Lillian Singer Will

Once a Champion for Nurses in the Hospital, Now a Champion for Giving the Gift of Nursing Education

Lillian Singer Will

Lillian Singer Will ’54 is not shy about what she believes in, and she strongly believes in nurses. Retired from a long and extraordinary nursing career, Lillian’s decades of commitment live on in her generous gift of scholarships that aspiring nurses will enjoy and embrace for years to come.

Long a champion for nurses, Lillian was a trail blazer for the nursing profession. As administrator, nursing services, at Mount Carmel, she created a nurse/physician advisory council for fact-based and collegial clarification of professional practice issues. For this initiative, Lillian was published in the Journal of Nursing Administration (February 1979). Lillian was also one of the first to hire a male nurse, even though the medical staff was skeptical.

Lillian was so devoted to her nurses that she would agree to become acting COO of Mount Carmel West, only if she could eventually return to administrator of nursing.

When she married in 1980, Lillian kept it secret until she told her nurses. “I wanted the nurses to get some news first for once,” said Lillian. Fortunately for Mount Carmel nursing students, Lillian is still dedicated to nurses.

“I have a long history with Mount Carmel, and I am happy to help,” Lillian said of her scholarship fund and yearly donations to MCCN.

The daughter of German immigrants, Lillian entered Mount Carmel School of Nursing in 1951. She remembers lights out at 10 p.m., no married students, no jewelry, and no radios. “Although we did have a radio that we kept in a shopping bag,” laughed Lillian.

For five years, Lillian worked in the surgical unit at Mount Carmel. Then Lillian and Mary Margaret Sherry ’48 moved to New York City to work at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for 15 years. After six months, Lillian was promoted to head nurse, later to supervisor, and then to associate director.

At the same time her father became ill, Mount Carmel offered Lillian the director of nursing position. So Lillian returned home to Columbus and Mount Carmel, and to care for her dying father.

Upon Lillian’s return to Mount Carmel after a 15-year absence, she experienced “one of the most important moments” of her life. A nursing aide Lillian had worked with so long ago greeted her with great joy and affection.

“We all worked together, and I always tried to treat everyone the same,” said Lillian. “That was the most important thing.”

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