Nine scholarships have been awarded
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Parrish Medical Center Registered Nurse Karla Foster lived a life of caring that has touched people – and will touch generations to come – through her son’s work and the recipients of the nursing school scholarship established in her name.
At PMC this week, 14 years after Karla’s passing, her legacies intersect in the form of her son, Russell, and Emily Hurley, a nurse who benefited from the Karla Foster, RN, Memorial Scholarship, administered by the Jess Parrish Medical Foundation.
Russell Foster, 42, Karla’s son, is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) with Nemours Children’s Health System. Through a PMC-Nemours association, Russell is often serving at PMC’s Women’s Services Department.
Registered Nurse Emily Hurley works in PMC’s Oncology department. Hurley’s nursing school education was helped by the $3,000 scholarship. Nine scholarships have so far been awarded.
Foster and Hurley work in different hospital departments, and haven’t yet met; nevertheless, there is a professional kinship.
“It is quite stunning,” said Russell. “Emily and I are both doing what we love, which is helping others through nursing, the profession my mother loved and prized. Both aspects of her life – her family and her work.”
Hurley, who earned her nursing degree from Eastern Florida State College, is delighted to know the Foster family still has ties to patient care at PMC.
“I think nursing is a calling,” Hurley said. “There’s a passion for helping other people that’s central to why a nurse chooses this career. The more I’ve learned about Karla Foster, the person and the nurse, the more honored I am to have been awarded the scholarship created in her honor.”
The Karla Foster, RN, Memorial Scholarship was established in 2008 by Karla’s husband, Doug. The two were married in 1970, two years after Karla graduated from Sewickley Valley Hospital School of Nursing, Sewickley, Penn. She took advanced studies at Slippery Rock State University and specialized in orthopedic and medical-surgical nursing, for which she received advanced certification.
Arriving at PMC in 1988 she served until 2006 as a PMC nurse, primarily in the orthopedic and medical/surgical department. Karla made a swift – and lasting – impression, says Melinda Hodges, PMC manager of Women’s Services.
“Karla was an outstanding member of the Parrish family,” Hodges said. “She served as an example of what’s at the heart of nursing – compassion, skill, community awareness and attention to detail. Even after her passing, her legacy continues to impact lives which exemplifies the passion she held for her field.
“She was an incredible nurse and mother. I think she would be extremely proud of the legacy she created, and now what her son and the scholarship in her name are creating,” Hodges added.
After beginning his career as a certified nursing assistant at PMC, Russell became a registered respiratory therapist.
He went on to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing degree (University of Central Florida, 2006) and earned dual post-graduate degrees with specialization in neonatology and pediatrics (University of South Alabama, 2009).
“My mother inspired me to seek a career in health care, because what she did seemed so noble, so important, in the lives of other people,” he said.
“She was always thinking of others. It makes me beyond proud to walk the halls, as a member of the medical staff, where she once had such an impact.”
The scholarship – and the nurses benefiting from it – keep his mother’s presence alive at PMC and in other communities, Russell said.
“There’s no way to even estimate the number of lives my mother continues to touch, help, and heal,” Russell said. “Hearing Emily’s story helped bring to life for me what my mother continues to mean to so many people.”
To learn more about the Karla Foster, RN, Memorial Scholarship, or to make a contribution, visit www.parrishhealthcare.com/foundation
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