Northern Arizona University (NAU), where students work toward an associate degree in nursing at GCC while also taking bachelor’s degree courses online through NAU.

Culwell choked up while explaining what the scholarship means to her. “I truly feel I have been blessed,” she said.

Jerry Solomon spoke of how calling on a potential donor who has been a patient at BBWMC, or had a loved one there, makes the job of asking for a donation much easier. “If they have stayed at Banner Boswell, they usually just want to talk about the people who positively affected their stay. That’s almost always the nurses.”

The scholarship also will help Cindy Schneider, nursing manager of the dialysis and apheresis department at BBWMC, to finish her bachelor’s in nursing at Grand Canyon University. She became a registered nurse in 2001 and worked for years as a traveling nurse before deciding to put down roots at Banner Boswell. “I was always meant to be a nurse and this is helping me learn and grow,” she said.

Susan Hopf, chief nursing officer at Banner Boswell, also applauded the recipients. “I’m incredibly proud of you,” she said. “Knowledge is the biggest gift you can give to yourself, your patients and your co-workers.”

Sun Health Foundation (SHF) launched the nursing scholarship program for Banner Boswell Medical Center and Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center earlier this year. Scholarships are awarded once a year to a select number of employees at each hospital who are currently enrolled in or newly accepted into an accredited nursing program. A SHF Scholarship Committee reviews applications and decides on the awardees.

SHF donors have funded scholarships for nursing students since 1980, when Mesa Community College established a nursing education program on the Boswell Memorial Hospital campus. Mesa closed its program at Boswell in 2013. Shortly after, Grand Canyon University’s (GCU) nursing school opened a satellite program in a 21,000 sq. ft. facility located on the banks of Viewpoint Lake in Sun City, just across the street from Banner Boswell. SHF also provides scholarship opportunities to GCU nurses.

Nursing scholarship recipients from Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center will be honored later this month at a ceremony at the medical center.

About Sun Health Foundation
For nearly 50 years, Sun Health Foundation donors have supported superior health care in the West Valley. The foundation is a philanthropic partner to the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Banner Boswell Medical Center and Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, as well as community wellness programs and senior living services provided by Sun Health. Learn more at http://www.sunhealthfoundation.org.

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John Tucker
Sun Health
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Ken Reinstein
Sun Health
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