Tears, Tissues and Gratitude  

The Nursing Scholarship Awards Ceremony

Seventy-one scholarships were awarded at the Nursing Scholarship Awards Ceremony.  The ceremony was touching.  Many of the stories shared moved eyes to tears and hands to tissues.  Despite tears and tissues it was by no means a somber event.  Many smiles and laughter was shared as well.  And then there were the children.  Donors' and recipients' children, some in the aisle, some cradled and held, some calling out to mommies on stage, others carrying flowers to give, all reminding nurses and guests of the mission that Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics is here to serve.

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics as an institution and our nurses as individuals have a remarkable commitment to education.  Sixty-nine percent of our RNs are prepared at a Bachelors level degree or higher.  Our percentage of direct care nurses with a Bachelors degree or higher is double the average for Magnet pediatric hospitals.  The many scholarships awarded certainly have been significant in our nurses pursuing and achieving higher levels of education.

The dollar amount of the scholarships awarded this year totaled $58,000.  Money for scholarships was not the only thing shared during yesterday's ceremony.  A great abundance of gratitude was shared.  The look of thankfulness was on the face of every award winner.  But it is not the gratitude of the winners that I want to talk about.  What is different about the Nursing Scholarships Awards Ceremony is the spotlight is really on the donors.  It is their generosity that makes these gifts possible.

More than one donor spoke about family members who are or had been nurses.  Some of the scholarships are given to honor the memory of nurses who walked our hospital's halls and others honor those who were never employees of Children's Mercy but reside here now in spirit.

The memory of a loved one lost, the thankfulness of a child saved and the gratitude of the presence of a nurse in the most intimate and difficult of moments moved these donors to offer gifts of thanks.  The meaning of presence truly mattered to these donors.  Not just a physical presence, but a committed, professional and invested presence.  The kind of presence that provides comfort, reassurance and the knowledge that at that moment, no one and nothing is more important to that nurse than the patient.  That kind of presence is a special gift to anyone, at any time, in any context, but even more so to those patients and families in need. 

So what is a person to do with such a gift?  Accept it, treasure it and take comfort in it of course.  But the best of gifts are shared and that is what these generous donors have chosen to do through word and action.  They are paying it forward knowing that their gift will strengthen nurses and perpetuate what we all are thankful for; the presence of someone to care.

Let your light shine!  We all have gifts to give and moments to share as well as gifts to share and moments to give.  Thank you to all the donors and nurses everywhere, especially those at Children's Mercy Hospital for so readily giving and sharing their knowledge, time, resources and presence.