For 28 years, Ivy Koefoed worked at the bedside of patients in the Intensive Care Unit and the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Memorial Medical Center.
The interactions she experienced with patients and their family members left a lasting impression. After her retirement in 2006, Ivy started talking about incorporating Memorial Medical Center into her estate plans.
Ivy’s husband, Norm, was supportive of the idea, especially after reflecting on the care he received for open-heart surgery at Memorial in 1998.
“I think everyone was very good to me. They were very caring and I think I had good care,” he said. “I was just that pleased with what was, for me, a very difficult experience that the doctors, nurses and other staff made as easy as possible.”
In 2011, rather than make a gift through estate planning, the Koefoeds decided to create Memorial’s Bedside Nursing Scholarship. They wanted to see the results of their donations – Memorial employees graduating with an associate’s degree in nursing from Lincoln Land Community College.
The scholarship is fitting because Ivy remembers the financial struggles she experienced as a young mother of two children working as a nurse’s aide while pursuing a nursing education in the 1970s.
“I received an Illinois state scholarship and a federal government loan. Even then it was somewhat difficult financially. I still remember that,” she said. “I know there are many young people who are interested in a nursing career but just can’t quite make it happen financially.”
The first Bedside Nursing Scholarship was awarded in 2012 to Jordan McGee. Robert Cunningham received the scholarship in 2013 and Tara McDaniel in 2014.
Ivy’s one caveat for the recipient - they want to become a bedside nurse.
“I think that’s the most important job in the hospital, a bedside caregiver,” Ivy said. “The bedside nurse represents Memorial. They are the first line of defense.”
Norm and Ivy agree that philanthropy can make the Springfield community a better place to live and receive healthcare.
“I’ve reached a point in life that I can afford to try and give someone else a hand up,” Norm said. “I’ve been very blessed and fortunate in my life to have opportunities and education and to see the value of education and the doors it opens for you. So if someone is struggling to make a living and pay their own way and would like a little help to be able to advance further, I’m more than willing to try to help them in that endeavor. And hopefully they will do the same when they’re able.”
The Koefoeds believe education creates opportunities so they encourage others to donate to the Bedside Nursing Scholarship fund.
“If you can give the people the education then you’re going to reap the 30 or 40 years of reward from that education and that will be reflected in their income and their ability to help others. In the future it will hopefully reflect in their attitude ‘Hey, somebody gave me a hand up. I’ll give you a hand up,’” Norm said. “A scholarship like this gives younger people an opportunity to better themselves, to have a better income for their lives. All of that eventually benefits the community, be it the Memorial community or the Springfield community.”
Recipients of the Bedside Nursing Scholarship reflect on the generosity of the Koefoeds and the importance of the financial assistance.
Jordan McGee - 2012 Bedside Nursing Scholarship recipient
Jordan graduated in May 2014 with an associate’s degree in nursing from Lincoln Land Community College. He plans to enroll in a bachelor of science in nursing program in the future. Jordan has been a nurse on Memorial Medical Center’s cardiac unit since August 2014.
The Koefoeds' generosity has helped me a great deal and means a lot to me. Their support really shows how much they care about future nurses and Memorial. I think it is wonderful how their assistance is helping people like me meet career goals and plan for the future.
I can't express enough to the Koefoeds how much their help has made a difference. Students who go through nursing school deal with a fair amount of stress before including the financial worries that may exist. I am very fortunate to have had such kind people come into my life and lighten that load.
I think it's a good idea for people to contribute to Memorial’s Bedside Nursing Scholarship fund because the act of investing in someone's future is one of the greatest gifts a person can give. It motivates students to work hard and do their best to reach their goals. It also sets the tone for individuals to pay it forward. This can mean providing the best nursing care to one's ability or to help a stranger in need with their future education.
Tara McDaniel – 2014 Bedside Nursing Scholarship recipient
Tara will graduate in May 2016 with an associate’s degree in nursing from Lincoln Land Community College. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in the future. Tara is a patient care technician and has worked in Admissions and Testing at Memorial Medical Center since 2011.
Having this financial assistance keeps me from worrying about how I am going to pay for school. I am able to focus solely on my studies and have the peace of mind that as long as I make the grades and am successful, my funding for tuition will be there. It is a huge burden that has been lifted off my shoulders and my family and I are truly grateful.
I have told the Koefoeds that without their generosity it would have been very difficult to fully fund nursing school. I am very blessed that I was chosen for the scholarship. I will do my absolute best to make the Koefoeds proud. I wish there were more people out there who offered a private scholarship for students in financial need. I hope to one day be able to give back to the nursing community like the Koefoeds have.
If you are interested in contributing to Memorial’s Bedside Nursing Scholarship, please call the Memorial Medical Center Foundation at (217) 788-4700.