Patron of Nursing

Barbara Jonas, 84, collector of art and patron of nursing, died on October 23, in Manhattan.  I had never heard of her. But the heading of her obituary in the New York Times on November 9th grabbed my attention. She was a patron of nursing along with her husband, Donald Jonas.

In 2016, the couple sold off half of their art collection to form the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund, earmarking their first contributions to nursing, which Mr. Jonas described as “the most undervalued profession.”

This is a quote on the fund’s website:

“Nurses are the backbone of the American healthcare system. It is essential that we support nurses and the vital role they play in our hospitals, schools, clinics, nursing homes and on the battlefield.”      —Donald Jonas, Co-founder, Jonas Philanthropies

The couple also “sought to encourage connections among players in the health care system.” You could think here of hospitals and medical schools but the couple choose nursing schools to connect with hospitals.

While learning about the Jonases, I am re-energized that their foundation is supporting nurses but I know that there still are a large number of folks in the public sector that do not appreciate or understand what nurses do. Or even if nurses make a difference in the health care system.


There are two nursing efforts currently promoting/supporting nursing practice that you may find interesting.

1. Coalition for Better Understanding of Nursing.

The Coalition, recently launched, seeks to unite hospitals, nursing schools, and other nursing organizations in a robust effort to strengthen nursing and improve health care by educating decision-makers about the value of the profession.

(This is a working group of The Truth About Nursing, founded in 2001, to increase the understanding of the role nurses play in modern health care.)

2. Nurse Manifest

Established in 2000 is a call to conscience and action to:

  • Raise awareness,
  • Inspire action, and
  • Open discussion of issues that are vital to nursing and health care around the globe.


May these venues and others that promote the profession of nursing help to increase the value of nurses and the number of patrons of nursing.

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.

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