Family of alumna gives back

Planned giving provides family a way to honor daughter's legacy
By Laura Lesley

Kerlin sketch collageFor a mother who survived the untimely deaths of both of her adult daughters, a fitting way to honor their lives has been establishing memorial scholarships at their respective alma maters. Through a thoughtful planned gift, Miriam Kerlin established the Jane Kerlin, BSN, RN, Endowed Scholarship in Nursing and named the Jane Kerlin, BSN, RN, Nursing Competencies Suite Reception Area in memory of her youngest daughter, who graduated from the UAB School of Nursing in 1987.

When our oldest daughter, Rhonda, passed away in 1983, my late husband and I established a memorial scholarship at her alma mater in her name through a planned gift. It was so meaningful and comforting to us then, so when Jane passed in 2016 I knew it was something that needed to be done at her alma mater, the UAB School of Nursing,” Kerlin said.

After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1987, Jane worked as a registered nurse at UAB Hospital and several other Birmingham-area hospitals.

“My mother always wanted Jane to be a nurse because of how kindhearted and compassionate she was,” Kerlin said. “It pleased me so much when Jane decided to go to the UAB School of Nursing.”

Kerlin said these planned gifts to the School are truly an extension of Jane’s generosity.

“When she was working as a nurse, she would always keep money in her nursing uniform. Whenever she found someone who needed help or a pick-me-up, she was ready to support them,” Kerlin said.

“Both of my girls had hearts of gold — they had a compassion for others that started when they were very young. Jane, especially, was so kindhearted and humble. Even though she was extremely smart, she was never attention-seeking and always wanted others to shine.”

When Kerlin contacted the UAB School of Nursing’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations to make plans for a memorial scholarship in Jane’s name, she learned about additional opportunities to name spaces in the School’s technologically advanced building expansion. She chose the reception area that leads into five state-of-the-art labs for nursing simulations. Through the labs and manikins, nursing students can practice vital skills in an environment that resembles a true hospital unit, including a nurses station.

Compentency Suites Lobby052 RTIn addition to a memorial scholarship in daughter Jane Kerlin's memory, Miriam Kerlin also named the reception area in the School's state-of-the-art Nursing Competency Suites“I never thought about naming an area in a building,” Kerlin said. “When I realized I could name the nursing competencies suite reception area for Jane, I felt like it would be such an appropriate tribute to her. She always enjoyed mentoring nursing students in her work, so it is really special for her memory to be honored in an area where nursing students are learning and perfecting the clinical skills they will use in their day-to-day patient care roles.”

A talented artist, Jane once drew detailed illustrations of surgical instruments to assist nurses and techs in identifying the instruments being requested by surgeons.

“Many of Jane’s colleagues have told me how helpful those drawings were in their training,” Kerlin said.

Fittingly, a hand-sketched portrait of Jane will be displayed in the competencies suite reception area upon its dedication to her.

“When Jane worked in the operating room, the surgeons nicknamed her ‘Sweet Jane.’ She always made conversation with her bus drivers and would share sweet treats with them,” Kerlin said. “She always treated everyone with the same respect and took time to be compassionate toward others and treat people nicely. Jane never said anything negative about anyone — she routinely looked for the best in people.”

“Nursing is an amazing profession and one you can be proud of and make your own,” Kerlin continued. “I am so comforted knowing that our family’s planned gift to the UAB School of Nursing will help future nurses begin their careers and become the best care providers they can be, all while honoring Jane’s memory and her pride in being a nurse.”

Read 2157 times Last modified on August 01, 2019

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