Though Lynne Brophy’s father came from a humble background, he was able to attend college thanks to scholarships. When Brophy and her sister were young, they saw how he gave back to the institutions that had provided him educational opportunities.
“He raised us to give back to the places that educated you,” Brophy says. “We had it instilled in us.”
Brophy attended Duke University’s School of Nursing for her baccalaureate degree and earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a focus on oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As an MSN student, Brophy was awarded a scholarship that covered some of her expenses. “It allowed me to fill in the cracks. I was able to work part time, hang out at school, attend office hours and interact more with my professors,” she says. The financial support let her immerse herself in her graduate schoolwork, and she never forgot that.
She worked in the field, taught nursing students, and eventually was recruited to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in 2015. Today, she is a breast oncology clinical nurse specialist at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center and The James. She also holds an adjunct faculty member position at Ohio State’s College of Nursing.
While she had been following her father’s philanthropic lead all her life, his death a few years ago strengthened Brophy’s resolve to make a difference in the nursing profession. She committed to helping nursing students with a gift her father would have appreciated. At both the University of North Carolina and Ohio State, she noticed students, especially patient care assistants (PCA), working significant hours, making it difficult to balance work and school. She also noted the shortage of PCAs.
“Again and again, I saw students whose grades suffered,” Brophy says. “And I saw that hold true many times in students I worked with, who needed to be nurses, who are needed to create a diverse workforce — but they did not have the economic resources to work part time.”
This inspired Brophy to establish the Lynne Russell Brophy Nursing Education Fund to support Ohio State’s nursing students with expenses so they can focus on their coursework and future careers.
“I’m hoping by giving scholarship funds like this, people get more out of school, and have less anxiety and more opportunity to absorb what they are learning,” she says.
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the value of this kind of scholarship.
“The pandemic illustrated to me the need for improving health literacy and access to care in marginalized communities,” Brophy says. “My fund’s not going to solve those problems, but it’s a little tiny puzzle piece of something I hope will be good.”
Brophy believes in the power of incremental change and the difference people can make collectively. “We all should be giving back at a level we can afford. I want all students to have a great education and be nurtured.”
How you can help
Donate by MailThe James/Wexner Medical Center Development Office
c/o The OSU Foundation
PO Box 710811
Columbus, OH 43271-0811