Fostering the Next Generation of Nursing

A generous Yarmouth couple has endowed the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation’s newest scholarship — an annual $1,000 scholarship for students enrolled in the LPN program at the Burridge campus of Nova Scotia Community College.

“It’s our way of giving back,” say foundation supporters Ron and Bev Smith. They decided to make this incredible contribution as an endowment to the Licensed Practical Nursing program because it’s a gift that keeps on giving. (An endowment means that the principal is invested and the return on the investment covers the scholarship each year.)

Ron knows about investments — he had a career as chief financial officer in several industries. Ron and Bev also both have strong connections to the healthcare field — Bev as a nurse and Ron as a former chair and director of the IWK Health Centre. They both grew up in Yarmouth, but they moved back from the Halifax area in 2006 when they retired. They quickly found their ideal home with a huge picture window giving them a beautiful view of Lake Milo.

Bev and Ron are particularly concerned about the stresses aging baby boomers like themselves are placing on healthcare and the need to step up recruitment of professionals in the field. “Our scholarship is a way to make a tangible difference for years to come,” Ron says, adding they hope their gift will inspire others to contribute.

Bev remembers how important it was to her own nursing career to receive a $500 scholarship. That was in 1970, she says. It paid her tuition and some other expenses.

The Smiths’ scholarship joins two others for the Burridge program that are funded by the foundation. The foundation also administers nine scholarships to the Dalhousie School of Nursing, Yarmouth Campus.

LPNs may make up to 50 percent of the nursing staff in some departments at the Yarmouth hospital, and the Burridge program has a reputation for more hands-on clinical experience than available at similar programs elsewhere in the province. “We hope our scholarship can inspire some young people to enter the nursing field,” Bev says.

Further details regarding scholarship applications will be available in September.