Tom and Sue
When Tom and Sue
Strange, of Loogootee, established an endowment fund with the Martin County
Community Foundation in 1999, it served two purposes. The first purpose was
to provide a legacy for their daughter Terri Sullivan Callaway, who passed
away in 1998. The second purpose was to address what they see as a looming
issue for us all, namely, a shortage of nurses to care for the sick and
elderly. The endowment fund the Strange’s established provides financial
support to a student entering the nursing field. Their hope is that with
this additional incentive, more young people will enter the nursing field.
According to the
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “the
is in the midst of a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby
boomers age and the need for health care grows.”
In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical
June 14, 2000
, Dr. Peter Buerhaus and colleagues reported that the
would experience a 20% shortage in the number of nurses needed in our
nation's health care system by the year 2020. This translates into a
shortage of more than 400,000 RNs nationwide.
But the shortage has already begun.
According to American Hospital Association's June 2001 TrendWatch,
126,000 nurses are needed now to fill vacancies at our nation's hospitals.
Today, fully 75% of all hospital vacancies are for nurses.
There are nursing positions going unfilled all across the health care
spectrum, in doctor’s offices, nursing homes and in-home health care
services, as well as hospitals.
As a result of the
shortage, those nurses who are providing care to patients are working longer
hours under heavier workloads. Sue
Strange herself worked for many years as a nurse and feels a real
responsibility to make this looming crisis better understood and rectified.
“Nursing is a very rewarding profession,” she says.
“To help and care for people when they’re not well . . . it takes
skill, and it gives you a good feeling, that you can help them and help the
community.” Sue notes that
nursing was not a high-paying field when she entered it some years ago, but
“the pay has gone up over the years to where it should satisfy young
jobseekers needing a good income.”
Since the inception
of the Terri Callaway Scholarship Fund in 1998, six students from
have received financial assistance from this fund to enter the field of
nursing. Another student will be chosen this spring. A scholarship endowment
fund of this type provides part of a long-term solution to the nursing
shortage that affects us all. This is an excellent example of local
individuals recognizing a need in the community and taking proactive steps
to correct that need, in a very personal and effective manner.
Thank you Tom and
Sue for your giving hearts.
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