Remembering Shirley Fondiller, BS, MA, EdM, EdD, FAAN (1923 – 2018)

We were saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Shirley Fondiller on May 24, 2018 at the age of 94. Dr. Fondiller was the first editor of The American Nurse newspaper, the official news periodical of the American Nurses Association.  Shirley was at the INANE inaugural gathering in New York City in 1982, as seen in the photograph of that gathering below.  In the photo, Shirley is standing to the far right. Although in the years to follow I did not have the good fortune to continue to work with her, I recall meeting her at that gathering and remember her as vivacious and outspoken – in a good way!  My memory is confirmed by a note in her obituary that she kept a plaque on her china cabinet that read “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.”  She was indeed widely recognized as an outspoken voice on women’s rights and the need for professionalism in nursing. She wrote numerous editorials and external commentaries calling for higher standards and more rigorous credentialing in nurse education. 

Shirley was also an historian; she earned her Certified Archivist credential from the National Archives and Records Service, and was dedicated to preserving little-known accounts of nursing’s past in journals and books.  Her books attest to her commitment to preserving the history of nursing, and to her passion for high standards in nursing writing:

  • Go, and Do Thou Likewise: A History of Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, 1877-1979 (here);
  • The Writer’s Workbook: Health Professionals’ Guide to Getting Published (1999) (here);
  • Health Professionals Style Manual (2007) (here) with a foreword by Suzanne Smith;
  • Nursing: The Career of a Lifetime (1995) (here), ;
  • The Entry Dilemma: The National League for Nursing and the Higher Education Movement, 1952-1972, with an Epilogue to 1983 – digitized in 2008 (here).

We join many others in remembering our long-time colleague, and in paying tribute to her many important contributions to nursing and healthcare.

The photo below of the 1982 INANE gathering is also on the “Past conferences” page of this site.

1982 Conference Attendees

Seated, L to R: Unidentified, Elinor S. Schrader (Editor AORN), Thelma M. Schorr (editor, AJN), Rozella Schlotfeld, Dean Case Western University & guest speaker), Sue Hegyvary (Associate dean and Assistant V.P., RPSLMC, Chicago & introduced symposium).Standing, L to R: unidentified, Julie Stillman (Little Brown and Co.), Patricia (Tucker) Nornhold, Peggy Chinn (Editor ANS), Leah Curtin (Editor, Supervisor Nurse), Alison Miller (C.V. Mosby Co), Richard H. Lampert (Appleton-Century-Croft), Shirley H. Fondiller (assistant to the dean for special programs and projects, RPSLMC, and Program Coordinator for the first National Journalism Symposium, April 1981)

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