Eloise DeLap believes that being a dedicated nurse is "the most important thing in the world." Now retired from a career devoted to Jewish Hospital, Eloise remains passionate about the direction she chose as a young girl in West Frankfort, Illinois.
Each year, she still sends a gift to the scholarship fund endowed in her name when she retired after 35 years in nursing education. "That was the biggest honor I've ever had," says Eloise. It was not the only honor ever bestowed upon her. She also received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and Jewish Hospital's Meritorious Service Award.
Former classmates and friends remember her single-minded commitment to nursing and teaching, in her own career path and those of students. "She was so supportive of everyone in our class," says Linda Kalkbrenner, class of 1958. "We saw her as the person we could go to for answers."
Another college friend, Barbara Helmer, class of 1959, fondly recalls the camaraderie between nursing, medical and dental students. "Those were wonderful times—the students were her life," recalls Helmer. "She lived and breathed teaching at that school."
Eloise is a self-described "avid" person regarding education, especially in nursing. "I don't think any person could possibly choose a better career." Her advice to students: "You need to be compassionate, listen and learn, and be kind to your patients. It's more than a job—you have the life of people resting in your hands."
Her hands touched the lives of more than 2,400 students through the years, as she supervised them on the Medical/Surgery floor at Jewish Hospital and imparted experience in the classroom at the Jewish College of Nursing. "Everybody liked Eloise as an instructor," says Brenda Ernst, former Executive Vice President of Nursing at Jewish Hospital. "She is so loyal—you rarely see that." Ernst also credits DeLap with re-energizing the nursing school's alumni association, where she served as president from 1969 to 1971, and from 1984 to 1988.
Eloise urges all alumni and professional colleagues to join her in opening the world of nursing to promising students who need financial assistance, as she needed throughout her own education. "It took me a lot longer to finish my BSN and my Masters because I worked all the way through and took a few classes at a time—so I understand the importance of supporting students and teachers in gaining higher knowledge."
You can establish a named, endowed nursing scholarship or enrich a general nursing scholarship fund through a planned estate gift to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Copyright © The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, All rights reserved.