Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Imogene King was a pioneer in the profession of nursing. Known primarily for her work as a nurse theorist, King’s career encompassed a great deal more. King was a nurse educator who impacted the lives and careers of hundreds of students through her direct teaching, her mentorship, and generous spirit when it came to share knowledge. King was also a leader in the profession of nursing taking an active role in the various state American Nurse Associations (ANA) where she lived. The ANA awarded her with the prestigious Jessie M. Scott Award for her outstanding work in education. Also, an active member and prolific speaker for Sigma Theta Tau who honored King in the inaugural class of the Virginia Henderson Fellows.

This is a historical research dissertation that explores the life of Imogene King that primarily utilizes a biographical framework to describe who King was from her early and informative years growing up in a small town in Iowa along the Mississippi River to her work as a nurse educator, leader, and nurse theorist. Through this historical lens, I will argue the life experiences, such as the influence of her father, the Jesuits, Mildred Montag, and Teacher’s College, Columbia University amongst others, of King that distinguish those particular points in her life that were influential on what made King, with particular attention to those things that influenced her to become a pioneer in nursing theory. Finally, the significance of the life achievement will be described in order to demonstrate the impact that King had on the profession of nursing.

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