Jean C Whelan, PhD, RN
Adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing

Contact Information
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217

Jean C. Whelan is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Nursing and the Assistant Director at the School of Nursing’s Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing. Dr. Whelan received her BSN from the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Hunter College, her MA from New York University and her PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania. She also completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing. Dr. Whelan coordinates the popular and thought-provoking Barbara Bates History Center Bi-Monthly Seminar series as well as initiates and implements special projects carried out by the Bates Nursing History Center as for example the recently launched Philadelphia General Hospital (PGH) Photo Collection which contains images and commentary on the Bates Center’s PGH School of Nursing Alumnae Association Collection The PGH Photo Collection

Dr. Whelan’s research centers on the historical development of U.S. nursing workforce, the issues which shaped nursing’s development and the policy implications involved in maintaining adequate nurse services. In particular, Dr. Whelan examines the appearance of nurse shortages and problems in distributing nurses to the public throughout the 20th century. Currently, Dr. Whelan is working on completing a book, funded by a NIH, National Library of Medicine Scholarly Work in Biomedicine and Health Grant which examines the development of the nurse workforce and conventions of nurse’s work in the first half of the 20th century. Recently, Dr. Whelan completed a second NIH funded project, which resulted in the creation of a website, entitled Nursing, History and Healthcare ( This website is a major electronic source of critical historical information and analysis of the nursing profession and its relationship to health care policy. Dr. Whelan’s recent publications focus on demographic characteristics of the American nursing workforce and the distribution of nurses to the public as well as the entrepreneurial nature of early 20th century nursing.

• Currently Funded Grants

• Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing


Dr. Whelan is the recipient of a number of grants and fellowships to carry out her research program. She received two NIH, National Library of Medicine Scholarly Work in Biomedicine and Health Grants, two American Nurses Foundation Grants and was a Fellow at the University of Virginia, Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry. Dr Whelan also received the Bates Nursing History Center’s Alice Fisher Society Fellowship for Historical Research in Nursing and a University of Pennsylvania, Provost's Excellence through Diversity Grant. Awards received by Dr. Whelan include the American Association for the History of Nursing Mary Adelaide Nutting Award for Exemplary Historical Research and Writing, and the American Association for the History of Nursing, Society for Nursing History, Post-doctoral Research Award and the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing Alumni Association Legacy Award. Dr. Whelan is a member of several professional organizations. She is currently President of the American Association for the History of Nursing (2012-2014).
• Honors/Awards Details »

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