Nursing is not an easy profession, according to Barbara Braden, PhD, SJN’66, BSN’73, but it is one of the most fulfilling.
“You are present with patients in some of their happiest moments and some of their saddest or most challenging moments,” she says. “I always felt like nursing was a vocation that offered me the privilege of being with patients in those times.”
Because of the professional demands placed upon nurses, Braden believes nursing education is at its best when coupled with a strong background in biological sciences and liberal arts.
“The kind of nursing education that Creighton provides produces strong nurses who understand what is going on with a patient physiologically, cognitively and emotionally,” she says. “They have the background to understand the health care system — the ethical issues involved in health care — and place it in a social and historical context. This sort of education nurtures them personally and professionally.”
Braden graduated from Creighton with her BSN in 1973 and then returned in 1975 to teach in the College of Nursing.
She retired from Creighton in 2011, after 37 years as a faculty member and administrator.
She was at the forefront of her profession in 1983 as the inventor of the Braden Scale, a method for identifying patients at risk for pressure ulcers, or bedsores. The Braden Scale is used in hospitals, nursing homes, home care and hospice care worldwide; is available in more than 20 languages; and is published in nursing textbooks in many languages as well. Her research and innovation have brought her global recognition and honors.
Braden was a trailblazer in many respects: She was named dean of the Graduate School (1995-2006) and the College of Professional Studies (formerly University College) (2002-2011), becoming the first woman to be named dean of a school other than nursing at Creighton. She also was named interim academic vice president in 2002, and, as such, was the first woman to hold such a high position at Creighton.
Braden believes so strongly in the power of a Creighton education that she is an avid supporter of scholarship aid. “I want to make sure that students who don’t have the means on their own can still go to Creighton,” she says.
She established the Lois Turner and Odessie Taylor Endowed Scholarship in honor of two African-American women who were pioneers in the field of nursing, with a preference for the scholarship to support minority nursing students.
And, most recently, she structured her estate plans to make provision for giving to the Turner Taylor Scholarship as well as to the Dr. Sheila Donahue Ciciulla Scholarship, which honors former Creighton nursing educator the late Dean Ciciulla.
“Giving from your estate is an opportunity to give a larger gift,” she explains. “My life was at Creighton and I always felt supported there. By providing for student scholarships in my estate planning, I am able to leave a memorial that benefits students.”