Patty Tripp Navy photo

When Patty Tripp was going into her final year of nursing school in 1970, a military recruiter made her an offer: The U.S. Navy would give her a scholarship if she would become an officer after graduating.

Tripp, who grew up in both Los Angeles and Southwest Ohio as one of eight children, accepted.  

“I thought this was a perfect fit,” Tripp recalls. “It ended up that two of my brothers got drafted for the Vietnam War, but I was the only one of us who was sent there.”

As a military nurse stationed in Guam who also made trips to Vietnam to assist with critical patient evacuations, Tripp learned about the importance of collaborative practice, critical thinking and process improvement. Those lessons never left her, even after she retired from a 32-year nursing career in the Navy and went on to work in supply chain and hospital redesign for companies like Ernst & Young and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Those lessons are also what motivated her to give back to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center where she is currently a patient. Tripp recently made a generous philanthropic gift to create the Outpatient Nursing Innovation Fund in Ohio State’s Department of Neurology.

“Nurses don’t have the same continued education or training as medical students do,” she says. “Having had these experiences as a military nurse and as a patient, I started thinking, ‘How can I pass on what I know? How can I help?’”

The fund will support process improvements and continued education opportunities under the direction of Lucretia Long, APRN-CNP, an assistant clinical professor of neurology and an epilepsy nurse practitioner who has been at Ohio State for 30 years. As the lead advanced practice provider (APP) in outpatient neurology, Long also manages a team of 11 APPs.

Tripp calls her a “kindred spirit,” and for Long, that feeling is mutual.

“You can’t provide accurate care for patients without the ability to critically think or the ability to learn evidence-based practices and disseminate them into our everyday roles,” Long says. “Patty shares that same way of thinking, that same energy. I appreciate her generosity, but I also love her passion for nursing and process improvement.”

Long says Tripp’s gift is already making an impact, helping to purchase computers and iPads that will automate the patient survey process in the department’s Quality of Life Clinics. The fund also will support the department’s first-ever APP Neurology Symposium on May 20 – an event that Benjamin Segal, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, hopes will become annual in nature.

“To my knowledge, this neurology-focused symposium that is organized by, and customized for, advanced practice providers and trainees is one of the first of its kind,” Dr. Segal says. “We are thankful for Patty’s groundbreaking vision and commitment to neurology nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who improve our patients’ lives every day.”

Tripp says she has been a very lucky person and was raised to invest a third, save a third and give a third of her money away. When she reflects on creating this fund and Long’s stewardship of it, a feeling arises that’s reminiscent of receiving that life-changing scholarship back in 1970.   

“When I met Lucretia,” Tripp says, “I knew that making this gift was a perfect fit.”  

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The Wexner Medical Center Development Office
14 E 15th Ave
Columbus, OH 43201

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