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Josephine A. Dolan, MS, RN, PdD (Hon.), DNSc (Hon.)

Connecticut Nurses Association

2012 Inductee

Best known as a nurse historian and educator, Josephine A. Dolan’s name is familiar to generations of nurses who learned of their professional heritage through her lifelong teaching, research, and publications. For 25 years, her textbook on the history of nursing, “Nursing in Society: a Historical Perspective,” was the most widely used text of its kind, influencing students nationally and internationally. Respected and admired by colleagues and students, Dolan, who died in 2004, gave nursing a lasting legacy from which to learn.

Dolan embarked on her career by earning a diploma in nursing from the St. John’s Hospital School in Lowell, MA in 1932. She later completed her master’s degree in nursing from Boston University. Dolan was the first faculty member hired by the University of Connecticut’s new School of Nursing in 1944, where she taught for 35 years. She encouraged nursing students to pursue higher education and advocated for the professionalism of nursing during the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. She helped transform nursing from hospital-based training to an academic-based education and was progressive in her thinking by using state of the art video technology as a heuristic tool.

Awards and honors recognize Dolan’s service to the profession. Among these, the National League for Nursing’s first Distinguished Service Award was conferred on Dolan in 1972. The Connecticut Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau International both established awards in her name recognizing aspects of her excellence in other nurses. In 1974, Rhode Island College honored Dolan’s teaching with an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy. Boston College conferred a Doctor of Nursing Science recognizing her humanistic perspective on nursing. She was appointed to the National League for Nursing’s Committee on Historical Source Materials.

Dolan recognized the importance of collecting and preserving nursing artifacts and used them to illustrate her teaching. Dolan’s impact continues through her extensive collection of historical nursing documents, artifacts, and memorabilia donated to the University of Connecticut’s School of Nursing.

Eleanor C. Lambertsen, EdD, RN, DSc (Hon.)

New York State Nurses Association

2012 Inductee

During her distinguished career, Eleanor C. Lambertsen made a profound and immeasurable impact on the nursing profession that has continued long after her death in 1998. An esteemed leader in nursing education in New York State, nationally, and internationally, she pioneered the concept of “team nursing,” which revolutionized the organization and delivery of nursing and health care by placing registered professional nurses in the primary interdisciplinary leadership role.

She began her nursing career in the 1930s at Overlook Hospital in New Jersey. Upon completion of her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and serving as a faculty member, she went on to hold leadership positions at the American Hospital Association. She later returned to Teachers College as Helen Hartley Chair of the Nursing Department and director of the Division of Health Sciences. In 1970, she became dean of the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing and in 1974, senior associate director of nursing.

A student described Lambertsen as a champion of advanced practice who was willing to stand up to the power structure with determination and grit. Her influence made it possible for generations of clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners to practice their art and science independently.

Lambertsen served the profession as president of the American Nurses Foundation, chair of the National Commission for the Study of Nursing and Education, and nursing consultant to the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare’s Report on the Study to Extend the Role of Nurses. She was proud of her work as consultant to the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) Special Committee to Study the Nurse Practice Act, which resulted in a model used throughout the nation.

Among many honors and accolades, she received the highest recognition awards of NYSNA and the American Nurses Association.

Capt. Mary Lee Mills, (Ret.) USPHS, MSN, MPH, RN, CNM

North Carolina Nurses Association

2012 Inductee

The late Capt. Mary Lee Mills improved the quality of life for countless people around the world through her passion for public health nursing. She achieved her professional education from Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing in Durham, NC; New York University in New York City; and George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her trailblazing career transported her from a small town in North Carolina to the international stage as a nurse ambassador.

Early in her career, she practiced as a public health nurse and a nurse-midwife. In 1946, she became director of public health for the nursing certificate program at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University). That same year, she was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), where she progressed to captain and served as Chief Nursing Officer from 1946-1952.

Mills received many national and international awards. Liberia vested her as Knight Official of the Liberian Humane Order of the Redemption for numerous public health initiatives. Lebanon bestowed the Order of the Cedars for her role in establishing the first school of nursing.

In 1966, Mills traveled as a consultant to the Secretary of the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to Finland, Germany, and Denmark to study their national health systems. She represented the United States at public health conferences in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Italy, and Sweden.

She contributed professionally to the American Nurses Association and the North Carolina Nurses Association. During 20 years with the Office of International Health, Mills received the USPHS Distinguished Service Award and North Carolina’s highest award, Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Her portrait is featured with 33 distinguished African-Americans at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Mills overcame racial, gender, class, and societal barriers to dramatically improve public health and nursing. A phenomenal nurse, role model, humanitarian, and international nursing leader, she died in 2010 at 98 years old.

Margaret D. Sovie

2012 Inductee

New York State Nurses Association

A distinguished nurse educator, administrator, researcher, policymaker, and writer, Margaret D. Sovie embodies the standards of excellence she continually pursued for nursing. She is recognized as an innovative leader whose major, positive influence on nursing continues after her passing in 2002.

Sovie’s seminal work in nursing excellence has forever changed how health care facilities support professional nursing practice. In a landmark study for the 1983 American Academy of Nursing’s Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals, Sovie and her colleagues identified the characteristics of facilities that attracted and retained the best and brightest nurses. Defining 14 “Forces of Magnetism,” she and her colleagues established the framework for a program of nursing excellence. From this study evolved the Magnet Recognition Program® used by the American Nurses Credentialing Center today.

In 1954, Sovie received her diploma from the St. Lawrence State Hospital School of Nursing in New York. She earned advanced degrees from Syracuse University and forged a career marked by leadership in nursing administration and education. Significantly, she led two major academic hospitals as Chief Nursing Officer: the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The Margaret D. Sovie Center for Advanced Practice at Strong Memorial honors her legacy as an advocate for nurse practitioners. A fearless researcher, she received national recognition for her study of the interrelationship of nursing acuity, diagnosis-related groups, and the economic delivery of health care.

Sovie directly advanced the practice of nursing with service on the New York State Board of Nursing from 1974-1984. She contributed as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and as a member of American Nurses Association, New York State Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau International. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1987.

Russell E. Tranbarger


2012 Inductee

North Carolina Nurses Association

Russell E. Tranbarger has blazed a trail of excellence throughout his career as an administrator, educator, clinician, historian, legislative advocate, leader, author, editor, and tireless advocate for diversity in nursing.

A role model for men in nursing, perhaps his most significant contribution has been his pioneering spirit to encourage the profession to accept men. His commitment is demonstrated through leadership in the American Assembly for Men in Nursing and as co-editor of the book, “Men in Nursing: History, Opportunities, and Challenges.”

Early in his 50-year career, Tranbarger practiced in medical-surgical nursing as an officer in the Army Nurse Corps. After graduate school, he spent 20 years as a chief nurse executive at three hospitals in North Carolina. In 1972 he was appointed the first male registered nurse on the University of North Carolina School of Nursing faculty (adjunct). He led a period of change in practice as vice president for nursing at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro from 1977 to 1989. For example, he implemented a 12-month nurse internship, a post master's residency in nursing management, and in collaboration with the nursing staff, implemented primary nursing, a clinical ladder program, and recognition of nursing excellence. Retiring in 2003, Tranbarger is professor emeritus at East Carolina University and continues his educator role as a consultant.

His professional activism has spanned his career. Tranbarger was the first man to serve as president of the North Carolina Nurses Association and as chair of the North Carolina Board of Nursing. As testament to his expertise, he co-chaired the task force to rewrite the North Carolina Nurse Practice Act. Nationally, he contributed to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations and gave testimony on health care to the United States Congress.

His lifelong commitment to the profession has advanced contemporary nursing, and his rich record of accomplishments sets an example for all who follow.

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