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Donor Spotlight: Funding frontline nursing education means a healthier future for all

Posted: Oct. 2, 2012

David and Christy Dauphin

David and Christy Dauphin

The first time she stepped into the neonatal intensive care unit at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, Texas, Christy Dauphin wasn’t sure what to expect. Surrounded by the blinking lights of the monitors and the tense expressions of anxious parents, she realized pretty quickly, however, that the arc of this learning curve would be steep and provide little margin for error.

Despite the intense atmosphere, the young nurse believed she was up to the task, thanks to the preparation she had received at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.

“I had such great professors who were always accessible,” Christy said. “I felt from the beginning of my nursing career that I was ready for just about anything.”

Over the years, as Dauphin busily built a career in pediatric nursing and school health, she began to appreciate even more the strong foundation she had received at the School of Nursing. That’s when she began to think about doing something to help prepare other young nurses by giving back to the institution that had launched her career.

After talking it over with her husband, David, an accounting graduate of Baylor University, the couple decided to make a donation that would ensure that students who wanted to pursue graduate degrees in order to teach would have the necessary funding.

“We have been blessed and feel very strongly that we need — and want — to give back,” said David. “Whether that’s by funding nursing education or contributing to cancer research and prevention, we decided to target organizations and institutions that are doing the most important work.”

Their gift couldn’t have come at a better time. A growing need for nurses has many schools and colleges, including The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, scrambling to hire more faculty members. But finding qualified nursing educators has been a challenge. Now, with the Dauphin’s gift endowing a fund for graduate students, the School is poised to educate greater numbers of the finest teachers in the field.

“We receive applications every year from many more students than we have faculty to teach. To meet that need, we have to educate more teachers,” said Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing. “The generosity of our school’s friends and alumni, such as Christy and David, helps to make it possible for many of our top-notch students to pursue doctoral degrees and one day teach the next generation of nurses.”

The Dauphins couldn’t be happier about their part in producing tomorrow’s nursing educators.

“Nurses are on the frontline of the health-care system,” Christy said. “That’s why it’s so important that they have the best training and skills possible.”