Patricia D’Antonio, PhD, RN, FAAN
The history of health care looks very different through the eyes of nurses.
Dr. Patricia D’Antonio is an internationally recognized nursing historian whose research demonstrates nurses’ strong influence on public health and the development of health care norms. Her current work on early 20th century health demonstration projects in the United States shows that nurses were central in promoting the current norms of primary care: regular physical examinations, prenatal and dental care, and hearing and eye checkups. She also shows how nurses slowly changed prevailing health beliefs, such as that high infant mortality was “God’s will” and checkups were a ploy to enrich physicians.
Dr. D’Antonio directs Penn Nursing’s Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, a resource for scholars worldwide. The center works with historians of nursing worldwide. Its faculty and students place the history of nursing at the center of debates about health policy, practice, and the education of a new generation of students.
For Dr. D’Antonio, writing the history of nursing means evaluating both successes and failures. For example, in her last book, American Nursing, she drew on firsthand accounts by white and African-American nurses, including men, to discover how these groups historically viewed themselves and each other. She found that a strong nursing identity bridged some historical divides within systems of care and education that had their own strong gender and racial hierarchies.
- PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 1992
- MSN, Catholic University of America, 1982
- BS, Boston College School of Nursing, 1977
Dr. D’Antonio enjoys nurturing a new generation of scholars in the history of nursing. She lectures worldwide on nursing education, professionalism and research, nursing career paths, and leadership. She also credits the intellectual curiosity of her Penn Nursing students with helping shape her own research. As a teacher and mentor, Dr. D’Antonio aims to provide structure for students’ intellectual curiosity, to enable them to ask – and answer – important questions about the nursing profession.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
A member of Penn Nursing’s first class of PhD students, Dr. D’Antonio is a clinical specialist in psychiatric nursing with a longstanding love of history. She appreciates the intellectual vibrancy of Penn and the willingness of its faculty and students to take risks and try new approaches in every field of study. Her current interest is in exploring the nature of nursing knowledge, which she views as inherently interdisciplinary. Her teaching focuses on using history to analyze contemporary issues in health care practice, health policy, and public health.
Selected Career Highlights
- Editor, Nursing History Review, American Association for the History of Nursing
- Consulting editor (with Julie Fairman), for the series Nursing History: Narratives for the 21st Century, Johns Hopkins University Press
- Fellow, College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
- Consultant, World Health Organization, on history and strategic directions for nursing and WHO
- Nursing Outlook Excellence in Policy Award, “History Counts: How History Can Shape our Understanding of Health Policy”
- President’s Award, American Association for the History of Nursing
D’Antonio, P., Fairman, J., Lewenson, S. (in press). An Historical Perspective on Policy, Politics, and Nursing. In D. Mason and Frieda Outlaw (Eds.), Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care. (8th Ed.)Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
- D’Antonio, P. (2016). “Review of Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since the 1930s”. Nursing History Review , 24, 161-164.
- Alexander, K.A., Teitelman, A.M., Jemmott, L.S., and D’Antonio, P. (2015). “Addressing Sexual Health Behavior during Emerging Adulthood: Implications for Research Interventions and Clinical Practice”. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24 (1-2), 42478.10.1111/jocn.12640
- D’Antonio, P., Beeber, L., Sills, G., & Naegle, M. (2014). The future in the past: Hildegard Peplau and interpersonal relations in nursing. Nursing Inquiry, , e-pub ahead of print, .10.1111/nin.12056
- D’Antonio, Patricia (2014). A Legacy of Leadership. In Leslie Flowers (Eds.), A Legacy of Leadership: 100th anniversary of the Indiana University School of Nursing. (42441). Indianapolis, IN: Indiana School of Nursing.
- D’Antonio, P. (2014). Lessons learned: Nursing and health demonstration projects in New York City, 1920-1935. Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 14(3-4), 133-141.10.1177/1527154413520389
- D’Antonio, Patricia (2014). Nursing. In H. Slotten (Eds.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American science, Medicine, and Technology. (179-184). London: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acref/9780199766666.001.0001
- Fairman, J., & D’Antonio, P. (2013). History Counts: How History Can Shape our Understanding of Heath Policy. Nursing Outlook, 61, 346-52.
- D’Antonio, P. (2013). Review of Caring for America: Home Health Care Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State. American Historical Review, 18 (3), 894.
- D’Antonio, P. (2013). Working on the Jagged Edge: Reflections on Thorne and Chinn. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 45 (2), 23-25.