Former UCSF Nursing Dean Margretta Styles dies at age 75

Margretta Madden Styles, RN, EdD, FAAN, a scholar with an international impact on the profession of nursing, died on November 20 at her home in Clearwater, Fla., at the age of 75. 

Styles was dean of the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco from 1977-87 and remained professor of nursing and dean emerita. She earlier served as dean of nursing at the University of Texas in San Antonio and at Wayne State University in Detroit and as director of undergraduate programs at Duke University.

She was an international leader in nursing, particularly in setting standards for quality in clinical practice. “Dr. Gretta Styles has changed the nursing profession forever,” said Kathleen Dracup, current Dean of the UCSF School of Nursing. “Her vision resulted in a national, voluntary credentialing body that provides specific guidelines for all nursing specialties. Dr. Styles was the architect of the specialization and credentialing systems that protect the public today.”
UCSF Associate Dean of Nursing Zina Mirsky said that correspondence pouring in from friends and admirers around the world continues to repeat the same phrase to describe her: “Gretta Styles was a beloved nurse to the world.” 

Styles was born March 19, 1930 in Mount Union, Pa., the youngest of eight children. She earned her bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry at Juniata College, her master of nursing degree at Yale University, and her doctorate in education at the University of Florida. 

She was an elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Institute of Medicine and held a number of honorary doctorates and awards from universities in the U.S. and abroad. She was the author of five books and numerous journal articles.

As past president of the American Nurses Association, the International Council of Nurses, the California Board of Registered Nursing, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Styles was a leader in organizations dedicated to promoting quality in nursing and health care by implementing standards and credentials for nurses. 

After her retirement from UCSF in 1987, she expanded this work on an international basis. In May 2005, she was recognized for her worldwide contributions with the Christiane Reimann Prize from the International Council of Nurses, the profession’s most prestigious international honor.

During her 10 years as dean of the UCSF School of Nursing, Styles led the faculty in development of the doctor of nursing science degree and the establishment of several innovative programs for nursing specialization and education at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. She fostered UCSF’s development in nursing research and clinical practice as well as in education, and set the direction for the UCSF School of Nursing’s current status as the top-ranked school in the country in receipt of research funding.

Styles was married for 47 years to the late Douglas Styles, an Episcopal priest whom she once described as helping her to spread her nursing wings. She is survived by her brother, Joe Madden of Indian Rocks, Fla.; sister, Jane Rupp of St. Petersburg, Fla.; three children, Patrick S.M. Styles, Redmond, Wash., Michael J.M. Styles, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Megan K. Styles, Danville, Calif.; and grandchildren Lauren and Jesse Rogers, Danville, Calif.

A memorial service honoring Gretta Styles’ life will be held at Calvary Episcopal Church in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., on Saturday, December 3 at 10:00 am.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to be directed to the Margretta Madden Styles International Student Scholarship Fund of the UCSF School of Nursing c/o the UCSF Foundation; the Margretta Madden Styles Credentialing Research Endowment of the American Nurses Foundation, or Hospice of Florida Suncoast, Palm Harbor, Fla.

The UCSF School of Nursing plans a memorial service in San Francisco on January 13, 2006.