Nursing research pioneer Jeanne Quint Benoliel, who championed the role of the nurse scientist and is recognized as one of the first nurses to research and study death and dying, passed away Jan. 23. She was 92.
The University of Washington School of Nursing emeritus professor founded the PhD program and a graduate program called Transition Services. The program focused on end-of-life care and was led by Benoliel and Dr. Ruth McCorkle, RN, PhD, for 11 years. The program trained nurses for leadership in community-based care for advanced cancer patients and their families.
“Her impact has been transformative, end-of-life care as we know it today is infused with her principles, rights of the individual patient, recognizing and giving voice to family members and the understanding that personal goals are paramount in making life decisions,” McCorkle said. “Her legacy is her body of work.
Former student Barbara McGrath, RN, PhD, associate professor in the SONs psychosocial and community health department, called her death and dying class infamous.
The first day she announced that we cannot help others deal with their impending deaths until we have examined our own feelings, McGrath said. We called it the crying classtears flowed, we often were angry with her for pushing so hard, but insights also emerged, and none of us came out of that class unchanged (or unscathed).
Benoliel was the first Elizabeth Sterling Soule Professor in the SON in 1987 and was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing for her contributions to the field of cancer nursing. She received a research award from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for four decades of end-of-life care research and the Oncology Nursing Society Lifetime Achievement Award.
She authored six books, produced hundreds of articles, gave numerous presentations and was the first nurse to chair the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. She established the SONs first Endowed Fellowship, providing financial assistance to doctoral-level students in end-of-life nursing.
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