NATCHITOCHES – A scholarship to benefit a freshman nursing student has been established at Northwestern State University to honor the memory of Dorothy Prestridge Turner, who was a mentor to many young nursing students during her long career.
Robert Leonard Turner Jr. of Shreveport established the nursing scholarship in memory of his late wife with preference given to a student from Buckeye High School, then open to any student from central Louisiana. The recipient of the one-year award must maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
Mrs. Turner, 72, passed away Feb. 21 at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center after a lengthy illness. She was a native of Libuse and resident of Shreveport since 1971. She was retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserves with the rank of major.
Turner was a member of the Critical Care Nurses Association and served on several professional boards. She was passionate about the field of nursing and maintained a positive attitude during her final illness, her husband said.
From 1961-64, Turner attended the Mather School of Nursing in New Orleans where she earned a baccalaureate degree before she joined the Air Force and was stationed in San Antonio.
Turner served on active duty with the Air Force for two years before becoming a reservist and working as a flight nurse out of Barksdale Air Force Base. During that time, she earned her bachelor’s (1969) and master’s (1975) degrees in nursing at Northwestern State’s Shreveport nursing campus. Later, during the 26 years she served as Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, she also completed nurse practitioner requirements through the V.A.
Robert Turner said offering the scholarship to a first year student was important to his late wife because the first year “can be a make or break year.” Turner’s sister, Inez Brown, agreed.
“During her first year of school, she had a hard time, being away from home,” Brown said. “She believed the first year was a critical year for a students and if they got a good start they would stay with it.” Brown described her sister as a dedicated nurse and a strong-willed person, which helped her overcome obstacles.
“Many of those who worked with her in ICU at the V.A. and those she helped train came to us during her illness and said how much she helped them, in her teaching, in her deportment and in the compassion she had for patients,” Brown said. “She had taken many of those young ones under her wing. We heard so many things about her. She helped a lot of people along the way. She was a very giving person.”
For more information on contributing to the Dorothy Prestridge Turner Scholarship, contact the Northwestern State University Foundation at (318) 357-4414. For information on NSU’s College of Nursing and Allied Health visit nursing.nsula.edu.