In Memoriam: Barbara J. Braden, 1943-2023

Barbara Braden, long-time faculty member and administrator at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, died on June 24. She was 79 years old.

A native of North Platte, Nebraska, Braden’s father was killed in World War II two years after her birth. She and her mother then moved to a ranch owned by her maternal grandparents. When her mother remarried the family moved to Iowa, where she completed high school.

After attending St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Braden graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Omaha in 1966. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Creighton University. She continued her education earning a master’s degree in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Braden began her academic career as an assistant professor in medical surgical nursing in the College of Nursing at Creighton University in 1975. She was named interim academic vice president in 2002, and, as such, was the first woman to hold such a high position at Creighton. She served as dean of the Graduate School from 1995-2006 and dean of the College of Professional Studies from 2002 to 2011. She was the first woman to be named dean of a school other than nursing at Creighton University.

Dr. Braden developed a tool to assess the risk for skin breakdown in elderly and bedridden patients, to reduce the pain, suffering and expense associated with patient care. The assessment tool she introduced in 1987 is now known worldwide as the Braden Scale.

Dr. Braden retired from Creighton in 2011, after 37 years as a faculty member and administrator. To honor her memory, an endowed nursing scholarship has been established by the university in her name.

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