Darla "Dolly" Barton Nursing Scholarship
Darla “Dolly” N. Barton is the “been there, done that” sort, who would not feel right about her nursing career unless she could share the joy of helping others by assisting financially needy students with pursuing similar dreams. “When I was younger I could not afford to go to school and I did not want others who could not afford nursing school to miss out,” she said in explaining why she established the Darla “Dolly” Barton Nursing Scholarship. “Now I want to inspire and tell them how much I love nursing. It is really exciting to be able to make a dream come true for an aspiring nursing student. And, to tell the truth, when I die, I’ll be leaving something worthwhile behind — new skilled nurses to take my place.”
Barton was born Sept. 6, 1947, into a large family in Baltimore, Maryland. She knew early on that nursing was her calling. It was not until she married at 31 that her husband persuaded her to pursue an LPN at Riverside Hospital in Newport News, Virginia. Financially, it simply was not feasible before then, in spite of the discontent associated with a string of boring jobs. More than 10 years later, she became an RN at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia.
After her husband’s untimely death in 1988, she worked as an LPN and pursued her associate degree in nursing to receive her RN in May of 1990. She then worked at several hospitals in Virginia, including Sentara Hampton General, eventually ending up in Berkely Springs, West Virginia, where she stayed for five years. As a widow, she knew all too well the realities of the proverbial daunting search for a new life in a new place. So it was more than wanderlust that lead her to a new life in Alaska.
While vacationing in Anchorage in 1999 she realized a newfound love for the state and its people. When she returned to West Virginia, she promptly sold her log cabin and drove seven days straight to Anchorage where a new life full of nursing opportunities awaited. Soon after, she joined the nursing staff at Providence Hospital. Since arriving at Providence, she has immersed herself in her work as a highly valued member of the hospital’s elite “IV team.”
Today she looks forward to meeting the students benefiting from her philanthropy. “It is like having a son or daughter going into the profession I love. It is so exciting!”