When her son was diagnosed with leukemia in the 1960s, Lorena Smith Rall turned to Moses Cone Hospital for help. Although John Joseph Rall, Jr. died in 1966 after a two-year struggle, Lorena never forgot the kindness and care Cone’s nursing staff showed him during his illness. Those dedicated health care professionals – many of them graduate students and alumnae of the University of North Carolina Greensboro nursing program – earned her heartfelt gratitude. In 1996, Lorena established the John Joseph Rall, Jr. Endowed Scholarship in Nursing, which has supported more than 60 UNCG nurses who provide excellent, compassionate care for patients in their communities.
Bevin Strickland, a doctoral student in the Nurse Anesthesia Program, delivered that same level of care across state lines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She volunteered for six weeks, through April and May, in the emergency department of Mount Sinai Queens, a hospital serving the Queens community in New York City. Working directly with COVID-19 patients gave her a new perspective on the crisis.
“I will always volunteer to help,” she recently told a CBS reporter, “but I never want to take care of patients in that scenario again, I never want to have to.”
Bevin headed to New York City after seeing the desperate need for health care professionals in area hospitals. In the emergency department, she cared for the critically ill by using ultrasound technology to get IV access for patients, managing critical cardiac drips, and even intubating patients. Her creativity and critical thinking were skills developed during coursework and experiential learning at UNCG.
“My ICU and CRNA training prepared me to care for patients with knowledge and skills that the other emergency department nurses didn’t have. The didactic education and clinical rotations I had gave me the confidence to support the Mount Sinai staff.”
A single mother, Bevin entered the nursing field after 15 years in banking and recruiting. The John Joseph Rall, Jr. Endowed Nursing Scholarship has done more than enable her to invest in education while providing for her two sons: It has allowed her to embody the University’s motto of “Service.”
“Nursing is the ultimate act of service,” says Bevin, “not only for patients but also for the community. Nurses must be ready and able to care for a variety of patients, and UNCG has equipped me to do that.”
Bevin is grateful for the difference Lorena Rall made in her education and life, and one day she hopes to see that generosity come, once again, full circle as a donor herself.
“I hope Mrs. Rall would be pleased to know how much her scholarship has furthered the nursing profession and helped nursing students fulfill their dreams.”
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations
Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.