Gaye J. Reiser, BSN, Nursing Scholarship Fund

Gaye shared her mother’s musical gifts and her father’s passion for patient care. She held a degree in music and for 2 years tried her hand at teaching before pursuing her RN.

In 1981, Gaye left her job in the ICU from the hospital from which she graduated to care for her father for the eight months prior to his death from cancer. It was during that time he convinced her to get her BSN because he believed the day was coming that this would be a requirement for entry-level nurses. Pursuing higher education was her gift to him, and at the time of her death, Gaye was studying for her master’s degree in forensic nursing.

In her studies Gaye wrote these words for a class on the Philosophy and Theory in Nursing Practice:  When we touch a person, we are touching more than their body. We’re touching their very soul. The effect of caring on a patient is so powerful that it can often be an essential part of the ultimate cure. To that end I would unite love in the broadest sense of the word, with caring.” In this paper she also credits several Genesis nurses she admired and respected. Gaye said the world may never acknowledge them but they were vital to her professional development and success.

This story might have ended in July with Gaye’s death. But it’s not the case. Gaye’s mother, Shirley, left a bequest to the Genesis Foundation to create the Gaye J. Reiser, BSN, Nursing Scholarship Fund. Earnings from this endowed fund are awarded as nursing scholarships. These scholarships perpetuate the exceptional nursing care demonstrated by Gaye.

The scholarship program is Gaye’s legacy and impacts the lives of the students who receive the awards, but even more so, the patients who receive care from these well-trained nurses. What gift Shirley gave the entire community.

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