Betty Jule Harrington

Betty Jule Harrington, 95, of Spokane, WA, passed away March 5, 2019, at her home at Providence Emilie Court Assisted Living, of natural causes.

Active in professional nursing activities and associations throughout her career, Betty served on the Washington State Board of Nursing, the Board of Directors of the Washington State Nurses Association, and the Inland Empire Nurses Association. She also was an examiner for the National League for Nursing. She was the recipient of the Outstanding Nurse and Lifetime Achievement awards from the Inland Empire Nurses Association and received the Washington State Nurses Association Excellence Award in 1989.

In 1996, Betty was inducted into the Washington State Nurses Hall of Fame.

Betty was born April 5, 1923, in Butte, MT, the third of four children. Betty was a strong proponent of education and advancing women in the workplace, with a strong leadership style. She was a teacher, confidant, a great cook, and a source of perpetual support to her family and friends.

Betty received her diploma from St. James School of Nursing in Butte in 1944 and served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1944-46. After eight years as a nursing supervisor in San Francisco, she entered Gonzaga's nursing program where she completed a Bachelor of Science in nursing education in 1956. She returned to Gonzaga and received a Master of Education in 1964.

Betty joined the staff of Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane in 1954 as a staff nurse and began as a clinical instructor for the Sacred Heart School of Nursing in 1956, where she served as the director until the school closed in 1973. She subsequently established the Educational Services department at Sacred Heart Medical Center and served as the director until her retirement in 1989.

Betty was an innovative leader in nursing administration and education where she devoted 22 years of service, in addition to her staff nursing. She worked tirelessly in the development of a baccalaureate nursing program in Spokane that would allow associate degree and diploma-educated registered nurses to achieve a BSN degree.

As president of the Spokane League for Nursing in the 1960s, Betty led local nursing organizations as she met with regional and national nursing leaders, administrators and educators to garner their support of a consortium approach to the program. Ultimately, Betty, along with one other colleague (Betty Harrington) convinced the president of Washington State University to accept administrative responsibility for this new program, from which the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education was established.

Throughout her tenure as an educator at the ICNE, she provided leadership in sculpting the nursing programs design, which for many years was the only curriculum of its kind in the United States. Subsequently, she felt the need to devise a program that would enable registered nurses working in Walla Walla, the Tri-Cities, Yakima, and Wenatchee to complete course and clinical work for their BSN. Eventually, under her leadership, the Yakima program was expanded to also accept the basic baccalaureate students. Betty's futuristic approach to nursing education, and expertise in working with colleagues and university officials opened entirely new, innovative opportunities for the rural registered nurse to advance her or his education.

Upon her retirement after 35 years of service, Betty received the Sacred Heart Honor award for her outstanding contribution and service to Sacred Heart Medical Center. She was also recognized with the Sisters of Providence Mother Joseph award in 2003 and received the Sister Peter Claver Humanitarian Award in 1995.

Betty had a long friendship with the Sisters of Providence and was very active as a Providence Associate, becoming a Provincial coordinator for St. Ignatius Province and a co-director for the Mother Joseph Province.

Betty is survived by her brother Jerry Harrington (Pearl), Sacramento, CA; niece Karen (Dave Garrity) of Petaluma, CA, nephew Kevin (Earline) Harrington of Sacramento, CA; nephew Jack Harrington (Marcella) of Freeland, WA; Sally Brinton of Bellingham, WA; niece Mary Wilson of Des Moines, IA; cousins Melba Frank of Anaconda, MT, and Tom Teasdale of Northway, AK, and other family members. She was preceded in death by her parents Lela and Jerry Harrington, brother John Harrington, sister Frances Anderson, and niece Betty Jo Anderson.