Longtime St. Peter's nurse shares why she chose to establish a scholarship fund for future nurses. To donate, see the online donation form at the bottom of this page. 

By Dianne Armstrong
Dianne Armstrong
Dianne Armstrong, RN started volunteering at St. Peter's in 1972.

I moved to Helena from Birmingham, Alabama after graduation in 1972. I missed my friends, and at 17, I was bored to death! I had volunteered at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital my senior year. Maybe St. Peter’s would have a place for me. It couldn't hurt to ask. I left the hospital that day with a candy striper uniform and high hopes for a new beginning. I reported to Medical Floor charge nurse Lynne Maierle the next morning.

The unit was full so Lynne asked me to help the nurse aides the best I could. They welcomed me with open arms (although I endured plenty of good natured teasing about my southern accent.) Their dedication to patient care was so inspiring I decided on the spot I wanted to be a nurse. At the end of the day Lynne said to me “You did a good job. Come back again. And stop saying ‘Yes, Ma’am’ to me.” I obediently responded “Yes, Ma’am.”

That was 48 years ago and I did keep coming back. A few months after I started, Lynne marched me down to HR and said, “Find this kid a job. She’s here all the time. You should hire her.” So they did!

Dianne Armstrong 2
Dianne Armstrong

I was hired as a nurse aide for $2.08 per hour in OB. It felt like a $100 to me! Times were hard. My housing ended sooner than expected. My financial aid for college fell through, too. I had no idea St. Peter's staff were already working behind the scenes for me. They took me into their homes and passed me around couch to couch for a year. They fed me and gave me rides to work until I saved enough to buy a car and get my own place. I worked my way through Carroll College as a certified nursing assistant until graduating in 1977 with a degree in nursing.

Six months later I landed my dream job as an obstetrics nurse where I stayed another 30 years before transferring to my second dream job in Same Day Services/Endoscopy where I’m currently employed.

I’m in the latter years of my career now. I can never repay all the wonderful people who helped me achieve my goals, but I can pay it forward. With that in mind, I worked with St. Peter’s Health Foundation to establish the “Dianne Armstrong Endowed Scholarship for Future Nurses” to help with tuition and other related costs for St. Peter's employees pursuing a career in nursing. I am excited to report that in 2021, we have six qualifying employees for nursing scholarships.

Please join me in supporting our next generation of nurses, with a donation to the Dianne Armstrong Endowed Scholarship for Future Nurses.

Donate today