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Ozzy's Girls

Ozzy's Girls

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The Story of the Gusty Women Who Built A Healthcare Empire


During a momentous time in nursing in the middle of the 20th Century, students attending the St. Vincent School of Nursing lived, worked, studied and even prayed under the guidance of Harriett Osborn, the first nurse in Oregon to receive a bachelor’s degree. As the Director of Education for the school, which became affiliated with the University of Portland, Harriett professionalized nursing, demanding perfection and patient-centered education. She ultimately produced the best nurses for three decades.

The students shared laughter, tears, frustrations and fears, creating a unique, lifelong bond. Proclaiming themselves “Ozzy’s Girls,” these women—along with the nuns who built and operated the first permanent hospital in Oregon—struggling against all odds: a pandemic, low funds, floods, wars, rampant disease and more.  

Ozzy’s Girls, told through the eyes of Dee Rennie, provides a glimpse of what it was like to train as a nurse during this golden era, and how these resilient women grew a simple hospital into a thriving medical center—all while being at the forefront of an explosion of medical advances. 

Their goal was simple: To serve others.




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