Press Releases: Southern California
December 9, 2011
Nursing Students Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Success
Kaiser Permanente awards more than $300,000 in scholarships
PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente Southern California continues its long-standing commitment to nursing education, awarding $150,000 to 82 nursing students. In Northern California, 93 students received scholarships totaling $157,000.
While the stories of students, such as Melissa Kniss, age 27 from Pasadena, and Gloria Jimenez, age 38 from Los Angeles, are different, their resilience is inspiring. They each have had to overcome obstacles and make tremendous sacrifices to become nurses.
When Kniss was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease that affects her large intestine), she was forced to delay the start of nursing school and has already been hospitalized three times. “Becoming a nurse is a dream of mine and I am determined to not let anything stand in my way. I see what nurses do at hospitals. They have such a big role in a person’s recovery, with what they do physically and mentally. And me personally being hospitalized because of this disease, I see what a huge impact a nurse can have,” said Kniss. She is married with two children, is a fulltime student, and works part-time at a local restaurant.
Jimenez is also a mother of two, a fulltime student, and works part-time. She immigrated to the United States 15 years ago from Guatemala and worked as a housekeeper and nanny for the very family that has encouraged her to become a nurse. “It hasn’t been easy, but nursing is my passion. I know I’m a little older than some in my class but I love to make people laugh. The other day a patient was uncomfortable, had some pain, and was depressed. I tried making him laugh and at least for that moment he did and forgot about his pain. There’s no specific age for making people laugh.”
This year the scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000. All applicants must:
- Have a 3.0 GPA for the Doctoral ($3,000) or Graduate ($2,500) Studies Awards
- A 3.8 GPA for the Academic Excellence in Pre-licensure ($2,000) Awards
- Have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA for Affiliate Schools Awards ($1,000)
The scholarship is named in honor of Deloras Jones, RN, MS, executive director of the California Institute for Nursing and Health Care, who retired as Kaiser Permanente’s director of Divisional Nursing Services for California in 2000, after a 34-year career. “Our scholarships remind these outstanding students that we believe in them and we want to encourage them as they pursue their career goals,” said Jones. Since 2001, Kaiser Permanente’s Deloras Jones RN Scholarship program has awarded more than $4 million to 2,305 students statewide.
“Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the nursing profession, and in particular nursing education, makes the organization a key partner that understands how nurses can make a tremendous impact in the lives of people as we all strive to build healthier communities,” added Jones.
As one of the largest employers of nurses in California, Kaiser Permanente’s annual support for the nursing profession will exceed $5 million in 2012 for Nursing Pathways, career-ladder programs, nursing research, nursing scholarships, forgivable loans to students, and grants to colleges for faculty development.
A special luncheon will be held for the Southern California scholarship recipients from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 at the Kaiser Permanente Walnut Center, 393 E. Walnut, Pasadena. (Students are available for media interviews.)
The Southern California Participating Colleges:
- Inland Empire: California Baptist University (Riverside), California State University San Bernardino, Chaffey College (Rancho Cucamonga), Riverside Community College, San Bernardino Valley College, and Victor Valley College (San Bernardino)
- Kern County: California State University Bakersfield
- Los Angeles County: American University of Health Science (Long Beach), Azusa Pacific University (Azusa), Biola University (La Mirada), California State University Dominguez Hills, California State University Long Beach, California State University Los Angeles, California State University Northridge, Cerritos College (Norwalk), College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita), East Los Angeles College, Glendale Community College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Trade and Technical College, Mount San Antonio College (Walnut), Mount St. Mary’s College, Pasadena City College, Rio Hondo College (Whittier), Santa Monica College, University of California Los Angeles, and Western University of Health Sciences (Pomona)
- Orange County: California State University Fullerton, Cypress College (Cypress), Golden West College, Saddleback College (Mission Viejo), Santa Ana College, and University of California Irvine
- San Diego County: California State University San Marcos, Grossmont College (El Cajon), National University (San Diego), Palomar College (San Marcos), San Diego City College, San Diego State University, Southwestern College (Chula Vista), and University of San Diego
- Ventura County: California State University Channel Islands (Camarillo)
About Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Program
Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefit program is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve and reducing health disparities through community partnerships with the safety net of community clinics, public health departments, public hospitals, and other agencies. Community Benefit also helps increase access to quality health care and coverage, regardless of income, through our charity care and charitable coverage programs; supports community groups to inspire people to make positive changes for health through our Health Eating Active Living programs and Community Health Initiatives; and shares our medical knowledge, expertise, and research to help Southern California people live healthier lives. For more info, visit Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 3.5 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.