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Bidding Jean Ballantyne farewell, but not goodbye.

Jean Ballantyne, PhD, RN is headed north--way up north. Dr. Ballantyne has been selected as the Director of the School of Nursing at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. Montana's loss is Alaska's gain. We will miss her, but we share her excitement about the opportunities ahead.

A native Montanan, Jean grew up on ranches near Ekalaka and Glendive, attending a one-room school as a child. She received strong messages from her parents about education and public service. Her mom had earned a business degree from Montana State College and her dad served many terms in the Montana Senate. Besides living the ranch life on the rural frontier, Jean spent numerous winters in Helena watching the legislative process take place. The understanding that knowledge is power and the belief that service is important were clearly burned into Jean's consciousness.

Jean attended Montana State University School of Nursing, graduating with her baccalaureate in 1970. She worked for a short time at Billings Deaconess Hospital and then moved to Terry, Montana where she worked at Prairie Community Hospital. In short order she became Director of Nursing and then Hospital Administrator. From there she went to Toole County Hospital in Shelby where she served as Director of Nursing.

The rural experiences of her upbringing and her career will always be a part of Jean. She noted that being a nurse within a community where connections are so strong, seeing friends and neighbors at the best of times and the worst of times, made an indelible impression. She recently reminisced about working on a Christmas day many years ago ..." A neighbor was attending her husband who was an inpatient. He had Alzheimer's. Their pregnant daughter was admitted in labor and delivered her sixth child. Then an elderly woman came in with a broken hip and we called the surgeon in the next town, who came and pinned the hip that day. There was so much happiness and so much sadness all in one day."

In 1988 Jean received her Master's degree from Montana State University-Bozeman, College of Nursing and went to work for her alma mater as an Assistant Professor of Medical Surgical Nursing on the Billings Campus. Once again destined for administration, Jean became the Billings Campus Director in 1991 and served in that position for 12 years. She completed her PhD at Oregon Health Sciences University in 2003, and served the College as Interim Dean of Nursing for the 2003-2004 academic year.

Jean has made significant contributions to this state, its citizens and its nurses. She served two terms on the Montana Board of Nursing, appointed first by Governor Stan Stephens in 1992 and by Governor Marc Racicot in 1996. During these eight years Jean strove to be approachable and stressed that collaborative problem solving was key when molding policy that impacts nursing practice.

Jean has valued the opportunity to make a difference as an educator. She noted that Montana citizens need to have high quality health care and educators are challenged to make that happen through the educational process and preparation of students who are equipped to be excellent nurses. As she prepares for the transition to the University of Alaska, it is natural that Jean feels torn. She said, "I'm leaving home and it's difficult, but I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had here in Montana. I feel my personal experiences and growth have been tremendous. I will miss so much about Montana but I am very excited about this new frontier and the challenge that lies ahead."

Farewell, Dr. Ballantyne. We're excited for you and we wish you the very best in this new enterprise. You say you'll be back some day. We're counting on it.
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Title Annotation:Members in the News; becomes the director of the School of Nursing at the University of Alaska
Author:Scharff, Jane Ellis
Publication:The Pulse
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:620
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