Renae Patton first realized she wanted to be a nurse while studying for a major financial certification exam. At the time, she was a portfolio manager for a financial institution.
“I realized that I was not as passionate about financial planning as I was about helping my clients,” Renae says. “I wanted to help people, and I didn’t want to do it from a cubicle hundreds of miles away.”
Renae spent the next year and a half taking prerequisite courses for nursing school while continuing to work full time. When the time came for Renae to start her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, she chose Alvin Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College because of its accelerated program.
“Goldfarb’s accelerated program is one of the few in the area that allows you to complete your BSN in one year and also prepares you for the NCLEX national nursing licensure exam,” Renae says. “Plus, Goldfarb has a 92 percent pass rate on the NCLEX, so I was confident that this was the right program for me.”
Choosing Goldfarb wasn’t the only big decision Renae had to make.
“It’s required that accelerated students do not work during the program. Now I completely understand why, since I spend about 35 hours each week in class and another 35 studying,” she says. “So even though it was hard to walk away from my job, I knew that I was doing the right thing.”
Embarking on a year without income and also undertaking the financial burden of tuition was made easier because of the generosity of the Bibbero and Putzel families, which support The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Helen R. and Henry V. Putzel Nursing Scholarship Fund.
“I am both humbled and honored to receive this scholarship,” Renae says. “It helps me afford this huge transition in my life, and it’s an investment into the lives of many future patients.”
Scholarship Recipient and Donor Meet
“It was terrific to meet Renae and to see how involved and committed she is,” fund donor Paul Putzel says. “Now I really understand how demanding her school schedule is, and I am more appreciative than ever that I’m able to support her through my gifts to scholarship.”
Paul’s parents created the Helen R. and Henry V. Putzel Nursing Scholarship Fund in memory of his grandparents, who were lifelong philanthropic supporters of Jewish Hospital, which later merged with Barnes Hospital. The extended Putzel family, which includes the Bibberos, continues to honor their grandparents’memory by giving to this fund.
“For anyone considering supporting nursing students, I’d say don’t hesitate because some day you might need them! And it’s important to help where you can. If this is an area you are interested in supporting, you get a bonus because you get to help people who go on to help other people,” Paul says.
A Typical Day for Renae
Because her days as a student in the accelerated program are so busy, Renae maps out every hour of her day to make sure she gets everything done. To give you a sense of what a typical day can look like for an accelerated student, here’s a snapshot of Renae’s schedule:
6 AM Wake up and get ready
7 AM Prepare for class and study
8 AM - NOON Class, simulation labs or clinical hours
NOON Lunch and study
1 - 4:30 PM Class ... “Mapping out my day hour-by-hour is also the best way to fit much-needed free time into a busy schedule to stay balanced.”
4:30 - 6 PM Work out and dinner ... “Oftentimes, I am balancing studying for several exams in different courses at one time. So I decide where I need to spend the most time by subject and then I dedicate time by the hour to each course appropriately. This is the most difficult part.”
6-10 or 11 PM Study
Support the Helen R. and Henry V. Putzel Nursing Scholarship Fund (#0383-97) at The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, online now. If you have questions, please call David Sandler at (314) 362-3499 or email GivingBarnesJewish@bjc.org.