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Scholarship Honors a Family Nursing Tradition

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Loraine Atkins has spent years dedicating herself to helping others. Since 1992, she has been using her savings to help students of Allen College. So far, Loraine has helped 69 students further their education and take one step closer to becoming nurses.

She does this through a scholarship named after her sister-in-law, Betty Atkins. Betty was an aiding nurse in World War II. She then became a nurse at Allen Hospital for 38 years. Betty established an Allen College scholarship in 1991 to help students with the rising costs of a college education. After Betty passed, Loraine continued the Betty J. Atkins Memorial Scholarship in her memory.

Nursing is a tradition in the Atkins family. Not only were her sisters-in-law nurses, but Loraine’s nieces and granddaughter are as well.

In addition to the family ties, Loraine has volunteered over 15,000 hours at Iowa’s Veterans Health Administration hospitals and clinics. This has led Loraine to have a strong appreciation for nursing. While she isn’t a nurse herself, she understands the importance of and need for nurses.

“We always need good nurses,” she says. “There are not enough of them, wherever you go.”

Loraine has attended almost every scholarship reception Allen College has hosted. She enjoys meeting the recipients of the awards and hearing about what they’re doing. She also likes discussing their plans for the future.

“They’re always great and study hard. They’re going to be great nurses,”   Loraine says. “Some work right at the hospital while going to school. They’re really smart.”

Loraine believes a career in nursing can appeal to a wide variety of people.

“I enjoy meeting the young ladies. But nursing is not just for the young ones. I like meeting the older students too,” she says. “I would like to see more males.”

Making sure students are able to receive an education is a priority for Loraine.

“If you don’t support education, people can’t afford it. And there will always be a big need for nurses. Funding the scholarship helps Allen College nursing students get a little extra money to help buy books. Every little bit helps.”

Loraine has personal experience with the hospital. Allen Hospital has been her healthcare provider since 1949. She believes in what the College is doing to help educate nurses and prepare them for their careers once they graduate.

“I just feel Allen is good. They have a great College and they’re getting so many new things there,” says Loraine. “I just feel comfortable with them.”

Nursing is a career that has new challenges every day. It is Loraine’s belief that Allen College is taking the steps necessary to meet those needs.

“Things keep changing all the time,” she says. By meeting these needs, the college is giving its students the tools necessary to succeed in the field.

After her husband passed away, Loraine began making annual donations to fund the Betty Atkins Scholarship. By not going out as often, she is able to continue this long-lasting scholarship in honor of her husband and sister-in-law.

“What better thing could I do then? So I put the savings into a nursing scholarship,” she says. “Nursing is one of the most wonderful things you can do.”

She considers it an honor to support the College’s nursing program this way.

Loraine knows the scholarships are impacting lives for the better--not only the lives of the students receiving them, but through the patient interaction and care the nurses will deliver throughout their careers.