Ruthie is a long term employee of both PVH and MCR, scholarship recipient, and founder of her own scholarship after experiencing the impact of generosity firsthand.  Below is Ruthie’s story, in her own words, from her keynote speech at the 2015 PVH and MCR Foundation Scholarship Reception.  To join us this year, mark your calendar for Thursday May 25th in MCR’s Longs Peak room.

My name is Ruthie Weyant and I am the proud donor of the “Ruthie Ann Weyant Can Do” scholarship. My mother always taught me “You can do anything you set your mind to, Ruthie. You just have to believe.” I have learned to live by this motto and when one adds the power of positive intention with a “can do” attitude, incredible accomplishments will occur.

My Perspective:
I am going to let this whole room in on a little secret. Next month, in June 2015, I will be celebrating my half century birthday…yes, that is the big 50. I will also celebrate being in the nursing profession for 29 years! These two facts combine so that I am qualified to say things like “Back in the day…” and “When I was in nursing school we had to walk uphill, in the snow, barefoot, both ways…” You get the picture. This kind of verbiage can create a “better than” attitude, but I am here to tell you that, actually, nurses like comparisons.

Being in nursing for so long has allowed me to experience the best ways to get nurses to buy in to some new idea or unit culture change: create a competition. I work in the Intensive Care Unit and we were doing competencies for critical care skills one time and the nurses were having problems placing a CPR machine known as the Autopulse on the patient in a timely manner. Anyone who has taken a CPR course or has ever been involved in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on another person has an understanding that timing is very important… the faster we start high quality compressions on that chest of the compromised person, the better the survival rate. Hence, when the critical care nurses were taking a whole 2 minutes to place the Autopulse in our critical care competencies, we knew this needed some work. We divided the whole group of ICU nurses into smaller groups of 34 nurses. We pulled out a stopwatch and said, “Whichever group can place the Autopulse correctly and effectively the fastest is the winner!” (that is the thing, too…you do not even need a tangible prize for us competitive nurses… just saying we are winners is enough to quench our comparative/competitive thirst). Guess how fast the winners were with their time?! 10 seconds!! These groups of nurses kept trying over and over to beat the last group’s time and the winners finally placed the Autopulse correctly and effectively at 10 seconds. This comparison and competition is an example of how nurses can effectively problem solve for a win-win situation; patient get placed on CPR apparatus within 10 seconds (win!) and the group of nurses who actually did this revels in the praise of winning (another win!).

Background for the Ruthie Ann Weyant ‘Can Do’ Scholarship:
In January 2005, I decided to pursue my dream of obtaining my Masters degree in Nursing. At the time, I was a single parent of 2 boys, ages 10 and 4. I took one class at a time, paying as I went through each course, and finished my 39 credit hours in December 2009. I took advantage of the then Poudre Valley Health System’s tuition reimbursement program which reimbursed me up to $3000.00 per year as long as I had grades of Cs or better. I also applied for a foundation scholarship every year and was the proud recipient of many of these over my 5 year educational journey. All in all, my total bill for my Masters degree was around $20,000. Tuition reimbursement and scholarship awards totaled $17,000, leaving me with a mere $3000.00 out of pocket expense. I was grateful for the assistance and appreciated those believing in me throughout the 5 years. I took my motto learned from my Mother of “I can do anything I put my mind to,” and combined it with a comparative and competitive edge of “If I can do it, you can do it!” and created my own ‘Can Do’ scholarship. Upon researching endowment possibilities for my scholarship, I discovered that the magic number for me was $17,000. (How ironic is this?! This is the same amount of assistance I received while in school!) Once I reach this amount of investment in my scholarship, I will never have to put any more money into it and the interest it would acquire each year would pay the $1000 scholarship I offer. I have $100 taken out of each paycheck and have been doing so since 2010 and my endowment balance becomes smaller and smaller each year. A total of 6 scholarships have been awarded since the initiation of this ‘Can Do’ scholarship so it becomes a win-win situation; someone receives money to help with educational goals (win!) and I get the satisfaction of giving back to the profession and saying “If I can do it, so can you!” (win!)

In conclusion, I want to share a story with you regarding a “can do” attitude. Once upon a time, there was a boy walking on the beach…

The Starfish Story
A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die,” the old man replies.

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it?  You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them! In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

– Anonymous