Norma A. Wylie (BSN ’57)

Norma worked with the World Health Organization and spent seven years during the 1970s in Singapore and Malaya where she set up basic curricula for nursing schools. Nursing in Asia at that time was almost nonexistent and Norma Wylie helped upgrade the role of the nurse in China, as she later described it, “from the basement to the first floor”. On her return from Asia, she taught at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where she was the first woman and first nurse to receive a clinical appointment along with a full professorship with tenure at a medical school in North America. She had moved to Illinois to open a hospice program, but the move also gave her an opportunity to teach medical students, something she had always believed was important. Her experiences in teaching doctors the bedside knowledge that nurses use resulted in a book, The Role of the Nurse in Clinical Medical Education. She later took part in an exchange program between SIU and Sun Yat-Sen University in China in the late 1980s.