“I had a double associate’s degree, one for nursing and one for arts, so I had everything set up to work on my bachelor’s degree,” explained Jones, an RN at Cox Medical Center Branson. “I planned to go straight to work on my bachelor’s degree but ended up having to have surgery so I took a year off. I applied for a Pell Grant and was able to get that and should have been done in October of this past year. In July though, I had some family stuff going on and didn’t have a chance to work on my studies as I had planned.”
Jones was just shy of finishing her degree but now she didn’t have the $600 a month extra to pay for school. She made the hard decision to put her plans on hold. It wasn’t until she was telling her manager about her situation that she learned about the Skaggs Foundation scholarship program.
Skaggs Foundation’s scholarship program provides financial assistance to area individuals pursuing or advancing careers in the medical field.
“She led me to the foundation and I’m so thankful and feel so blessed to be a scholarship recipient,” Jones said.
Jones was one of 23 students to receive a spring 2019 scholarship.
With the extra funds from the Skaggs Foundation combined with what she was able to make working extra, Jones returned to class in January. She’s on track to complete her degree in March.
For Jones though, it’s not about adding a few letters behind her name. It’s about being able to get the job she wanted. With her bachelor’s degree within reach, Jones was able to secure a job in nursing education with the understanding she had 90 days to complete her degree. Her first day on her new job was Jan. 21.
“Nursing is very, very rewarding and that is one reason I wanted to get into education,” Jones said. “I wanted to be able to help those who may have some of the same weaknesses I had when I was very new. I want to help them overcome their fears and their weaknesses. I want to teach them and I hope some of the compassion I have rubs off on them too.”
On Jan. 25, Jones was in training with Steven Barnett, an emergency department clinical educator.
“Heather is extremely kind and embodies caring for patients,” Barnett said. “I believe she’ll extend that to her students. In all honesty, I think the technical skills of nursing are easy to learn. The technical parts, you can teach. The part that you are seeing that is hard to teach is the glue. You can’t teach heart. You can only lead by example.”
Since inception in 2002, Skaggs Foundation has awarded $363,200 to students like Jones who are pursuing or advancing careers in the medical field. In 2018, Skaggs Foundation awarded a total of 51 scholarships to students.
To learn how you can help make these scholarships and other Skaggs Foundation programs possible, visit SkaggsFoundation.org or call 417-348-8998.