Mary Bartholet, MS, RN has been a leader in nursing throughout her career. As a nurse educator, a member of her parish, a volunteer and a concerned citizen, Mary has contributed to the health and welfare of Washington and the profession of nursing in this state for over 50 years.
Mary graduated from St. Mary’s School of Nursing and the College of Saint Teresa with a bachelor’s of science through a joint degree program. She went on to complete a master’s degree at St. Louis University. After working as a staff nurse and head nurse in several hospitals, Mary began to explore an interest in teaching, starting as an instructor in pediatrics at Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
In 1958, Mary made the move to Seattle and began her long and distinguished career at Seattle University. As an Assistant and Associate Professor for thirty-four years, Mary has helped shape and mentor the next generation of nurses. When Mary first arrived at Seattle University, she taught a number of courses including the History of Nursing, Basic Nursing and Medical-Surgical Nursing. For the past 20 years, Mary has specialized in teaching students during their maternal-child nursing experiences. Her work in this area includes a video co-produced with Tonnie Wolf on the assessment of the newborn that went on to gain national recognition with an honorable mention. She has also contributed to the nursing literature with several published articles.
When Alpha Sigma Chapter at Sigma Theta Tau began at Seattle University, Mary was invited to become a charter member of the honorary nursing sorority. She went on to serve as President and chair of several committees in the chapter while at Seattle University. In 1987, she was awarded the Sigma Theta Tau Leadership Award, for leadership development. Mary was proud to see the professionalism and initiative of her students when she encouraged them submit a petition at the national student nurses convention. Their motion to include alcohol studies in all nursing curricula was passed.
Students have consistently praised her commitment to their learning needs remarked on how Mary went out of her way to ensure they would succeed in their courses and clinical experiences. Many have gone on to excel in their nursing careers as leaders and clinical experts.
Mary was recognized by the University for her outstanding service as a mentor for the Pathways Program. She was also nominated and honored in 1994 for Seattle University’s Herstory award, a recognition that began in 1990 to affirm the dignity, worth and power of women on campus. Mary was selected for her many contributions to the University for her tireless energy, and for her commitment to her colleagues and community. To cap off a remarkable career, Mary was granted the status of Professor Emerita from Seattle University for her steadfast and distinguished contributions to nursing and Seattle University’s mission.
She is now working on collecting information to write a book about the history of the Seattle University’s School of Nursing which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this spring. She’s interviewed graduates of the school about their experiences and memories, as well as how their education has affected their lives after graduation. A history lover, Mary has also volunteered for the long-term project “Women’s Voices – Women’s Stories” through the Seattle Archidiocesan Women’s Commission, conducting oral-history interviews with a diverse group of Catholic women.
Mary’s contributions don’t end in the classroom. Shortly after arriving in Seattle, Mary volunteered with the Seattle Red Cross and continued to do so over the next twenty-five years. Her work included the coordination of volunteers and resources to build a float for the SeaFair Parade, which won second place in its category at the parade. The Red Cross recognized her service in 1982 by nominating her for KIXI radio’s Citizen of the Day award. Eight times during the day, the radio station paused to review Mary’s civic accomplishments.
Mary’s faith has long shaped her core beliefs and her actions as a person, a nurse, and a community activist. For several years, she has served as a Eucharist Minster, bringing Holy Communion to those who are home-bound, visiting the sick and dying, and has coordinated the preparation of sandhwiches for people at the First Avenue Service Center in Seattle. In 1999, Mary began a parish nursing program along with several other nurses that provides education and training programs, blood pressure and other screening clinics, and home visits to people with health concerns. Her work with parish nursing program continues today.
Mary has also been active in WSNA throughout her career, serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors for two terms. She also represented WSNA on the working group Initiative on Children’s Health, a part of the Collaborative on Health the Environment Committee. She has been recognized by the King County Nurse’s Association with a Nurse of the Year Award.