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Donor Stories

Ethel BattleEthel Battle arrived in Nashville in the late 1950s with a bachelor’s degree in nursing to support her dream of establishing a career. As it turned out, she had trouble finding work in Nashville, so she took a job as a night-duty nurse at the VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro.

After four years of working the night shift, Battle was discouraged. “I thought my career would never progress,” she says. However, in a turn of good fortune, Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing stepped in and offered her a scholarship to obtain her master’s degree in Nursing.

“That was a turning point in my life. I felt like I belonged, that I was accepted at Vanderbilt,” says Battle, who received her master’s degree from Vanderbilt in 1970. From that point on, her career took off. Battle says her advanced degree “opened the door to all kinds of options and opportunities.”

In appreciation, Battle recently established a charitable gift annuity with Vanderbilt. She made sure that her gift annuity will benefit the School of Nursing.

“After graduation I returned to the VA Medical Center to pursue research,” Battle says. “My contacts at Vanderbilt were still so helpful to me. They acted as consultants, and not only helped me start new programs at the VA, but they also helped me organize a national research conference.

“So, with the master’s degree in hand,” she says, “I moved from being a night-duty nurse to being a clinical specialist in psychiatry and initiating a clinical nursing research program.

“I owe Vanderbilt so much and I want to help other nursing students have the opportunities that I had — to help them get ahead in their careers like I did.”

Battle, now retired, says that there is a “double advantage” to establishing a gift annuity. She receives substantial tax breaks and lifetime payments, while Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing will eventually benefit from a sizeable contribution.

“The annuity was easy to set up — very easy,” Battle says. “With it, I am pleased to give financial assistance to someone who needs an education.”