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Oregon’s First Registered Nurse

July 1, 2020

By: Bev Power, City of Medford Parks and Recreation

Mrs. Olivia Dyre Osborne graduated the Illinois Training School for Nurses in 1892 under her maiden name of Dyre.  She was one of 46 graduates that year, the largest class that had ever graduated the school. The graduation ceremony heralded Florence Nightingale as a model of high standards in nursing.

Later, Olivia and her husband John Osborne arrived in Medford from Chicago. It was through Olivia’s efforts that the state law governing the registration of nurses was passed. Subsequently, on October, 19, 1911 she became the first registered nurse in Oregon.  She served on the Board from 1911 to 1923 and was elected the first president, serving in that capacity until 1918.

During the early years much was accomplished, the curriculum was revised, and entrance requirements raised, thus all applicants had to be high school graduates. It was through state legislation that the period of training was raised from two years to three years, and all schools not meeting the new requirements were closed.

It was through Mrs. Osborne’s initiative that the nurses registration at Medford, Oregon was established, which she directed. She passed away in 1942 and is interred at the Medford Eastwood/I.O.O.F. Cemetery.

Information obtained via http://truwe.sohs.org/files/osborne.html

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Vote. For the Centennial, Oregon Heritage is sharing stories of notable women in Oregon’s history. For ideas on how to research women’s history in your community, visit Oregonheritage.org and refer to our Centennial Vote Planning Guide.

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