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Learning from the past

Karen Buhler-Wilkerson, PhD, RN, FAAN, a noted nurse historian, author and professor of nursing passed away this week at the age of 65.  “Professor Wilkerson was integral to the 20th century renaissance of research in the history of nursing and health care,” said her long-time University of Pennsylvania colleague, nursing professor Joan Lynaugh.

Dr. Wilkerson published 3 books and 40 articles.  Her best known book, No Place Like Home:  A History of Nursing and Home Care in the United States, won the Lavinia L. Dock Award for Exemplary Historical Research and Writing from the American Association for the History of Nursing in 2001.  No Place Like Home is currently considered a classic, and Dr. Wilkerson’s work continues to influence home care workers today. 

Dr. Wilkerson was also instrumental in the founding of the University of Pennsylvannia School of Nursing’s Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) program, a program which even now provides home care for approximately 500 low-income residents of West Philadelphia.  The program remains a model for the care of vulnerable populations.

The Karen Buhler-Wilkerson Faculty Research Fund at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing is accepting donations in memory of Dr. Wilkerson.


Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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