April 21, 2009 | The guest of honor summed it up best.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, geriatric nursing is a God-called profession,” said Jane Krutz, entertainer and longtime face of the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN). “It has to be in order to put up with us old folks and treat us with the professional care you’re known for. So speaking for all of us old people, we want you to know how much we appreciate it.”
Krutz was being honored at a luncheon April 16 held by the Arkansas Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (HCGNE), part of the College of Nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
The sixth annual luncheon, held at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock, raised funds to provide scholarships for eight-week geriatric nursing externships to senior nursing students to learn about all aspects of care for the elderly. Krutz, better known by many simply as “Ms. Jane,” was honored with the naming of one of the scholarships for her.
“Ms. Jane is known widely for her contributions to her community and her spirit of involvement with other people,” said Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., director of the Hartford Center. “We are proud to honor her and at the same time raise funds to help ensure better care for the elderly in Arkansas.”
With longtime radio and television personality Craig O’Neill serving as emcee of the event, the luncheon’s tone was kept light while several distinguished guests took turns toasting and roasting Krutz.
“I’ve met thousands of women in my lifetime and Ms. Jane just happens to be one of them,” recently retired Arkansas Travelers General Manager Bill Valentine joked. “But seriously, she’s so old she knew the Big Dipper back when it was something people actually drank from.”
But it wasn’t all fun and games, as former U.S. Sen. David Pryor recalled one moment that he said sealed Krutz’ legacy.
“Several decades ago when they were debating the future of public television, Ms. Jane gave a speech to the U.S. Congress on behalf of PBS that got a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle when she was finished,” Pryor said. “That is the first and only time that’s ever happened and tells you how infectious she can be.”
Beverly announced that a scholarship will be given in Krutz’ name that will help pay for one externship this summer. The five nursing students participating in this summer’s geriatric externship are Deborah Brown, Stephanie Burgess, Adrianne Caspari-Phillips, Audrey Fier and Krystal Lofton.
These competitive geriatric nursing externships are offered during the summer between students’ junior and senior years. Students train with nursing leaders, researchers and educators and work at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging Senior Health Center, the UAMS College of Nursing, selected nursing homes and outpatient facilities.
Beverly also called UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., to the podium and expressed the Hartford Center’s appreciation for his support in helping build the program.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. The HCGNE in the College of Nursing is one of eight centers of excellence in the U.S. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com.