The American Journal of Nursing honors Ralph Nelles

December 03, 2007

New York, NY (December 3, 2007) - The American Journal of Nursing (AJN), the largest circulating nursing journal in the world, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, is pleased to announce that this year's AJN-Beatrice Renfield Caring for the Caregiver Award is being granted to businessman, civic leader and philanthropist, Ralph Nelles for his incredible history of compassion and generosity to nursing at St Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Montana. The Award, recognizing individuals or organizations that have provided generous financial support for nurses and excellence in nursing practice, was presented today at the St. Vincent Healthcare Mansfield Health Education Center in Billings, MT.

Mr. Nelles' commitment to nursing dates back to the late 1980s, when he started the Nelles Traveling Nurse Fund in memory of his late wife, Flora Nelles. The fund provides resources to underwrite travel expenses for St. Vincent Healthcare nurses to attend educational conferences. With this fund, nurses have the opportunity to access national conferences, where they gain expertise in their chosen fields. In July of 2002, Mr. Nelles endowed this fund, ensuring this educational experience will be available in perpetuity.

That same year, in response to the critical shortage of nurses nationwide, as well as in Montana, Ralph Nelles and his family established the Nelles Nurse Scholarship Program. Funded by a five-year pledge from the Nelles family, the program provided financial support and recognition to nurses, honoring a commitment to the highest standard of quality care. On June 12, 2006, Mr. Nelles and his family endowed the Nelles Nurse Scholarship Program with an investment of $1.5 million dollars, guaranteeing nurse education financial assistance forever, as well as ensuring the employment of quality nurses committed to St Vincent Healthcare and its patients.

The Nelles Nurse Scholarship Program, which has been recognized by the American Hospital Association as a best practice model for recruiting and educating nursing staff, has provided financial awards to 62 nursing students in college and advanced degree nursing studies. The Program will annually support more than 30 nurses in college and advanced degree nursing studies. Each recipient may receive up to five semesters of funding. For each semester of funding received, each student will commit one year (up to four years) of employment at St. Vincent Healthcare. The Program has dropped nursing vacancies at the Center to less than five percent.

"The recruitment of qualified and talented new nurses is challenging, said Nancy Kallem, director of careQuest at St. Vincent Healthcare. "The Nelles Nurse Scholarship program has been a true blessing to St. Vincent Healthcare. Due to the generosity of Ralph Nelles and his family, we have the best of the best of the nursing graduates coming to us to practice the profession of nursing. Bringing top talent to St. Vincent allows us to continue to build a strong professional nursing organization that delivers excellent patient care."

The AJN-Beatrice Renfield Award

The AJN-Beatrice Renfield Award is named in honor of the late Beatrice Renfield who donated millions of dollars to various nursing programs and was a patron and trustee of the Beth Israel Medical Center and Visiting Nurse Service in New York City. Philanthropist Beatrice Renfield was committed to "caring for the caregivers" after witnessing the impact nursing care had on her husband, who had struggled for years with the debilitating effects of a stroke. As she became more familiar with the scientific underpinnings of nursing and the potential for research to inspire nurses, she supported several small studies by nurses at Beth Israel Medical Center, and later provided significant funding for clinical research initiatives at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Yale University School of Nursing.

The annual award, created in 2003, honors a recipient selected from nominations submitted to the AJN by institutions across the country. The selection committee is composed of AJN editorial staff members, registered nurses in New York City, and representatives from the Beatrice Renfield Foundation.

"Beatrice Renfield would have applauded Ralph Nelles' unwavering efforts and support as a philanthropic leader in caring for the caregiver," said Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, editor-in-chief of the AJN. "Philanthropic efforts supporting nurses are relatively rare, yet those individuals and organizations who do make an effort can dramatically improve the quality of care that patients receive."
About AJN

Founded in 1900, the American Journal of Nursing (AJN) is the largest and most established circulating nursing journal in the world. It is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (, a leading international publisher for healthcare professionals and students with nearly 300 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines publishing under the LWW brand, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading multinational publisher and information services company.

About Wolters Kluwer Health

Wolters Kluwer Health (Conshohocken, PA), a division of Wolters Kluwer, is a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. Major brands include traditional publishers of medical and drug reference tools and textbooks, such as Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Facts & Comparisons; electronic information providers, such as Ovid Technologies, Medi-Span and ProVation; and pharmaceutical information providers Adis International and Source®.

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American Journal of Nursing

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