Manthey receives highest award for University alumni

As the creator of Primary Nursing, she’s influenced generations of nurse leaders

November 2, 2021

Marie Manthey

Marie Manthey, PhD (hon), MNA, FRCH, FAAN, known throughout the world as the Mother of Primary Nursing, will be presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest award the University of Minnesota presents to its alumni.

Manthey becomes just the 27th individual in School of Nursing history to receive the award that recognizes University alumni who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions or in public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national or international level.

Manthey, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Administration degree from the University in 1962 and a Master of Science in Nursing Administration in 1964, developed Primary Nursing based on her experiences on Unit 32, an acute medical care ward at University of Minnesota Hospital where she led a team of nurses in 1968.

Experiencing extreme frustration with a chaotic work environment where “everybody’s responsible for everything and nobody’s responsible for anything,” she developed the revolutionary concept of Primary Nursing, a system of nursing care delivery that emphasizes continuity of care and responsibility acceptance by having one registered nurse (RN) provide complete care for a group of patients throughout their stay in a hospital unit or department.

The concept of Primary Nursing was later expanded to include people in all health care disciplines and departments. Moreover clinicians expanded to seeing themselves as the “primary” caregiver or service provider to each patient and family became the core of the Relationship-Based Care (RBC) model of care delivery used worldwide today.

After serving as associate director of nursing at the University of Minnesota Hospital and director of nursing at United Hospitals of St. Paul, Manthey moved to New Haven, Connecticut in 1976. There she served as vice president of patient services at Yale New Haven Hospital and was an associate professor at the University of Connecticut and associate clinical professor at Yale School of Nursing.

In 1979, Manthey founded a health care consulting company – Creative Health Care Management (CHCM) – based on the RBC delivery model. Through her work she has influenced generations of nurses and supported the development of nursing in more than 2,000 client health care organizations around the world. She also provided technical guidance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for their study of Primary Nursing, published in 1983.

In 1994, she became just the fourth American nurse elected a fellow of the Royal College of Nursing in the United Kingdom. In 2015, she was named a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing – its highest distinction – for extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession, sustained over the course of a career.

A prolific author with more than 100 published articles, she received The American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award in 2002 for The Practice of Primary Nursing, in 2004 as a co-author of Relationship-Based Care: A Model for Transforming Practice, and again in 2016 as co-author of Primary Nursing: Person-Centered Care Delivery System Design.

Daniel Pesut, PhD, RN, FAAN, past director of the Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership, who nominated Manthey wrote, “Marie Manthey has influenced generations of nursing leaders throughout the world with her creation of Primary Nursing and its evolution and development into Relationship-Based Care.”

In a supporting letter, Gladys M. Campbell, MSN, RN, NC-BC, FAAN, wrote, “Beyond her well-known professional accomplishments, Marie is recognized as a nurses nurse, a professional whose heart has remained at the beside and whose commitment has reflected her understanding that a nursing license is a statement of public trust.

As a young nurse and first-time nursing manager, I remember carrying Marie’s Primary Nursing text, literally, under my arm as I worked to develop a professional practice climate. Stunned by the simplicity of a model based on nurse’s accountability to his or her patients, achieved through Relationship-Based Care, I was empowered to challenge the traditional acuity-based ‘numbers game’ that drove out staffing models. …I am just one story of a nurse, initially unknown by Marie, who was highly impacted by her work.”

Manthey continues to push the profession forward by challenging it to explore structural racism and implicit bias. She regularly hosts nursing salons to provide space for these important discussions and continues to consult for Creative Health Care Management.

She will be formally presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award as part of the School’s All School Reunion in 2022.

Categories: Alumni News

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