Nursing requires discipline, determination and a passion for caring for life’s most vulnerable populations. Disciplined and determined from the very beginning of her career, retired faculty member Dianna Douglas, DNS, CNS, APRN, still recalls the passion she felt at her first job as a nurse’s aide at a hospital in Waynesboro, Miss., eight miles outside her rural hometown of Clara.
“I was in love realizing that this was my calling and I never looked back. I set goals to make nursing my career. I loved the patients, the nurses, the hospital; every aspect of nursing fascinated me,” she explains.
Helping Nurses Grow as Researchers and Leaders
After raising two sons and transitioning from a successful and fulfilling specialized career as a psychiatric nurse, Dr. Douglas drew from her 40 years of experience and knowledge to mentor nursing students into becoming compassionate care providers at LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing. Along the way, her determination for stimulating research among undergraduate BSN students (with the assistance of administration and other dedicated faculty) culminated in creating the original MUSES program. With the nurturing of Dr. Jennifer Martin, DNP, CRNA, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing, Nurse Anesthesia, and other faculty mentors, the MUSES program has matured into a national honors program.
The MUSES program’s mission is to promote undergraduate students’ intellectual, professional and personal development by providing scholarly guidance in an area of nursing that is specific to each student’s interests. The program challenges students to grow to their fullest potential as researchers and leaders in their profession. The students collaborate closely with an identified MUSES faculty mentor to develop a research or evidence-based practice project while also pursuing a demanding BSN degree. These projects offer them their first chance at professional scholarship while also fostering lifelong relationships with their accomplished faculty mentors.
“MUSES participants conduct extremely relevant research with the guidance of their faculty mentors. Having succeeded this early in their career, I believe they will become great nursing researchers as they continue their education and enter the profession,” Dr. Douglas says. “I want to challenge students to reach their highest potential possible as nurses, and the MUSES program helps achieve that.”
Celebrating Nurse Determination Through Scholarship
Driven by an opportunity to award these hardworking emerging nursing scholars and the inspiring faculty members who developed this program, Dr. Douglas began awarding these emerging student leaders annual scholarships to allow them to continue to hone their skills in nursing research. This year, she established a formal endowment to create a permanent, self-sustaining fund to celebrate these nurses’ determination to become nursing scholars and leaders and allow the program to maximize its success.
Dr. Douglas funded these scholarships through an IRA charitable rollover. She also intends to bequeath her IRA retirement assets to the School of Nursing to fund tomorrow’s MUSES nursing leaders. “In this way, I can help ignite and feed that original passion students have for nursing and enable them to conduct research that will improve the lives and health of all individuals,” she says.
If you are 72 or older and own an IRA of which you do not need all or a portion of your required minimum distributions (RMDs), you can make a meaningful, tax-free gift to the School of Nursing of any size up to $100,000 a year with an IRA charitable rollover. An IRA charitable rollover gift is easy to make, and it will:
- Direct your gift to a program or area of your choice
- Reduce your taxable income even if you do not itemize deductions
- Not be subject to the 60% limit on charitable gifts
Like Dr. Douglas, discover today how you can elevate and celebrate the success of our outstanding nursing students by endowing a nursing scholarship fund using your IRA. Have your financial advisor or IRA administrator contact the LSU Health Foundation at 504-568-3712 to make an immediate impact on today’s nursing students with a gift that keeps on giving. To learn more, go online to lsuhealthgiving.org.