(L-R): Lois Kercher, PhD, RN, former Chief Nursing Officer; Kathie Zimbro, PhD, R.N, Director Sentara Informatics Clinical & Business Intelligence; Genemarie McGee, RN, BSN, MS, Chief Nursing Officer, Sentara Healthcare; and Evelyn Olenick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Vice President Patient Care Services, Nurse Executive Sentara CarePlex Hospital.

When you are in the hospital, no group is more involved in your ongoing care than the nursing staff. It is through the nurse’s evaluation that your progress is monitored, your reaction to medications is documented and your overall well-being is constantly tracked. For those who have chosen nursing as a profession, it is often more of a calling, than a job.

Lois Kercher, a nurse for over 40 years, is one such dedicated professional. After a rewarding and successful career, Lois is retiring and her life’s work will now continue to impact nursing care at Sentara for years to come.

Lois Kercher

In honor of her retirement, Lois decided she didn’t want a big party or a fancy present. What she really wanted was to continue supporting the advancement of nursing care. In June 2012, Lois started the “Lois Kercher Grant Fund for Nursing Research,” to fund nursing research studies at Sentara. The awards will be made through an application process and will be selected by a committee of nursing leadership. Lois helped establish the fund by personally donating $2,500, and her coworkers at Sentara, more than matched that amount as a tribute to her lifelong commitment.

Sentara nurses conduct nursing research to examine existing patient practices, develop best practices, and to test their clinical outcomes. Studies such as how to help patients with new joint replacements lose weight and how to prevent falls among mothers following childbirth, are examples of the many concerns that nurses address every day.

“My life’s work has been centered on the invaluable role of nursing in healthcare and this fund will help to ensure that this journey continues,” said Lois. “With this fund, I hope to leave a legacy of support for the continued quest of enhanced patient care.”

Sentara nurses are encouraged to share their findings regionally and nationally in recognized healthcare journals. The findings from these studies will have significant impact on the patients here in Hampton Roads.

If you want to support the advancement of nursing care at Sentara, like Lois has generously done, make a secure gift online at www.sentara.com/foundation or contact the Sentara Health Foundation at (757) 455-7976.

Written by Chelsie Williams, Foundation Specialist, Sentara Health Foundation.