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New Gift to Penn Nursing Continues Sands Nursing Scholars Program

Delaney R. Lawson, BSN, RN, Nu’18 chose to attend Penn Nursing for numerous reasons—Ivy League education, commitment to excellence, faculty expertise, career opportunities—but it was the Estelle M. Sands and George H. Sands Nursing Scholars program that made attending possible. “The funding from the Sands Nursing Scholar Program made a tremendous difference for me—it truly eased the financial burden of affording tuition,” she said. “And later, after graduation, the program granted me the opportunity to work at a prestigious medical center.”

Thanks to a new gift recently made by the Estelle M. Sands and George H. Sands Foundation, the Sands Nursing Scholars program—begun in 2002—will continue to attract great future nurses like Delaney to Penn Nursing. Delaney has worked at the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center in Princeton, NJ as an RN in the Emergency Department for almost two years. Sands Scholars receive funding in their junior and senior years and commit to working as nurses at the Center for a one- to two-year period post-graduation. Additionally, Scholars conduct their senior year clinical rotations at the medical center to ease their transition. Moving forward, funding will also be available to Penn Nursing Master’s students.

“The Sands Foundation has long recognized the critical need for well-educated nurses for the care, well-being, and recovery of patients, now brought into very sharp focus with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeffrey H. Sands, Trustee of the Sands Foundation, which has been a generous benefactor in the Princeton area for decades. “We are thrilled to continue this program, as it functions so well, and it is a triple win—scholars receive financial assistance, the Princeton Medical Center benefits from the employment of these exceptional nurses, and the community at large benefits from the extraordinary talent the University of Pennsylvania-educated nurses bring to the Medical Center. Additionally, we are delighted that many Sands Scholars over the years have chosen to remain at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. We look forward to many more years of Sands Scholars participating in the program.”

Sheila G. Kempf, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer of Penn Medicine Princeton Health, noted that Penn Nursing graduates are an incredible asset to the hospital system. “They are well prepared, well educated, and—because of the Sands Scholars Program—assimilate seamlessly. They have an excellent scholarly baseline from which to continue their education, often in critical care, the emergency department, and other specialty areas. We are grateful for this pipeline of skilled nurses.”

Penn Nursing’s Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, added, “Now more than ever, when so many of our students and their families are out of work due to the global pandemic, programs like the Sands Nursing Scholars program make it possible to attract the best and brightest, regardless of economic background and life circumstances, to our School. We are grateful to the Estelle M. Sands and George H. Sands Foundation for partnering with us to make that possible and for contributing to the health care needs of the Princeton area.”