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Features. RX for nursing. For 50 years, PLU's School of Nursing has advanced health care knowledge

Rx for Nursing: Three past and present leaders in nursing ensure profession thrives

by Greg Brewis

Karen Phillips '55

Karen Phillips '55

In the early ’50s Karen Phillips ’55 spent over five years in nursing education, the standard for the time. She studied for a year at PLC, three years at Emanuel Hospital in Portland (where PLC nursing students then received their clinical training), another year at PLC, and a final three months at Emanuel.

After graduation, Phillips served as a nurse in the hospital in her hometown, Ritzville, Wash. She then worked at Swedish Hospital in Seattle before helping to open the new University of Washington Medical Center in 1959, where she worked for 30 years.

An expert in clinical nursing, Phillips held leadership roles at the UW during decades of astounding advances in medicine.

She was head of the UW Medical Outpatient Clinic, helped prep patients for the first heart transplants at the UW and served on the teams that established the first cancer clinic, the first Alzheimer’s clinic and the first AIDS clinic there.

Phillips retired in 1989 and serves today as a PLU regent.

R. Eline Kraabel Morken

R. Eline Kraabel Morken

While at the Emanuel School of Nursing, Karen Phillips studied under R. Eline Kraabel Morken, who was educational director there. Morken later left Portland to become director of the Pacific Lutheran Department of Nursing, which would become the School of Nursing, serving from 1953 to 1966.

Morken oversaw the establishment of the nursing clinical program in Tacoma, which consolidated all four years of nursing study on campus. She also led the school through its initial accreditation by the state.

Many of Morken’s family members have attended and supported PLU over the years. Recently the family has played a lead role in funding the Morken Center for Learning and Technology, which will be the new home for academic programs in business, mathematics and computing.

“Studying nursing under Eline Morken was very much like being in the army,” Phillips said. “She was just like a staff sergeant, lining us up for inspection every morning before we went to work. She was intimidating, but the education we received was the best.”

Lori Loan '82

Lori Loan '82

Lori Loan ’82 received her BSN from PLU and her master’s in science and Ph.D. degrees in nursing from the University of Washington. She is chief of Nursing Research Service and a member of the Executive Board of Directors at Madigan Army Medical Center.

During Loan’s 15 years in research, she has written or assisted in writing 61 grants, of which 42 received external funding of more than $8 million for nursing research.

She is a member of the National Neonatal Intensive Care Certification Exam Development Committee and the National Army Nursing Research Advisory Board. Loan is the Northwest Nursing Research Leader for the TriService Nursing Research Program, on the Board of Directors for PLU Alumni Association, and the president elect of the Pacific Northwest Association of Neonatal Nurses.

Loan holds clinical faculty member positions in the schools of nursing at University of Washington and PLU.

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Nurse Capping Ceremony

Nurses went through a capping ceremony when they were accepted into the school, and a pinning ceremony like this one when they graduated.

Photo Credits

By: Jordan Hartman '02
Nursing student Sarah Hatley '05 poses in a traditional uniform that was worn by Karen Phillips '55.


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