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Two new awards reinforce values of Bethel’s nursing program

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Strong belief in the values that Bethel College teaches its nursing graduates has motivated two new awards specifically for nursing students.

The Doris and Menno Schmidt Award for Excellence in Nursing has been established by a couple now living in Hutchinson.

Doris Schmidt is a retired nurse who graduated from the Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in the class of 1952. She was employed as a nurse supervisor at Bethesda Hospital in Goessel and at the Henderson (Neb.) Hospital in Henderson, Nebraska.

Doris received her Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) training in St. Louis at Barnes Hospital and worked as a CRNA in hospitals in Great Bend and Halstead and for 25 years in McPherson.

Menno Schmidt is a retired irrigation farmer. Their farm was located two-and-a-half miles east of Buhler on Dutch Avenue.

The Schmidts established this award for excellence in nursing because Doris has been in many job situations where compassion, self-motivation, dedication and leadership were necessary and of great value, and because of their recognition that as the population increases – especially the number of older people – the need for nurses with these values will also increase.

“We like to think nursing is more than making the rounds and looking in on patients,” Menno Schmidt said.

The Bethel College Director of Nursing and selected nursing faculty will choose the student who will receive this annual cash award of $1,000. It to be given at the nurses’ pinning ceremony to a senior nursing student who has exhibited the following qualities while studying nursing at Bethel College: compassion (sympathetic of others’ distress with a strong desire to alleviate it); self-motivation (incentive or drive to act; dedication (self-sacrificing devotion to achieve); leadership (ability to motivate others); and academic excellence (a student in good standing at Bethel College.

“We are grateful to the Schmidts for establishing this award,” said Phyllis Miller, Bethel interim director of nursing. “The five criteria typify what we also believe are hallmarks of excellence in nursing. It will be a privilege to award this to a deserving Bethel nursing student at graduation this spring.”

An anonymous donor has established an endowed service scholarship to go to Bethel students working in the health-care facility at Kidron Bethel in North Newton.

The donor has observed “the intellectual abilities, steadiness and compassion” of Bethel student nurses and would like to encourage more to work at Kidron Bethel in order to gain experience in elder and Alzheimer’s care. A Kidron Bethel resident’s IRA is funding the scholarship, possible because the money goes to charity and is not counted as income.

The donor encourages others to talk to a financial advisor to see how an IRA can be used in a similar way.

“The establishment of the service scholarship with Kidron Bethel is an example of a partnership between a health-care facility and Bethel College,” Miller said. “Both parties, as well as the students awarded the scholarship, reap benefits during the preparation of students to become competent nurses ready to enter the workforce.”

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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