McDonough Fund Tees up to Give Back to Nurses

Fund Changes Careers, Lives at Winchester Hospital

Patty Barry-Meaney, BSN, RN is a “nurse’s nurse,” say her colleagues at Winchester Hospital. As assistant nurse manager, she is committed to the OR team’s continual education to keep patient care at the highest levels.

Patty knows a lot about continual education, having pushed herself to earn two nursing degrees, with a master’s degree in process—thanks to the McDonough Fund for Nursing Education, created in honor of James F. McDonough, MD, (1913-2002). Dr. McDonough was a much-loved community obstetrician and gynecologist, who delivered a remarkable 17,000 babies at Winchester Hospital.

In 2002, the Winchester Hospital Foundation officially established the McDonough Fund for Nursing Education. Years earlier, Dr. McDonough himself had initiated support for this purpose. When his beloved wife, Marie, passed away, he suggested gifts in her memory be directed to creating nurse scholarships. This honored both Marie’s role in the community as a tutor and the couple’s shared esteem for nurses. Since then, the fund has raised an astounding $3.4 million — all directed to helping qualified nurses advance their education and provide the best patient care.

Ripples of Impact

“My father-in-law revered nurses,” explained Deb McDonough (shown in photo above). “Two of his sisters, a daughter and a niece all chose that time-honored profession. He also appreciated the talented and dedicated nurses he worked with at Winchester Hospital. His quiet philanthropic leadership for nursing education made huge ripples of impact in our community.” Now in her seventh year as Chair of the Winchester Hospital Foundation, a volunteer position, Deb is carrying on his legacy of giving.

The primary source of contributions to the McDonough Fund is the annual James F. McDonough, MD, Golf Classic, which this year was held on Sept. 11. Well over 100 golfers teed up on the inviting-but-unforgiving fairways of the Winchester Country Club and did their part to chip in for nurse scholarships. Generous sponsors, including lead sponsors DiGiorgio Associates, Inc. and Monitor Builders, Inc., also made a critical difference in supporting nurse education. Over time, these combined efforts have made it possible for:

  • 35 Winchester Hospital employees to transition to Registered Nurse (RN) roles
  • 270 RNs to achieve certification in their specialty clinical areas
  • 81 Winchester Hospital employees to graduate or soon graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing

A+ Nurse-Scholars

The McDonough Fund has made a world of difference in hundreds of nurses’ careers and subsequently, their lives. “The McDonough Fund gave me the opportunity as a single mother to become a nurse and provide a wonderful life for my children,” explained Patty. “After attaining my ASN, I have subsequently obtained a BSN and now am in the process of finishing my MSN.” That’s an A+ passion for learning!

Patty’s peers describe her as a fierce advocate for her patients. Nurse qualities like these are a perfect match for the vision of the McDonough Fund.

A Culture of Nursing Excellence

Having received the industry’s gold standard for nursing excellence, Magnet® recognition, Winchester Hospital is a renowned leader. The McDonough Fund is part of the hospital’s culture, promoting nursing achievement and its impact on bedside care. Patty is one more example of this. As a nurse leader, she has created a workplace culture where compassion is valued and staff members, in turn, treat patients and their families with deep humanity. This year, Patty was recognized with the prestigious DAISY Nurse Leader Award. Wow!

Patty, along with so many of her colleagues, is able to add accolades to her degrees, thanks to the essential opportunities provided by the McDonough Fund. Golfers, sponsors and others have made it possible for scores of nurses to advance their education and provide the highest level of patient care. These nurses continue to give back to Winchester Hospital’s patients. “I was thrilled to be able to thank donors in person at this fall’s Golf Classic,” said Patty. “Each person’s donation—big or small—impacts a nurse’s life and gives that nurse the opportunity to pay it forward. Just think of all I have learned and shared as a nurse because of their support!”