University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids

Navigation Aids

University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids
Search Finding Aids

Main Content

Mary Opal Wolanin papers

MC 137

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
Wolanin, Mary Opal
Mary Opal Wolanin papers
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
MC 137
2.9 Linear feet
Mary Opal Wolanin was a nurse educator and expert in gerontological nursing, especially regarding confusion in the elderly. These papers span Wolanin's professional life, documenting her academic, research and consultation experiences with various associations, institutions as well as awards and nursing recognition received as a nursing leader. The collection is comprised of addresses, articles, papers, and audio-visual tapes.
Cite as:
Mary Opal Wolanin papers, Barbara Bates Center for The Study of The History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

Return to Top »


Mary Opal Wolanin was born in Chrisney, Indiana, on November 1, 1910, to Earl Edwin and Florence Abbott Browne. During her lifetime she was a nurse, educator, consultant, author, speaker, advocate and humanist. In 1931, she received a diploma from Kansas City General Hospital School of Nursing in Missouri, and she completed a psychiatric nursing course at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, in 1932. She obtained a bachelor of arts degree (1954) and a master's degree (1963) from the University of Arizona. From 1941 to 1943 she served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and while in the service, she married second lieutenant H. J. Tiger Wolanin. She accompanied her husband on his various military assignments in the years 1944-1951. In this period, Mrs. Wolanin held positions of staff nurse, supervisor, and instructor in Mississippi, Louisiana, Ohio, Arizona, and Nebraska. Her work included experience in obstetrical nursing and care of Native Americans with tuberculosis. The Wolanins returned to Arizona in 1958. Two years later Wolanin joined the faculty at the University of Arizona School of Nursing and retired in 1987 as associate professor emeritus.

During her tenure at the University of Arizona and through Wolanin's sustained effort, a graduate program in gerontological nursing was established, one of the first of the kind in this country. In 1968, she was given a joint appointment with newly established Regional Medical Program and began studying the needs of nursing homes and long term care in Arizona. She demonstrated leadership and expertise in improving the health care status of older adults.

Among Wolanin's credits are the book Confusion: Prevention and Care which established her authority on the subject of confusion in the aged. She provided consultation on gerontological nursing and presented many scholarly papers in the United States and abroad. Author of numerous articles, books, and book chapters, she received many honors and awards such as Gerontological Nurse of the Year, 1982, American Nurses' Association, Division of Gerontological Nursing. Additionally, she was inducted into the American Nurses Hall of Fame in 1996. She was active for more than 60 years in nursing. Wolanin died on May 22, 1997. To her colleagues she a guiding light in gerontological nursing.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Center staff, updated by Bethany Myers

Access Restrictions

This collection is unrestricted.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Return to Top »

Controlled Access Headings

  • Faculty papers
  • Personal papers
  • Gerontological Nursing
  • Nurse
  • Nursing schools--Faculty
Personal Name(s)
  • Wolanin, Mary Opal
  • Geriatric nursing
  • Gerontology

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Series 1.  Personal, 1931-1997.

Scope and Contents note

This series includes a biography, curriculum vitae, nursing school diploma, State Boards of Nurse Examiners Certificate, awards, educational course papers, and Wolanin's obituary.

Box Folder

Biography, 1910-1987.

1 1

Correspondence, incoming "personal letter from Florence," 1973; and Orthopedic Surgery Athletic Medicine, PA, 1991.

1 2

Certificates, State board of Nurse Examiners, including correspondence, 1935-1956.

1 3

Curriculum Vitae, 1990.

1 4
File Drawer

Diploma, General Hospital Training School for Nurses, No. 1 Kansas City, MO, 1931.

A 5
Box Folder

Identification card for Madrid Spain, 1983.

1 6

Mary Opal Wolanin Scholarship Fund (clinical research) correspondence and invitation, 1985-1989.

1 7

Nursing school record, Cook County School of Nursing, Chicago, IL, April 1932.

1 8

Time, Cultural and Social Barrier, Sociology 222.

1 9

Recognition Awards.

Box Folder

American Nurses Hall of Fame, program and booklet, June 15, 1996.

1 10

Beta Mu Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau, "Past Presidents" Award, 1991.

1 11

Gerontology Nurse of the Year, 1982.

1 12

University of Arizona, College of Nursing, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, 1990.

1 13
Box Folder

70+ and Going Strong: Mary Opal Wolanin, a Nurse for all Reasons, Geriatric Nursing, September/October 1984.

1 14

Obituary, including correspondence, Mary Opal Wolanin, May 22, 1997.

1 15

The Value of Evaluation, Business Administration 201, Personnel Management, August 20, 1962.

1 16

Return to Top »

Series 2.  Addresses, Articles, and Papers, 1964-1993.

Scope and Contents note

Included in this series are addresses, papers presented by Wolanin on various occasions, articles published in various journals, and research reports.


Box Folder

Keynote Workshop on Utilization of Nursing Research, Denver, CO, November 1976.

1 1


Box Folder

American Journal of Nursing, "They Called the Patient Repulsive," Vol 64, No.6, June 1964.

1 2

Arizona Nurse, "The Very Old and Frail Elderly", May-June 1985.

1 3

Concern,"The Cinderella Effect: an Administration Challenge", December/January 1977.

1 4

Discharge Planning Update, "The Tyranny of Little Square Boxes", Fall 1985.

1 5

Geriatric Nursing.

1 6

Who's Confused Here?, Wolanin and Phillips, July/August 1980.

1 6

Nursing Therapy, Drug Therapy, or Both?, November/December 1981.

1 6

Scope of the Problem and its Diagnosis, July/August 1983.

1 6

Long Road Back from Stroke, H. J. Tiger Wolanin and Arlene M. Putt, May/June 1980.

1 6

Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

1 7

Physiological Aspects of Confusion, April 1981.

1 7

The Aging Nurse, November 19??.

1 7

Elderly Clients as Educators, King, Aamodt and Wolanin, November 1985.

1 7

The GNP Newsletter, National Conference of GNP, Inc., "Focus on Wellness", Winter 1988.

1 8

Nursing Research, "Nursing Activities and Acute Confusional States", January/February 1979.

1 9


Box Folder

Confusion: Prevention and Care, Wolanin and Phillips, C. V. Mosby Co. [in Center book collection], 1981.

1 10

Rough drafts of revisions, rewriting, etc., 1981.

1 11


1 12

Correspondence, incoming/ outgoing re: publications of Journals, Book Reviews, etc.

Box Folder

Advances, Pro Scientia, Inc., Villanova, PA, 1983.

1 13

American Journal of Nursing, 1963-1965.

1 14

Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY, 1991-1993.

1 15

Critical Care Geriatric Nursing, 1988-1989.

1 16

Gerontologist, Ringel Institute of Gerontology, Albany, New York, 1987.

1 17

McGraw Hill Book Company, New York, NY, 1972-1974.

1 18

National Health Publishing, Owings, Maryland, 1989.

1 19

Psychosocial Nursing Care of the Aged (book), 1978-1979.

1 20

Priscilla Ebersole, Professor of Nursing, San Francisco State University, California, 1991.

1 21


Box Folder

A Theory of Staff Development, undated.

2 22

Accountability in Nursing, 1970s.

2 23

Acute Confusional States Following Relocation of the Elderly: Nursing Intervention for Prevention, Wolanin and Holloway.

2 24

Arthritis and Design Problems, Conference Center Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

2 25

Celebrating Aging, University of Minnesota, etc., February 7, 1980.

2 26

Confusion, 1980s.

2 27

Confusion in the Elderly (mimeograph, 12 pages).

2 28

Confusion in the Elderly (typed, 11 pages), 1972.

2 29

Confusion in the Elderly: Predictable and Preventable, Wolanin and Holloway, 1979.

2 30

Confusional States in the Institutionalized Elderly, 1980s.

2 31

Confusion Study Use of Grounded Theory as Methodology, Research Conference, 1970s.

2 32

Continuing Educational Approval Committee Works Toward Evaluation of Nurse Outcomes, 1980s.

2 33

Critical Care Nursing, 1980s.

2 34

Depression in the Elderly, "Diagnostic Criteria, Unipolar Depression," UTHSCA, School of Nursing, 1988.

2 35

Descriptive Study of a Process Measure of Nursing Care in the Nursing Home; Updating Physician's Orders, First Annual Nursing Research Conference, University of Arizona, September 1973.

2 36

Does It Have Implications for Nursing?, 1980.

2 37

Dependency, 1970.

2 38

Depression in Well-Ambulatory Elderly, St. Joseph's Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

2 39

Factors Leading to Effectiveness of Continuing Education Programs, 1975.

2 40

Familiar and Personal Care in a Coronary Care Unit, 1969.

2 41

Geriatric Nursing The New Pioneer in Nursing, undated.

2 42

Is it Research by Nurses on Nursing Research, undated.

2 43

Important Factors to be Considered in Determining the Experiencing of Time as a Linear Measure, 1970s.

2 44

Long Term Care, undated.

2 45

Mainstreaming the Elderly; Social Barriers, 1980s.

2 46

Medical-Surgical Nurse Looks at Confusion, Gerontological Society Meeting, New York, October 13, 1976.

2 47

Minimum Nursing Care Standards for The Stroke Patient, undated.

2 48

Modification of Digitalis and Tranquilizer Use in Nursing Homes, undated.

2 49

Nurses as Primary Care Givers, undated.

2 50

Nursing Intervention in Anxiety of Patients Waiting for Cancer Diagnostic Tests Results, 1970.

2 51

Nurses in the Gerontological Society, 1971-1983, San Francisco.

2 52

Nursing Care of the Human with Cognitive Loss, 1980s.

2 53

Nursing Intervention in Anxiety of Patients Waiting for Cancer Diagnostic Tests Results, 1969.

2 54

Planning Resident and Patient Care, 1970s.

2 55

Positive Health Education for the Elderly, IXth International, Pergrin and Wolanin, Ontario, Canada, 1976.

2 56

Process Criterion vs Impact Criterion to Measure Quality of Care in Nursing Homes, 1975.

2 57

Rehabilitation in Nursing the Geriatric Patient, undated.

2 58

Rehabilitation of the Patient-Who has Lost Ability to Empty Lower Bowel, undated.

2 59

Relocation of the Elderly, undated.

2 60

Retirement, Myth or Reality.

2 61

Research and Relocation of the Elderly, undated.

3 62

Research Report, Confusion Study, Use of Grounded Theory as Methodology, Research Conference Paper, 1970s.

3 63

Research, Determining Ways and Means for Communicating, Research in Nursing, College of Nursing Research Committee, 1975.

3 64

The Aging Woman and confusion, undated.

3 65

The Battered Grandma, undated.

3 66

The Cinderella Effect. And Administrative Challenge, Annual Meeting of the National Association of Jewish Homes for the Aged, Orlando, FL, 1976.

3 67

The Nurse as Primary Caregiver for Elderly Persons with Confusional States, 1980s.

3 68

The Nursing Equation, undated.

3 69

The One in the Middle.

3 70

The Physiological Aspects of Confusion, 1980s.

3 71

The Ten Commitments to Nursing.

3 72

Tools for Assessment of the Older Confused Client.

3 73

Ways of Transmitting and Receiving Messages by the Elderly, 1979.

3 74

1000 New Widows in Tucson: Age and Family Support System.

3 75

Other Miscellaneous papers, undated; Interaction with Environment; Assessment of the Older Person's Ability to Adapt to the Environment, and Assessment of Motor Ability to Adapt to Environment, draft.

3 76

Reports and Studies.

Box Folder

Celebration of Our Nation's Bi-Centennial, 1976.

3 77

Human Resources, 1970s.

3 78

Longitudinal Study, Four Women Between 70 and 90 Years of Life.

3 79

Methodology of Research in Progress, Introduction.

3 80

Nursing Service at Handmaker Nursing Home.

3 81

Nursing Services for the Aged in Nursing Homes and Extended Care Facilities.

3 82
Box Folder

Study-Nurses and the Confused Patient, an Exploratory Study.

3 83

Return to Top »

Series 3.  Institutional Associations, 1971-1994.

Scope and Contents note

This series documents Wolanin's involvement with various organizations with which she was associated such as the International Nursing Interchange of Project Hope and the Gerontological Society Foundation.

Conference and Workshop.

International Nursing Interchange of Project Hope.

Box Folder

Nurse Researchers Meeting, meeting notes including purpose, Millwood, VA, U.S.A., April 11-14, 1982.

3 1

Conferences for Nurses.

Innovative Nursing Approaches in Primary Health Care of the Elderly, Millwood, VA.
Box Folder
Papers, June 7-10, 1982.
3 2
Box Folder

The Aging Population: Jamaica, Laurice Victoria Hunter Scott.

3 2

Columbian Elderly, Ines Gomez De Vargas, RN, MN.

3 2

Nursing Older Person in the Developing Countries, Mary Starke Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN.

3 2
Second Conference, June 27-30, 1983.
3 2
Box Folder

Correspondence and summary of Planning Committee Notes, June 1, 1983.

3 3
Box Folder

Alzheimer's Disease and its Impact on Families: Models for Intervention, Marilyn Pearlman.

4 4

Partners in Health Aging, Mary Opal Wolanin. Partners in Healthy Aging, Mary Opal Wolanin.

4 5

Partnership in the Promotion and Investigation of Individualized Nursing for Elderly People, P.M. Ashworth, SRN, SCM, Msc, FRCN.

4 6

Partnership for Health Sexual Aging, Merrie J. Kaas, RN, MSN Workshop-Caribbean, Hope for the Elderly: The Prevention and Treatment of Confusion, April 17-22, 1983.

4 7

Workshop-Caribbean, Hope for the Elderly: The Prevention and Treatment of Confusion, April 17-22, 1983.

Box Folder

Correspondence, re: Agenda and planning information, March 14-April 5, 1983.

4 8

Case Studies-Elderly patient cases.

4 9

Country Profiles.

4 10

Report of Workshop Proceedings and Correspondence.

4 11

Papers Prepared and Submitted to International Nursing Interchange.

Box Folder

A Research Perspective on Elder Abuse: The Elder/Caregiver Partnership Gone Away. Linda R. Phillips, PhD, RN. University of Arizona.

4 12

Domestic and Plush Animals as Therapy with Elderly, Francis, Baly, Turner and Johnson, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

4 13

Ethical Problems in Feeding Senile Demented Persons in the Final Stages of Disease, Norberg A., RN, PhD, Asplund K., RNT, University of Umea, Sweden.

4 14

How to Increase the Function and Life Quality of Patients Suffering from Senile Dementia, Sm:bye, L.V., RN, The Deakon Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

4 15

The Bedward Community. A Study in Community Care for the Aging, Francs, S.E., London School of Economics and Brown, F., University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

4 16

Katz' Index of ADL-A Common Language of Functional Ability, Aberg, K.M. H., MD, University Hospital, Uppsala, Enkoping Hospital, Sweden.

4 17

Partnerships in Caring: The Five Hospital Homebound Elderly Program, Draper-Huebner, E., RN, MS, Northwestern University, IL.

4 18

Preliminary Information about the Old People in Honduras, Ordonez, A.T., MD, Asociacion Nacional de Proteccion al Anciano.

4 19

Students Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Senile Demented Patients, Astrom, S., RN, Adolfsson, R., MD, PhD, Nystrom, L, Sandman, P., RN, Winblad, B., MD, University of Umea, Sweden.

4 20

Lesson Plans-Advances in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing.

Box Folder

Physiology of Aging: Part I-Lesson 1.

4 21

Physiology of Aging: Part II-Lesson 2.

4 21

Note, lesson 3 is missing.

4 21

Assessment for Long-Term Geriatric Care-Lesson 4.

4 21

Assessment of Depression in the Older Adult-Lesson 5.

4 21

Nursing Management of Depression in the Older Adult-Lesson 6.

4 21

Dying: A Part of Living-Lesson 7.

4 21

Bereavement: The Price of Loving-Lesson 8.

4 21

Personalized Nursing Care in Dying and Bereavement-Lesson 9.

4 21

The Assaultive Patient, Part I: Understanding the Problem-Lesson 7.

4 22

The Assaultive Patient, Part II: Nursing Intervention-Lesson 8.

4 22

The Role and Functions of a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist in a General Hospital-Lesson 9.

4 22

Advances in Geriatric Care-Longterm Nursing Care.

Box Folder

Table of Contents and pages 1-64.

4 23

Pages 65-106.

4 24

Conferences, Continuing Education, Workshops, etc.

Box Folder

Marquette University, Division of Continuing Education, Combating Confusion in Hospitalized Elders, University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, 1988.

4 25

Mountain View Nursing Home, Safford, AZ "Recognition Day for Nurses", January 22 and 23, 1975.

5 26

Montana State University "Impaired Physical Mobility in the Elderly," Resource book of information on quality care of the elderly and guide book for videotapes (see Series 6, Box 7), 1994.

5 27

Northwest Texas Conference Council on Ministries, Asbury United Methodist Church, Amarillo, TX, "Workshop on the Church and the Aging", September 7, 1973.

5 28

American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., 97th Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA, brochure, and registration forms, August 11-15, 1989.

5 29

American Health Care Institute, Silver Springs, MD, correspondence re: Nursing Education Conference, New Orleans, LA, September 30-October 1, 1988.

5 30

University of Kansas, School of Nursing, Regional Symposium on Gerontology, "Confusion of Elderly: Prevention and Prediction (program and papers presented), April 28-29, 1980.

5 31

University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing. A Post-Graduate Gerontology Nursing Seminar, "Acute Confusional States in the Elderly", June 25-26, 1990.

5 32

Geriatric Nursing: "Managing Acute and Chronic Health Problems" (agenda and papers), September 6, 1990.

5 33

Veterans Administration Hospital, Cleveland, OH. Nursing Conference, correspondence, and paper. "Teaching the Family of the Elderly Patient", April 20-21, 1978.

5 34

1971 White House Conference on Aging, "Physical and Mental Health, (Background book for participants), March 1971.

5 35

Other-Correspondence, incoming participation in University Series Second National Symposium on Gerontological Nursing, September, 1980, San Francisco, CA, 1980.

5 36


Box Folder

Alberta Hospital, Ponoka, Canada, Holistic Gerontology Symposium, Caring for and Treating the Elderly, program and M.O. Wolanin, closing remarks, (handwritten), 1985.

5 37

First (1st) North American Symposium, Toronto, Canada, "Long Term Care Administration, program outline, 1975.

5 38

Humber College Etobicoke, Ontario, Annual Multidisciplinary Gerontology Conference, (3rd); "Independence and the elderly," program and two day format, 1986.

5 39

Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 4th National Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, Abstract book, November 18-21, 1984.

5 40

London Pastoral Institute, University Hospital, London, Ontario, Communicating with the Elderly, brochure, May 1, 1984.

5 41


Box Folder

Appendix A, Table 1. Summary of Responses to question, "What Area of Nursing are you Most Interested in Now?", 1980s.

5 42

Case Study "The Patient as a Person, "Restorative Nursing Conference, includes correspondence, outgoing, November 1963.

5 43

Confusion in Older Adults: Assessment and Differential Diagnosis, Marianne Matzo, MS, RNC, 1987.

5 44

Clinical Development Term: Delirium, A Content Outline for Module Development, and Correspondence, 1989.

5 45

Faculty and Staff Newsletter, Announcement of M.O. Wolanin attending Gerontological Society Meeting, Miami Beach, FL, November 1973.

5 46

Handbook-Procedures for Healthful Living and Care, undated.

6 47

Law-Medicine Notes, "Hospital Responsibility for Medical Care," Neil L. Chayet, L.L.B., 1970s.

6 48

Manuscripts for M. O. Wolanin's review: Psychology News, University of Arizona, Fall, 1993; reprint, "In Memory of me, D. F. McGowin," Ladies Home Journal, October, 1993.

6 49

Newspaper clipping, "Abuse in Nursing Home Often Subtle," The Arizona Daily Star, August 1, 1976.

6 50

New York University Medical Center, "Cooperative Care: Patient, Partners and Professionals," reprint, 1981.

6 51

Physiological Changes Associated with Aging, College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Spring 1976.

6 52

Project Grant.


Confusion in Hospitalized Elders, University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, 1988.


Annual Report, Year 3, December 1, 1990-November 30, 1991.

6 53

Annual Report, Year 4, December 1, 1991-November 30, 1992.

6 54

Early Detection and Intervention Strategies for Acute Confusion in Hospitalized Elders: Use of an Admission Intervention Screen (Abstract for presenting study), 1992.

6 55

Theoretical Framework for the Nursing Care of the Older Person with Memory Loss, 1986.

6 56

Uniform Minimum Data Set (MDS) for Nursing Home Assessment, February 27, 1989.

6 57

Workshop, "Depression in the Elderly," content for Days 1-5, 1980s.

6 58

Return to Top »

Series 4.  Audio Visual Tapes, 1994.

Scope and Contents note

This series includes two video tapes for instructing nursing staff on "Quality Care of the Elderly."


Impaired Physical Mobility in Elderly, Tape 1, 1:58:02; Tape 2, 1:57:36 (See also Series 3, folder 27), 1994.


Return to Top »

Series 5.  Photographs.

Scope and Contents note

Includes only one wedding portrait of Martin and Pearl Borrer.

Box Photo

Martin and Pearl Borror, wedding portrait, 1945.

7 1

Return to Top »