Doctors support nurses through new UW Tacoma scholarship
Thirty-one area physicians and other donors have established the Physicians' Nursing Scholarship Fund to help nurses continue their education.
Good nurses are important. Just ask Tacoma physician Clyde "Corky" Koontz.
He believes nurses play a key role in patient care. And with that in mind, he's spearheading a campaign to raise money among fellow physicians for student scholarships in the UW Tacoma Nursing Program.
"In my field, I feel that we have an ongoing need to help nurses continue their education," he said. "It's so important to have highly skilled nurses."
Since October 2005, Koontz has convinced 31 area physicians and a number of other donors to contribute to the Physicians' Nursing Scholarship Fund, which partially covers tuition for current UW Tacoma nursing students. As of Dec. 31, the fund contained just over $19,000.
Koontz and his wife, Sydna, will match that amount, contributing another $19,000 to establish the Clyde and Sydna Koontz Endowed Nursing Scholarship Fund.
A number of Physicians' Scholarships were granted this quarter. One went to Mattie Brickle of Tacoma. For this single mom who is caring for her daughter and her mother, the additional tuition help was a huge financial relief.
"I wouldn't be going to school this quarter if I didn't have this scholarship," she said. "I wouldn't be where I am without it."
Brickle, who is on track to graduate this June, hopes to eventually become an advanced registered nurse practitioner and dreams of working in an emergency room.
Both UW alums, Clyde and Sydna Koontz have been loyal UW Tacoma supporters since the permanent campus was established. Koontz is a physician specializing in pulmonary and critical care.
"We like supporting something locally, where we live and work," Koontz said. "And the nursing program seemed like a natural thing for me."
The Nursing Program at UW Tacoma educates nurses beyond their initial training, offering a bachelor of science in Nursing for students who are already registered nurses and a master of Nursing. The program is training skilled nurses like Brickle who make significant contributions to the South Sound community, Koontz said.
"I work with quite a few nurses from UW Tacoma, and I get very positive feedback," he said. "I'm satisfied that the curriculum is very good."
While registered nurses are extremely competent, he said, nurses with bachelor's degrees are often even more valuable.
"There's evidence that advancing education for nurses improves outcomes with patients," he said. "The Nursing Program at UW Tacoma is challenging and demanding, but it's well worth it."
Brickle said she enjoys making a difference for patients and is pleased that Tacoma-area doctors like Koontz appreciate the contributions of nurses.
"The doctors I work with say we are their eyes and ears with patients, that we know them better than anyone else because we deal with them on a daily basis," she said. "That makes me proud to be a nurse."