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Women of the Hall

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Year Honored: 2011
Birth: 1920 -
Born In: New York,
Achievements: Science
Educated In: New Jersey, Colorado
Schools Attended: Middlesex General Hospital; University of Colorado, School of Nursing, Boulder; University of Colorado, School of Nursing, Denver; University of Colorado, School of Education; Evergreen Institute
Worked In: New Jersey, Colorado, Washington, New York, Japan

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Loretta C. Ford

An internationally renowned nursing leader, Dr. Loretta C. Ford has transformed the profession of nursing and made health care more accessible to the general public.

In 1942, Ford received her Diploma in Nursing from Middlesex General Hospital in New Jersey and began her professional career as a staff nurse with the Visiting Nurses’ Association.  She went on to serve as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943-1946.  In 1949, Ford received her B.S. from the University of Colorado, School of Nursing, and in 1951, she obtained her M.S. from the same university. 

From 1948-1958, Dr. Ford held several different roles at the Boulder City County Health Department, and from 1955-1972 she held various teaching positions at the University of Colorado Schools of Nursing.  In 1961, she earned her Ed.D. from the University of Colorado School of Education.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Ford discovered that, because of a shortage of primary care physicians in the community, health care for children and families was severely lacking.  In 1965, she partnered with Henry K. Silver, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado Medical Center, to create and implement the first pediatric nurse practitioner model and training program.  The program combined clinical care and research to teach nurses to factor in the social, psychological, environmental and economic situations of patients when developing care plans.

When the program became a national success in 1972, Dr. Ford was recruited to serve as the Founding Dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing.  At the university, Dr. Ford developed and implemented the unification model of nursing.  Through the model, clinical practice, education and research were combined to provide nurses with a more holistic education. 

Dr. Ford is the author of more than 100 publications and has served as a consultant and lecturer to multiple organizations and universities.  She holds many honorary doctorate degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Living Legend Award from the American Academy of Nursing and the Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Today, it is estimated there are 140,000 practicing nurse practitioners in the United States, and close to 9,000 new nurse practitioners are prepared each year at over 325 colleges and universities.


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