Selected Nurse Leaders at Mary Hitchcock
1901-1922: Ida Frances Shepard, R.N., superintendent of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and its Training School for Nurses. She was a graduate of Boston City Hospital Training School. She nurtured the MHMH SON through prosperous and difficult times and oversaw its 1905 transition from a two- to a three-year program. Under her guidance, the school became well respected. She was also a founding member and an officer of the Graduate Nurses of New Hampshire and lobbied for early nursing legislation in the state.
1928-1940: Rose Griffin, R.N., superintendent of nursing and of the SON. She guided the school through stressful times and pursued the highest standards of nursing and nursing education.
1941-1951: Marie Dowler, R.N., superintendent of nurses and principal of the School of Nursing. She endeavored to obtain shorter hours, better educational programs, and improved recreational opportunities for students. By 1950, students had a schedule that allowed for study, rest, and recreation, as well as more consistent days off.
1951-1960: Mary Louise Fernald, R.N., director of nursing service and nursing education (1951 to 1957); she retained the title of director of nursing education (1957-1960) when the Department of Nursing split. She helped to refocus the education program.
1958-1967: Irja Hill, R.N., director of nursing service. She helped to plan student clinical experiences and recognized that the education of nurses, not hospital service, was the primary goal of the SON. (She was also the wife of William Wilson, M.B.A., who was executive director of MHMH from 1948 to 1978.)
1960-1968: Katherine Schenk, R.N., director of nursing education. She completed the refocusing of the education program begun by Fernald.
1972-1988: Marilyn Prouty, M.S., R.N., senior vice president of
nursing (and head of the SON in 1974-75). She helped reorganize the nursing service department to focus on participatory management and introduced the role of clinical nurse specialists to MHMH. She also set the wheels in motion for phasing out the School of Nursing and oversaw the closing process.
1975-1980: Hilda Batchelder, R.N., last director of the SON. She helped implement its closing.
1988-1998: Kay Clark, M.A., R.N., senior vice president of nursing. She developed management leadership within the nursing department by creating the nurse director role—to whom the head nurses, who oversaw units and wards, reported; nurse directors became part of the Hospital's department director group. She also integrated clinical specialists into MHMH and was instrumental in fostering the concept of patientcentered care and in getting nurses involved in shared decision-making.
1984-1998: Linda Cronenwett, Ph.D., R.N., director of nursing research and education and director of nursing practice. She integrated nursing research into administration and practice and, as a firm believer that nurses are the consummate professionals, was a role model for many DHMC nurses. She helped create the nursing practice council, bringing nursing leaders and staff nurses together and giving them a voice in making decisions and setting policies. She is now a professor and dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
1999-Present: Nancy Formella, M.S.N., R.N., senior nurse executive. In this position, Formella represents nurses at the highest levels of the institution's leadership. DHMC established the position in recognition of the important role that nursing plays in the academic medical center's leadership. Formella facilitates the integration and collaboration of services among physicians and other caregivers. She also spearheaded the effort to obtain the prestigious "Magnet" designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2003.
Laura Carter is the associate editor of Dartmouth Medicine.
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