Kaiser's School of Nursing: A 70-Year Legacy of Disruptive Innovation

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Abstract

A legacy project was launched in 2016 to research, capture, and record the history and voice of Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing alumni. The inspirational stories of these early nursing pioneers emerged within a disruptive and innovative health care system known as Kaiser Permanente. Led by a doctorally prepared nurse director, the new school boldly rejected the dominant social norms of the 1940s by welcoming minorities and offering an unprecedented curriculum that prioritized prevention, health promotion, and wellness over conventional institutionalized sick care models. Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing alumni became Kaiser Permanente's earliest nurse leaders, educators, and care advocates. They helped revolutionize the key concepts of integrated patient care. As early innovators, many graduates pursued advanced degrees and were instrumental in defining expanded nursing roles, including the introduction of nurse practitioners in California. How Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing transcended the traditions and cultural norms of the day offers a reflective narrative on the enduring leadership attributes of disruptive innovation and the nurse executive's role in reimagining care for future generations.

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