Alexandria Last month Inova Alexandria Hospital celebrated our nurses for National Nurses Week May 6–12. While you would expect a company to recognize its own for outstanding work, I think it speaks volumes when members of the Alexandria community reach out to us to honor that outstanding work by supporting educational advancement opportunities for our nurses and staff. I am honored to extend my thanks and recognition to those community partners for their gifts.
Teh-Chang Shih Memorial Fund – Dr. Teh-Chang Shih served as a staff internist at Inova Alexandria Hospital for 30 years. Having come from a modest background in his native China, Dr. Shih credited his education with opening the doors to his professional advancement, which eventually brought him to America and to Inova Alexandria Hospital. In gratitude for his success, he devoted much of his time to serving the community’s poor.
Near the end of his life, as Dr. Shih became ill, his role was reversed and he became the patient. His daughter June recalls noticing the important role our nurses and technicians played in his care: “I saw how much the hospital leaned on the hard work of the nurses and clinical techs. I was impressed by how so many were also in night school to advance themselves. Many were immigrants who came to the hospital from so many different countries — just like my dad.”
After his death in 2012, Dr. Shih’s family sought to honor the father, husband and beloved physician who so valued education and the opportunities it brought. They created the largest scholarship for nursing and medical technician staff in Inova Alexandria Hospital’s history. Just last month, the fund awarded scholarships to its first recipients — two nurses and two medical technicians — to further their education through medical conferences and higher education.
Speck Award for Nursing Excellence – OB/GYN Dr. George Speck, who practiced at Inova Alexandria Hospital for over 50 years, passed away in 2007, but his legacy of appreciation for the field of nursing endures today. “He always acknowledged that while the doctors got most of the attention, it was the nurses who made sure the work got done,” said his son David Speck, former Alexandria City Council member and past chairman of the Alexandria Health Services Corporation. In recognition of the nurses, Dr. Speck established an annual award in 1949 for the “Outstanding Student Nurse” in the now defunct Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing.
Today, that award recognizes nurses who exemplify excellence in parent-child nursing with a grant for continuing education. In honor of his father’s legacy, David Speck continues to fund the grant and presents the award each year. “I look forward to the day when my children, both of whom were delivered by their grandfather, will carry that legacy forward.”
Twig Scholarship Fund – In 2008, the hospital’s junior auxiliary, Twig, established the Twig Scholarship Fund to provide money for nurses seeking an advanced practice degree. “We believe the nursing staff of the hospital is the cornerstone toward ensuring excellent patient care, and we want them to have the best possible education to optimize the health of every person they serve," said Amy Furr, Twig president.
With every purchase at a Twig thrift store and every ticket bought to attend a Twig-sponsored event, like the annual Historical Alexandria Homes Tour, you in the Alexandria community are helping the Twig auxiliary provide scholarships to help a nurse achieve a dream. In fact, your support has allowed Twig to provide more than $86,000 toward nurse advancement since 2008.
I know I speak on behalf of all our nurses and clinical staff when I say “Thank You” to these individuals and all of you in our community for supporting clinical excellence through education at Inova Alexandria Hospital.
Learn how your gift can have a lasting impact. Visit our web page at inova.org/iah and click “Foundation.”