Today's Medicine

Nursing Scholarships Ease Students' Financial Burden

Published: March 16, 2020

These scholarships include monies from the Jennie Edmundson Hospital Educational Funds (previously School of Nursing Scholarship funds), the Stahlnecker Trust Nursing Scholarships, the Alice Oth Charitable Foundation (First National Bank Trustee), the Jane Justice Educational Scholarship Fund and the Jennie Edmundson Alumni Scholarship Funds.

The scholarships go to traditional and nontraditional students who meet specific criteria and are pursuing nursing degrees, including associate, registered nurse (RN), Bachelor of Science (BSN), Master of Science and advance nursing practice degrees. The funds are earmarked for tuition, fees and books. 

In 1889, Jennie Edmundson Memorial Hospital established the first nursing school west of the Mississippi River. The school’s three-year diploma program existed until 1997, when the nursing program aligned with the Nebraska Methodist College, said Sandy Westphal, Jennie Edmundson nursing alumni coordinator for the foundation.

The Jennie Edmundson Alumni Scholarship Funds come from alumni and other donors to support Jennie Edmundson graduates or their children, grandchildren or other relatives who are pursuing nursing degrees or advanced nursing degrees.

The nursing scholarships are much more than a monetary award to the recipients.

Tammy Johnson, RN, CBPN-C (above, right), has worked at Jennie Edmundson since graduating in 1982 from the hospital’s three-year program. For the past 20 years, Johnson has served as certified nurse navigator for the Breast Health Center at the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Cancer Center.

“I knew that I wanted to help people from a very young age, so nursing seemed like a good choice,” she said. “It turned out to have been the perfect choice for me. Thirty-seven years later, I still love it.”

Johnson completed her BSN at Nebraska Methodist College in 2012 and earned her MSN there in 2018. In the summer of 2019, she received a Stahlnecker Trust scholarship and enrolled in the nurse practitioner program.

“My scholarship had a big impact on my decision to return to finish my nurse practitioner degree,” Johnson said. “It allows me to concentrate on my studies and not be so concerned about the financial aspects of furthering my education. It also strengthened my desire to do well in my studies, and I feel a sense of obligation to put forth my best effort.”

The Stahlnecker Trust Nursing Scholarship was established in the memory of Joe and Hulda Stahlnecker and their children, Robert Joe and Betty. Hulda and Betty both had careers in nursing for many years. From the 2011-12 academic year to 2019, more than $82,000 in Stahlnecker Trust scholarships has been awarded to more than 60 recipients.

Larry Johansen (above, left), a Stahlnecker relative and trustee of the Stahlnecker grant, said the scholarship honors “the qualities of compassion, assurance and comfort that Hulda and Betty exhibited their entire lives.”

Johansen said he sees similar qualities in scholarship applicants. “They share a true desire to further their education in nursing, and the eight to 12 recipients selected each year appreciate how these funds help ease the financial pressures at a very stressful time in their lives,” he said.

Tara Slevin, vice president of Volunteer Services and Foundation for Jennie Edmundson, said the foundation receives many thank-you letters and cards from scholarship recipients.

“So many mention that the funds they received helped to lighten the financial burden and focus more on their studies,” Slevin said. “It feels good to have such a positive impact on students’ lives, and we couldn’t do it without our generous donors.”

Anyone who would like to establish a nursing scholarship or donate to the Jennie Edmundson Alumni Scholarship Fund or the Jane Justice Educational Scholarship Fund may contact the foundation at (712) 396-6040 or visit the online donation page at

Photo by Daniel Johnson

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About the Author

The Meaning of Care Magazine is published by Nebraska Methodist Health System. Featuring interviews with care providers and first-person stories of patients touched by our services, it is produced entirely by Methodist Marketing Department staff.

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