Penny Bari, Barnes Hospital School of Nursing Class of '61, is not exaggerating when she says that nursing school was her entire world when she was a student.
"My classmates and I had a weeknight curfew of 9 p.m. unless we were in our clinical training, which consisted of staffing our hospital through the night," Penny says of her experience at Barnes, which is now Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. "And really, nursing has been my life ever since!"
Penny worked for four years at Barnes Hospital before marrying and taking a break to raise her two sons. After returning to Barnes in 1977, she held many roles, including supervisor and clinical director of medical nursing, until her retirement in 1999.
‘I Will Always Be a Nurse'
Though retired, Penny is proof that nursing is a lifelong career. She provides blood pressure screenings at her church, volunteers for a program that screens underserved older adults for osteoporosis and depression and has served as a team nurse on mission trips. She is also a volunteer patient for nurse practitioner students at Goldfarb who are learning diagnostic skills.
"No matter where life takes me, I will always be a nurse," Penny says. "On a personal note, one of my most touching experiences was when I took care of my husband and my mother during their last days; hopefully, I was able to give them some comfort."
You Can't Replace Compassion With Technology
Penny knows that while technology is wonderful, it can never replace the compassionate care or the personal touch of a nurse. For this reason, for years Penny has supported students by giving to scholarships at Goldfarb.
"I hope the students who receive the scholarship I support find their nursing careers just as meaningful as I did," Penny says.
Penny supports students in need through the Elizabeth McIntosh Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the first director of Barnes Hospital School of Nursing, whom Penny "admired for the way she took a personal interest in each of us students."
Providing for the Future
Most recently, in honor of her Barnes Hospital School of Nursing 50th reunion, Penny created a legacy at Goldfarb School of Nursing and became a member of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital's Legacy Circle by naming The Foundation as a beneficiary in her IRA. This way, the funds from her IRA will allow her to establish a scholarship, and taxes will be eliminated because of the charitable beneficiary designation.
"Creating the Penny Bari Family Scholarship has allowed me a special way to celebrate my 50th reunion, and to honor my family and my field," Penny says.