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$10 million for scholarships and clinical education at nursing school from Larry Dalton and Nicole Boand
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$10 million for scholarships and clinical education at nursing school from Larry Dalton and Nicole Boand

The University of Washington School of Nursing announced a $10 million bequest from UW chemistry professor emeritus Larry R. Dalton and his wife, Nicole A. Boand.

The gift, the largest in the history of the School of Nursing, will increase access to nursing education, with $8 million dedicated to cost-of-attendance scholarships. The remaining $2 million will be used to enrich and expand clinical education, including the recruitment of clinical nurse educators who can provide practical, on-the-job training for students.

Both programs will be named in honor of Boand, a registered nurse who completed her training with the Los Angeles County School of Nursing at Los Angeles County General Hospital, where she worked in the adolescent crisis psychiatric ward.

Bequests allow donors to direct their assets to causes they believe in after their death. To Boand, the anticipation of providing a way to bring more students into the nursing profession is meaningful.

“This gift is what makes the end of my life worthwhile,” she said.

Nurses are in high demand nationwide, but especially in Washington, which is projected to have the greatest need for nurses of all 50 U.S. states by 2035, according to a 2022 report from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. Meeting that demand requires long-term planning and future-looking philanthropy, such as the Boand-Dalton bequest.

Allison Webel, interim executive dean of the School of Nursing, said the bequest will help further diversify the student population, while practical training puts UW’s graduates at an advantage when they enter the workforce.

“I cannot emphasize enough the impact this bequest will have. It will truly open doors for diverse, innovative students who may not have previously seen a nursing career as a possibility, and uniquely prepare them to meet the needs of Washington’s patient population. With this support, our students will enter the nursing workforce with a distinct advantage at a time when our communities need them most,” Webel said.

The shortage of nurses in Washington is compounded by the national health care crisis, which was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, Boand said. Many hospitals and other care providers are now forced to rely on so-called “traveling” or agency nurses who are paid at higher rates in exchange for temporary assignments, often bouncing from city to city, Boand said.

“The intention of our gift is to support the extended development of training in a clinical setting matching the student’s choice of specialization, including providing appropriate training supervision,” Boand said. “This would provide the nursing student with deepened clinical experience in their area of preference, so they enter their nursing career fully prepared to provide the best care for their patients.”

That training can help send nurses to fill vacancies in rural and underserved communities, where there is high demand. And Boand said she’s hopeful the gift’s impacts will replicate for UW students what she experienced training and working in Los Angeles.

“I really would love to see the camaraderie return to nursing,” Boand said. “And the sense that as nurses, we’re valuable to the patients as their advocates and caretakers.”

Nurses, who for decades rank among the most trusted professionals, serve a vital role in health care delivery, speaking up for patients while providing skilled care. Nurses serve as a bridge between physicians and patients, Boand said. But nursing education programs lack much of the federal funding that is available for medical students.

While no one can predict future costs, the Boand-Dalton gift is expected to increase scholarships above current levels for nearly 100% of eligible students. Additionally, the gifts will help pay for faculty to focus on clinical supervision, providing students with relevant practical experience.

Dalton, who joined the UW faculty in 1998 as the George B. Kauffman Professor in Chemistry, said institutions like the UW play a key role in training generations of workers, especially in critical fields that support human health and well-being such as nursing.

And the COVID pandemic laid bare the need for nurses, Dalton said.

“There is no greater societal need at this time than the need for increased financial support for the training of nurses,” he said.

The School of Nursing, which ranks among the top nursing programs in the world, brings together science, technology, skills and a commitment to care for all. The Boand bequests serve the school’s mission to enable graduates to improve the health of all people by using innovative and evidence-based solutions.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce thanked Boand and Dalton for the tremendous impact the couple has had across the University.

“Larry and Nicole’s philanthropy is a beacon to others. With their previous gifts, they’ve created enormous impact through named professorships, which help the UW retain talented faculty, and support for our chemistry department, making it one of the nation’s top programs,” Cauce said. “Their investment in nursing scholarships and clinical education comes at a critical time in the post-pandemic era, and we are grateful for their visionary generosity.”

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