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Donna Diers, Living Legend of Nursing, dies

A Living Legend of nursing has died.

Donna Diers, dean of the Yale School of Nursing from 1972 to 1985 and the Annie W. Goodrich Professor Emerita, died on February 23 at Yale-New Haven Hospital. A beloved teacher, mentor, and administrator, Diers also championed nursing research (she wrote the first textbook on the subject), scholarship, and public policy.

As dean, Diers developed Yale's Graduate Entry Program for people without undergraduate degrees in nursing. She published widely, edited Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, and did pioneering work on diagnostic-related groups (DRGs) for hospital data systems. In 2010, the American Academy of Nursing named her a Living Legend.

As much as she influenced the profession, Diers seems to have made an even bigger impact on her students and colleagues. ("Impact is not a verb," one of her former students quotes Diers as saying. A onetime aspiring journalist, Diers loved the English language.)

From a School of Nursing remembrance page:

Donna Diers was a dragon slayer. A voice of reason, integrity, and humor [. . .] She never shied away from a good fight or a good story.


[She] held my hand, unhinged my mind, and encouraged me to soar.

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