Former Yale Nursing Dean, Hospice Movement Founder, Honored as "Living Legend"

Florence S. Wald, past dean of the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) and a founder of the hospice movement in the United States, was honored on October 25 as a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) during its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Dean Florence Wald serves as an inspiration to us at Yale and to nurses throughout the world,” said YSN Dean Catherine L. Gilliss. “Her founding of the U.S. hospice movement is an act that has touched millions of lives. Dean Wald’s work serves as a model of what advanced practice nursing can do.”

The title of ‘Living Legend’ is the highest honor given annually by the AAN in recognition of individuals whose contributions to the nursing profession and society during their careers have advanced health care services in the United States and throughout the world.

Wald served as YSN dean from 1959 to 1968. During that time, she implemented numerous reforms in educational programs, guiding YSN to a new definition of nursing as a scholarly clinical discipline.

Wald is a pioneer in the care for the dying patient. She founded Hospice Incorporated in Branford, Conn., an institution dedicated to helping terminally ill patients and their families, which has since become a model for hospice care in the United States and abroad. At 84, Wald remains a leader in expanding the compassionate care of the dying by bringing hospice care to prison settings.

She holds three degrees from Yale: Master of Nursing, Master of Science and Honorary Doctor of Medical Sciences. She was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 1996, The National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Connecticut Hall of Fame in 1999. She has also been awarded YSN’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Distinguished Woman of Connecticut Award, the Founder’s Award of the American Hospice Association, and the first Florence S. Wald Award for Contributions to Nursing Practice of the Connecticut Nurses Association.

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Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326