Dolores Deo” Little, MN, RN started her career at Stanford Univer­sity Hospital as a staff nurse, then head nurse and super­visor at Firland TB Sanito­rium, and surgical super­visor at Harborview Medical Center where she expanded her role to become a part-time instructor at the Univer­sity of Washington School of Nursing in 1951. In 1968, Deo became a professor in the Depart­ment of Commu­nity Health Care Systems, and the leader­ship class she taught to under­grad­uate students was a required course. A popular and dynamic teacher, Deo mentored hundreds of students over the course of her career.

She not only practiced quality nursing, but spoke poignantly on all facets of nursing. A sought-after spokesperson, promoting quality nursing practice throughout the U. S. and abroad, Deo presented over 300 papers, talks at confer­ences, workshops, symposia, conven­tions, inter­na­tional meetings, TV and radio shows, as well as newspaper inter­views. Her unique ability to use humor in presenting critical concepts on nursing was always very popular.

Deo’s tireless commit­ment to defining and enhancing the role of nursing was reflected in her pioneering efforts to delin­eate the scope of practice for the clinical specialist, primary care nurse practi­tioner, nurse manager, leader and polit­ical activist. This was demon­strated through her research, publi­ca­tions, and innumer­able presen­ta­tions throughout the world.

Deo authored over 60 publi­ca­tions which include books, journal articles, films, audio and visual tapes, many of which focused on nursing practice, the nurse specialist, nursing care planning and nurse practi­tioner. She pioneered the Primex” concept which eventu­ally evolved into the role of the primary health care practitioner.

Always striving for more knowl­edge and infor­ma­tion about the impact of nursing practice on health outcomes and patient satis­fac­tion, Deo partic­i­pated in over 20 research projects throughout her career.

Clearly, her studies, papers, and presen­ta­tions on the nurse specialist, nurse practi­tioner and nursing process have and will continue to have a lasting legacy on the practice of nursing.

Deo served on the WSNA Board of Direc­tors from 1959 — 1972 in numerous positions including: presi­dent, first vice-presi­dent, second vice-presi­dent and ANA/WSNA conven­tion delegate.

During her tenure as WSNA presi­dent, Deo paved the way for recog­ni­tion and accep­tance of collec­tive bargaining and the need for parity and strong protec­tions for staff nurses. Although a contro­ver­sial issue among nurse managers and academia, Deo was fearless in promoting collec­tive bargaining in all settings. She led the way in defining nursing practice so that it could be under­stood and utilized in labor negoti­a­tions during the collec­tive bargaining process, and inspired many nurses to speak up in their work situa­tions and advocate for themselves.

During Deo’s presi­dency the Nurse Practice Act was expanded to incor­po­rate language for the advanced practi­tioner level, even though the medical and hospital associ­a­tions opposed it.

She co-chaired the first Joint WSNA/WSMA Doctor-Nurse Committee promoting commu­ni­ca­tions and collab­o­ra­tion between the two profes­sional organi­za­tions. With her leader­ship, the first Doctor-Nurse Confer­ence was held in Seattle, jointly sponsored by WSNA and WSMA. Subse­quently, a Joint Commis­sion on Practice was estab­lished which facil­i­tated commu­ni­ca­tions and joint position papers on the scope of medicine and nursing practice.

Deo, a leader who is able to artic­u­late the essence of nursing in a way that can be realized and under­stood by all nurses, no matter what or where they practice spear­headed the ANA creden­tialing program to recog­nize excel­lence in nursing practice. During the early devel­op­ment of the certi­fi­ca­tion process, Deo was a strong propo­nent of challenging evalu­a­tive criteria which were not always popular. Only after several years of debate on the floor of the ANA House of Delegates, did the certi­fi­ca­tion guide­lines finally get adopted. Deo’s leader­ship and perse­ver­ance were signif­i­cant factors contributing to the strong certi­fi­ca­tion program we have today.

Her award-winning film, Mrs. Reynolds Needs a Nurse” reflects Deo’s philos­ophy and beliefs about the impor­tant role of nursing as a patient advocate with clinical compe­ten­cies in a complex health care delivery system. This film classic has been viewed world­wide by over two million health care providers in the US, Canada, the Philip­pines, Australia, Japan, England, and France. Deo was the principal author and played the role of the nursing super­visor in this film.

Her book, Nursing Care Planning, coauthored with Doris Carnevali, served as an invalu­able and must-read publi­ca­tion, in popular demand by nurses and nursing students across the country.

Deo, a nurse ahead of her times, is a tireless, artic­u­late, and passionate propo­nent of nursing. She is a nurse’s nurse and can relate to nurses on all levels using day-to-day experi­ences as living examples to reinforce the theoret­ical content of her presen­ta­tions on nursing and health care.

As Honorary Presi­dent of the Washington Coali­tion for Health Security, Deo provided leader­ship in promoting health care reform which would expand access to afford­able, quality health care and allow for the choice of providers to include nurse practitioners.

She served on the Board of Direc­tors of the Puget Sound Health Systems Agency and chaired the Health Promo­tion and Primary Care and Preven­tion Committee. She became the first Chair of PUNCH, the Polit­ical Action Arm of WSNA, which today as the WSNA-PAC, continues to play a vital role in educating legis­la­tors, nurse members and the public about the many contri­bu­tions nurses make to health care in this state.

Her Profes­sional Achieve­ments and Peer Recog­ni­tion are numerous and include: Eliza­beth Sterling Soule Schol­ar­ship Award; King County Nurses Associ­a­tion, Nurse of the Year Award 1963; Chris Memorial Award, Mrs. Reynolds Needs a Nurse” Film Excel­lence; ANA Member­ship Award from WSNA; Honorary Member­ship Award from ANA; Distin­guished Alumni Award, School of Nursing, Univer­sity of Washington; Presi­dent’s Award, King County Nurses Associ­a­tion, 1990; Univer­sity of Washington Health Sciences Service Award, 1992; Lifetime Achieve­ment from the Washington State Nursing Founda­tion, 1995; and in 1998 the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion Hall of Fame Award.