Joan Gill’s Love of Nursing Lives On……
For every new mom….for a new nurse….for each of her co-workers….and for her family and friends, Joan Gill was always there. “She was a bright light radiating joy and compassion to everyone she met,” related Julie Ackerman, Mercy Mother / Baby nursing manager.
At the age of 33, Joan made the decision to enroll in the nursing program at Mercy College of Health Sciences. In a paper she wrote, Joan reflects on the highs and lows of a nursing career. She recalls finding her passion when she did a clinical rotation on Mercy’s Mother/ Baby Unit. “I was rejuvenated with energy. I had found my niche and felt completely comfortable incorporating my own experiences as a mother with what I had learned in nursing school.”
Joan became not only an extraordinary nurse; she became a trusted mentor to new nurses entering the profession. “Joan was a teacher at heart. It was not uncommon for her to take a new nurse under her wings and help her become both a competent and confident professional,” shared Ackerman.
Joan was also a favorite with new parents. A scrapbook chronicling Joan’s nursing career is home to scores of handwritten notes from grateful parents thanking Joan for being a part of one of the greatest moments of their lives---the birth of a child. “The true mark of her impact was constantly demonstrated when Mercy employees and their families would request Joan to be their postpartum nurse,” said Michelle Simmons, one of Joan’s nursing co-workers.
Joan passed away in January 2008 after a valiant battle with cancer. To honor her memory, Joan’s family and friends established the Joan S. Gill Scholarship Fund with an initial $25,000 gift. The scholarship fund will benefit nontraditional nursing students. Three students were recipients of $2,500 scholarships for the 2013 Spring Semester. “We are extremely grateful to Joan’s family and friends for choosing to honor Joan’s legacy through the establishment of this scholarship fund. Their generosity will have a significant impact enabling nontraditional students the ability to attend school,” said Barbara Decker, Mercy College of Health Sciences president.
Joan’s love of learning and her mentorship live on through this scholarship fund. And, in a true testament to her devotion for nursing, Joan’s 1994 nursing graduation photo hangs watchfully in the Mercy Mother & Baby Nursery welcoming each new miracle into the world.
Joan’s family and friends encourage anyone interested in contributing to the scholarship fund to contact the Mercy Foundation by calling (515)247-3248 or by visiting the Foundation website at www.foundation.mercydesmoines.org. Please go to the “Donate Now” page, click on the designation drop down menu and select the “Joan S. Gill Nursing Scholarship Fund.”