September 1, 1976, was a red-letter day for the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center School of Nursing (now Oregon Health & Sciences University School of Nursing) in Portland. A new dean had arrived. Carol A. Lindeman, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., had been recruited to lead the school and to enlarge its solid regional reputation to one of national prominence.
The only daughter of Edgar and Lynda Lehmann, Lindeman was born on January 16, 1935, in Racine, Wisconsin. She earned a diploma in nursing in 1955 from Evangelical Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in Milwaukee, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in 1957 and 1958, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1964.
By the time Lindeman came to Portland, she already had established her reputation as a researcher and planner. Her original research on the role of patient teaching in the recovery of hospitalized patients was considered seminal, as was her Delpi Survey of Nursing Research Priorities. She had written a major planning and analysis document projecting the numbers of nurses who would be needed to carry out health care in the West. Achievements such as these earned her the Brookdale Award in 1976.
The plan that would achieve national prominence for the School of Nursing began with a vision formulated as Lindeman traveled the state with a staff member who was a native of Oregon. Nothing about her vision was small. A satellite undergraduate program was established at Eastern Oregon State College (now Eastern Oregon University) in La Grande to accommodate place-bound learners. Master’s program faculty traveled the state to increase the number of advanced practice nurses needed for primary care, faculty, and administrative positions. Faculty who had the ability to attract external funding were recruited, and the doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. in nursing began in 1985. The first four candidates graduated in 1990.
The passage of Ballot Measure 5 in 1990, Oregon’s property tax-limit initiative, required a serious mid-course correction for the School of Nursing. Lindeman, working with the Oregon State Board of Education, rose to the challenge. After intense debate, a statewide system for nursing education was created, and programs at Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) in Ashland and Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls joined the statewide system that included the campuses in Portland and La Grande. The statewide system required many innovations, including the introduction of distance education. As the statewide program grew, the school continued its commitment to quality.
Through decades of change and growth, Lindeman maintained her own professional commitments, serving on or leading most of the profession’s national organizations, especially in the area of nursing research. She served on the research advisory committees of the American Nurses' Association, for example, and on American Nurses' Foundation and Sigma Theta Tau International. She was awarded four honorary doctorates and received numerous awards. She is now retired and living in Beaverton, Oregon.
At the end of her presidency of the National League for Nursing, Lindeman was given a Native American headdress and a peace pipe. The citation read: “For the leader who knew when to make war and when to make peace”—a fitting tribute to a significant figure in Oregon and American nursing.
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Gaines, Barbara Conway. Oregon Health Sciences University School of Nursing: A History of the School, 1910-1995. Portland: Oregon Health Sciences University, 2000.