Baptist Health Foundation Awards Largest Scholarship Grant to Date for Nursing Students
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Nearly $75,000 in scholarship funds have been awarded for students enrolled in Hallmark University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The scholarship grant comes from the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, which committed to providing more students with the opportunity to become a nurse, an incredibly important profession during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While I’ve been out doing my clinicals, I felt like the patients I was taking care of need the help of nurses more than ever,” shared Britney Whitaker, a nursing student at Hallmark University. “But patients are not getting the care they need since we have a nationwide shortage of nurses and it’s putting a lot of stress on us (nurses).”
Social media flooded with photos of nurses geared up in personal protective equipment at the beginning of the year, which first highlighted the seriousness of the virus as it took hold of the world. Reporters who later interviewed nurses learned about the shortage of workers and the increasingly long shifts that one must pull to ensure their patients receive the best care possible. In short, COVID-19 has highlighted to the world the incredible people who commit to their profession as a nurse.
“The character and the commitment to your profession as a nurse is more important now than ever before,” shared Cody Knowlton, President and CEO of the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio. “There is a heightened level of anxiety that is putting a lot on our nurses, and yet they understand that they are there to serve and heal others. This sense of devotion to their roles is strong from students coming from Hallmark, where it is especially ingrained in their heart and soul.”
Mr. Knowlton shared how the Board of Trustees at the Baptist Health Foundation believe that instructors in the Hallmark School of Nursing are unapologetically committed to training students to embody the responsibility of a nurse. Support from the Baptist Health Foundation has grown steadily in recent years, awarding $15,000 to Hallmark’s students in 2019 alone. The foundation’s most recent grant marks the largest scholarship funds allocated for students studying to become a nurse.
“We want to build up our future leaders and workers in healthcare to make sure that the community is taken care of. We’ve seen the quality of students that join Hallmark University, and it encouraged our Board of Trustees to step up and get involved in a bigger way.”
Dr. Gabriel Oluwakotanmi, Dean for the Hallmark School of Nursing and keynote speaker for the past three Nursing World Conferences, has spent the past five years at Hallmark University preparing instructors to train nursing students. After previously warning healthcare experts around the world about the potential effects of an ongoing nursing shortage, Dr. Oluwakotanmi was encouraged by the commitment from the Baptist Health Foundation.
“This scholarship award is a blessing to all students in the Hallmark School of Nursing,” said Dr. Oluwakotanmi. “Scholarships like this are incredibly impactful to the morale and enthusiasm of our
student recipients, their families, and their student colleagues. This award will go a long way to help alleviate the shortage of nurses not only in the State of Texas but also throughout the entire nation.”
New and current students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program will receive scholarship funds following a review of the grant’s recipient qualifications. The BSN program is preparing to graduate its first cohort of nursing students since beginning the program nearly three years ago, providing San Antonio hospitals support from a new class of healthcare professionals.