Shirley St. Amand (front row, second from the right) with the graduating class of 1978
Shirley St. Amand grew up in a small, French-speaking home along the Canadian border in Van Buren, Maine. She obtained her nursing diploma from St. Anne’s School of Nursing in Providence, RI, in 1970 and her BSN from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974. Committed to pursuing her interest in the fledgling nurse practitioner role in patient care, she relocated to the West Coast specifically to undertake her master’s degree at the UCLA School of Nursing. She graduated in 1978 with a class of idealistic and ambitious nurse practitioner pioneers.
Within a few years of graduation, Ms. St. Amand realized her dream of partnering with a physician in a joint practice. With the full support of a cardiologist friend, Ms. St. Amand participated in his practice as a coequal. She received a percentage of the office revenue and paid a percentage of the office overhead. Together, Ms. St. Amand and her colleague provided a new level of integrated patient care.
Along the way, Ms. St. Amand became one of the first nurses in California to obtain hospital admitting privileges. She also was one of the first nurses in the state to be accepted for direct insurance company reimbursement. As a result of this professional leadership and community service, Ms. St. Amand was honored by the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce with its 1980 Outstanding Young Business Leader Award.
In late 1980, Ms. St. Amand was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She continued working during her treatments, but succumbed to the disease a year later at age 34. The Shirley St. Amand Memorial Scholarship, established by her husband Ronald K. Enholm at the School of Nursing shortly after her death, is intended to support outstanding second-year graduate nurse practitioner students in the Primary Ambulatory Care Program who embody her professional dedication, career goal-orientation, leadership, pioneering spirit and high standards.