In 2016, Penn Nursing celebrated 130 years of nursing education at Penn. These 130 years are marked by a legacy of leadership and innovation, first pioneered by the graduates of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

One such graduate, Kathleen (Kathy) Shaver, HUP’76, has played a critical role in commemorating this history at Penn Nursing – but not as a nurse. After working at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Hahnemann Hospital and Graduate Hospital after nursing school, Kathleen went on to receive her BFA at Moore College of Art & Design.

After her marriage, she was able to paint full time and she remains a Philadelphia-based painter. Her talent and passion for art known to her classmates, she was commissioned in 2011 to create a piece of art to mark the 125th anniversary of nursing education at Penn. Her art installation, “The History of Nursing as Seen Through the Lens of Art,” has become a point of pride within Claire M. Fagin Hall and an important tribute to the history of nursing at Penn.


Kathy’s work continues to receive accolades throughout the Philadelphia region and beyond. It has been included in a major survey of contemporary Philadelphia artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in exhibits at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Woodmere Art Museum, James A. Michener Museum, the State Museum of Pennsylvania and Moore College of Art & Design. In addition to Pennsylvania, Kathy has exhibited in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Texas, and New York. This year, she accepted a 2-year term as President of Moore College of Art & Design’s Alumni Council and she also serves on the college’s Board of Managers. Most recently, Kathy’s work is being exhibited at The InLiquid Gallery at Crane Arts in a group show titled The Physicality of Painting (February 8 - March 3, 2018).

 While she may no longer practice nursing professionally, Kathy has been called on to use her nursing background to care for friends and family suffering from acute or terminal illnesses. She remains passionate about the difference effective nursing care can make in assuring a patient’s optimum recovery or a dignified end-of-life experience. Personally, she also credits her nursing education for preparing her well to navigate life.

“The education and experiences I gained as a student at HUP prepared me to be an attentive and compassionate listener, an effective teacher, and an engaged advocate,” said Kathy. “Importantly, I learned to support patients in making changes designed to maintain health or improve healing by communicating and collaborating with all of the involved healthcare team and family members. These skills are important in life generally.”

As Penn Nursing celebrates 130 years and looks ahead to next 130, Kathy remains thrilled to see how the nursing profession will continue to advance and the role nurses and Penn Nursing will play in leading to a healthier future.

Once a nurse, always a nurse.