A Nursing Story ...
UT Tyler Scholarship Honors Memory of Kathleen Edna Tuttle
It takes a special person to be a nurse.
First, you need a roster of technical skills that only comes from countless hours of education and training. But nursing also requires what many other professions do not – emotional skills.
Nursing is not just about physical healing; it is about connecting with someone in need. A patient may experience a variety of emotions during a hospital stay such as elation, gladness, triumph, disappointment, sorrow and sometimes even heartbreak. These are especially true as exhibited in the life of a child who rarely understands the difficulties associated with being hospitalized.
The specialized skills needed for this emotional connection cannot be taught . . . they come from the heart. Kathleen Tuttle was a nurse with both training and heart.
Kathleen gained her education as a nurse through a program sponsored by the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. Her registered nurse designation came with a commission as a first lieutenant in the RCN. However, the war was winding down upon her graduation and she secured a position on the staff of The Jeffery Hale Hospital in Quebec City, Ontario, a small general hospital founded by a retired sea captain.
It was soon after her posting at the hospital that she found her vocation and passion – working with children. Kathleen poured her heart into serving the hurting children who came to the hospital. During her tenure she advanced to become the chief pediatric nurse, a position she held until her marriage to P.D. Tuttle. Together, they had a son, William James Douglas Tuttle.
“She loved children,” her husband recalled. “The kids were probably her favorite patients.”
Due to Mr. Tuttle’s company requirements, they soon moved to Massena, N.Y., and subsequently Mr. Tuttle was transferred to Marshall, Texas.
Upon the Tuttles’ arrival in Marshall, Kathleen joined a small group of women in the community who formed a volunteer support group for the local hospital. The “Pink Ladies” soon became a prominent fixture at the Marshall Memorial hospital, which is now Marshall Regional Medical Center and part of the Good Shepherd System.
In the early days, the Pink Ladies operated with only a push cart filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, crackers, snacks, magazines donated by the community and other items they delivered to patients. The group also made sure there were coloring books for pediatric patients.
Later, they opened a gift shop and began giving family members updates on loved ones in surgery. They also helped in the emergency room and served as “chaplainettes” when needed.
Tuttle said Kathleen loved volunteering and faithfully worked for an additional 29 years as a Pink Lady before officially retiring from active service.A Fitting Legacy
Until her death 10 years ago, Kathleen never lost her heart for those who are sick and hurting.
That is why, as a tribute to his wife, Tuttle recently established the Kathleen Edna Tuttle Endowed Nursing Scholarship for The University of Texas at Tyler College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Funds distributed from the endowment will be used to provide scholarships for full-time nursing students.
This fund will aid talented and needy students who have a desire to become highly skilled nurses to meet the growing demand in medicine here in East Texas and around the world.
Tuttle explained, “I wanted to create a scholarship in her memory and what better way to honor her than to make it a nursing scholarship.’’
“We are so blessed and grateful that Mr. Tuttle chose UT Tyler as a place to honor his wife through an endowed scholarship,” said Dr. Rodney H. Mabry, UT Tyler president.
The scholarship will help educate and train more nursing students, said Dr. Pam Martin, interim dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
“We can offer students more access,’’ she said. “When we receive a generous gift such as this, we can recruit students who may think a nursing education is out of reach financially. As we are able to graduate more registered nurses, the population of East Texas will benefit from the excellent care provided.”
Tuttle’s generosity will impact many lives, Martin said. “He recognized the importance of education and that nurses are needed everywhere. We are so honored that he selected UT Tyler to help our students."
All those students who follow Kathleen’s footsteps will need skill . . . and heart.
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