As the former dean of Pacific Lutheran University's School of Nursing and the recently retired dean of the Washington State University Intercollegiate School of Nursing (ICN), Dorothy Detlor, '61, has dedicated her career to helping both the public and professional worlds understand the true nature of nursing. "Nurses are with patients 100 percent of their time," Detlor says. "They are the backbone of the healthcare system." And Detlor makes it her business to keep that backbone strong.
At ICN, Detlor was responsible for molding many healthcare professionals. "I'm very passionate about furthering the education of nurses," she says. After Detlor graduated from Whitworth with a B.S. in nursing, she received an M.S. in maternal-child nursing from the University of Maryland. In 1984 she received her Ph.D. in educational leadership from Gonzaga University. She currently serves on a number of boards, task forces and committees including those for the ICN's People's Clinic, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, Providence Health Care, and the Washington State Hospital Association.
In celebration of her recent retirement, Detlor looks forward to taking some time for herself. Of course, she will facilitate ICN's transition to a new administration. (She is pictured left at the recent groundbreaking for a new ICN facility in downtown Spokane's Riverpoint Higher Education Complex.) While Detlor will most likely continue to work at ICN part time, she is excited to be able to devote more time to one of her other passions, photography. Her photographic interests include landscapes, animals and birds; her first exhibit ran in the university exhibit hall. She also hopes to volunteer in the community at large.
Detlor never had any doubts about her profession. "I love nursing," she says. "From the time I was a child I wanted to go in that direction." When she attended Whitworth, the college had a combination program with Deaconess Medical Center. Even while she lived at Deaconess half time, she felt connected to the Whitworth community.
Detlor's association with Whitworth has been a source of satisfaction for her. "I have always been proud I graduated from Whitworth," she says. Her son also earned a degree from Whitworth, and she is continually in contact with students from the college in her work at ICN. "As I observe students," she says, "I'm always very impressed by the ones who come from Whitworth, with their critical-thinking skills and attention to world issues. They come from a wonderful background and have the potential to make a real difference."