Nursing Education and Scholarships

Impact Stories

FALL 2023

Education is critical to any nurse’s ability to provide high-quality care. That’s why Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 over the past two years to help 100 employees and students pursue their healthcare degrees.

SMH employees can earn scholarships above and beyond any tuition reimbursement they receive, to pay for additional fees required for their educations—including books, uniforms, and equipment. In addition, SMHF awards two scholarships—The G. Duncan Finlay Health Career Scholarship and The Heather G. Miller Health Care Scholarship— to high-achieving high school students in the community who are pursuing a career in the medical field.

“These scholarships pay off because our employees are more engaged. They’re more invested in us and our community,” says Lisa Baumgardner, Associate Chief Nursing Officer at SMH-Sarasota. “Helping aspiring nurses earn higher degrees and certifications helps the hospital system attract top-quality staff and have better healthcare outcomes. It’s part of what makes us a great employer,” continued Baumgardner.

Recipients are grateful for the assistance with their educations. “It impacts my education, and most of all, my family,” wrote Valerie Britton, BSN, RN, whose scholarship award helped her earn an MSN in Leadership and Management. “Your investment in my growth is an investment in this health system’s patient care. Thank you for making such a difference in my life and others’ lives’.”

As a single mother of two, Autumn Decker has had to work two or three jobs to provide for her family. Going back to school forced her to rely heavily on her savings. Her scholarship helped cover the cost of books, supplies, and part of her tuition bill. “This takes a huge weight off my shoulders and gives me peace of mind, allowing me to fully focus on my studies,” she wrote.

A scholarship also alleviated the financial burden on Codi Auten, who noted that “your generosity will enable me to focus more wholeheartedly on my studies and clinical experiences, ensuring that I can become a skilled and compassionate nurse practitioner.”

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