Co-Author of A Stone For Every Journey
Edwina A. McConnell, R.N., Ph.D., began her career at Boston University where she received a B. S. in Nursing. After working in her home state of Maine as a staff nurse, she practiced in Boston and in Denver. Acquiring a Master’s degree in Nursing at the University of Colorado prepared her for her next position as Clinical Director of Surgical Nursing at Madison General Hospital in Wisconsin. She continued her education to receive the Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Illinois in 1987. She launched her practice as an independent consultant in 1979 and from that time onward always held a combination of appointments that allowed her to function simultaneously in direct care, education, research, and related consultation as well as to develop her skills as a writer.
McConnell’s career spanned the globe. She held faculty appointments at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and at the University of South Australia. She traveled widely leading continuing education tours for nurses to numerous countries promoting international collaboration.
She was honored with induction into Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society for nursing and was designated a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing of Australia. She held memberships in several professional associations including the American Nurses Association, Association of Critical Care Nurses, International Society for Technology Assessment, and the American Medical Writers Association.
Edwina’s major research interest was in nurses’ use of technological devices in providing care. She conducted investigations in practice sites in hospitals and home care both in the U. S. and in Australia.
As a writer, she produced articles, columns and books, more than 250 during her career. She was a regular columnist for Today’s OR Nurse, RN, and Nursing. McConnell also served on several Editorial Advisory Boards including the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, Contemporary Nurse, Nurse Practitioner Forum and Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology.
In addition, Edwina maintained a career-long interest in the life of Elinor D. Gregg, R.N., first Supervisor of Nurses for the Indian Service. McConnell first studied Gregg as a figure in nursing history during her undergraduate education. Fascinated by the spirit and character of this pioneering nurse, she collected primary and secondary research materials toward a biography for many years. She felt an intense connection to that pioneering nurse whom she characterized as eclectic, dauntless and genuine, (drawing on Gregg’s initials for those very suitable adjectives) The mission she chose was to tell Elinor Gregg’s story to a broad audience.
The biography of Elinor Gregg was the focus of her work at the time of her death in 2002. She was so committed to the completion of that work that she secured the promise of a long-time colleague and friend, Teddy Jones, to complete it, should anything prevent her doing so. That promise was the beginning of a collaboration that resulted in A Stone For Every Journey.
The Edwina A. McConnell Archives at the Preston Smith Library of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas contain items from her library, personal items, manuscripts and her research on Elinor Gregg. These materials are available to researchers and students interested in the career development of McConnell as an independent consultant or in the research on Elinor Gregg.