Since the begin­ning of her career, Maureen Niland, PHD, MS, BSN, RN has shown a deep commit­ment to providing excel­lent patient care and fighting against discrim­i­na­tion, partic­u­larly in health care systems and the provi­sion of care.

Maureen attended the De Paul Hospital School of Nursing in Norfolk, Virginia. An experi­ence in school would go on to spur her passion for social justice and deepen her belief that all people deserve to be treated equally. When she and a group of class­mates were travel­ling to Florida for the Student Nurses Conven­tion in 1960, several restau­rants along the way refused to serve Maureen’s African American class­mates in the dining room and would only let them eat in the kitchen. All of the students on the bus refused to let this happen and they ended up not eating during the entire trip down to Florida.

Later, Maureen was employed as the head nurse of a Coronary Care Unit (CCU) that had segre­gated floors for white and African American patients. Faced one day with a patient care emergency, Maureen made the decision to move an African American patient into a semi-private room on the white floor. Despite being repri­manded by her boss, she continued to make decisions based on patient needs and the admin­is­tra­tion soon stopped caring about her integra­tion of the floors. During this integra­tion, she always took care to intro­duce the two patients sharing the room, knowing that the way patients were approached and intro­duced would have a huge impact on their experi­ence and satis­fac­tion. No patients ever complained.

Maureen’s ability to bring different groups of people closer together served her well throughout her career, including her work building partner­ships between physi­cians and ARNPs in clinics, improving the educa­tional experi­ence for Hopi Indian students and finding grant funding from the Seattle Housing Authority for Commu­nity Health Nursing at Holly Garden Commu­nity Neigh­bor­hood in Seattle.

Maureen brought the same tenacity to her work as a nurse in the Air Force Reserve. She retired at the rank of Colonel after over 25 years of service including flight nurse, assis­tant chief nurse, and Commander of the 40th Aeromed­ical Evacu­a­tion Squadron. She also spent time both working with veterans in direct patient care and working for the Veteran’s Admin­is­tra­tion as a nursing educa­tion instructor.

Maureen spent much of her career in teaching and educa­tion, working in many different parts of the country. At both the Univer­sity of Washington and Seattle Univer­sity, she devel­oped and admin­is­tered nursing under­grad­uate curricula that increased the focus on preven­tion and on commu­nity health across the life span. She pioneered and designed the use of learning modules and learning contracts. At Seattle Univer­sity, she devel­oped and started the Master’s of Science in Nursing degree program which focuses on commu­nity health for vulner­able populations.

Throughout a busy career, Maureen has maintained member­ship in WSNA since 1970 and has held leader­ship positions in the Washington State Nurses Founda­tion and the King County Nurses Associ­a­tion. She has also been active in Sigma Theta Tau and Broadway House, an organi­za­tion supporting low-income housing for homeless women.

Maureen retired from Seattle Univer­sity in 2005 and was named Professor Emerita before returning to serve as Acting Dean in 2009 and Special Assis­tant to the Dean in 2010. She has now re-retired, but remains active in St. Patrick’s Parish in Seattle and the Public Health Reserve Corps. Throughout her life, she has been a champion for those who are vulner­able or without a voice, and continues to lead by example today.