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Summer 2003 | Volume 26, Number 3 | Faculty
Marilyn Housel Poysky

ALREADY A SUCCESSFUL nurse, Marilyn Housel Poysky joined the Seattle Pacific faculty because her friend Joan Cassell, an SPC nursing faculty member between 1966 and 1971, told her the school needed a clinical teacher for Spring Quarter 1967. Poysky agreed to fill in — and began nearly three decades of training future nurses. Even while working with junior and senior nursing students at Seattle Pacific, she maintained an active clinical practice at the University of Washington Medical Center, earning national certification as a clinical specialist in medical-surgical nursing.

In 27 years at Seattle Pacific — with a six-year break after her son’s birth — Poysky has guided hundreds of future nurses through the clinical component of their senior leadership course, taking them into a hospital’s acute-care setting. She has also taught medical-surgical nursing, and has been active on the committee that screens, admits and tracks students throughout the nursing program. And when the Seattle Pacific School of Health Sciences needed help preparing documentation for a national accrediting body, Poysky answered the call.

Taking her nursing skills on the road, Poysky served on short-term medical missions to Guinea, West Africa. She has also written chapters for a nursing textbook with Delmar Publishers due out in 2004 and is writing 60 monographs for another Delmar publication aimed at nursing students.

All this comes from a woman who first majored in Spanish as an undergraduate student, with plans to be a translator. Then a friend described her student-nursing courses. “In nursing, you have real-life experiences while studying,” says Poysky. “I wanted more action and to do something more concrete.”

Unexpectedly, her own health put an earlier end to her career than she planned. The first order in retirement, she says, is to finish and recover from chemotherapy treatment for cancer. After that, she and husband Frank plan to visit their 1-year-old grandson in Texas. “And,” she adds, “I hope to volunteer at the SPU School of Health Sciences.”

Q: Over the years, what was the most unexpected insight you gained into your field?
Poysky: When I had back trouble years ago, I suddenly recognized there is such a thing as “pain.” I said to myself, “Now I can understand the patient!” You have to listen to patients. They know.

Q: What’s one of your favorite things a student ever said to you?
Poysky: A colleague once spoke to a former student of mine who told her that she has always remembered something I said to her. I told the student she had great potential, and she never forgot that.

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From the President
Americans today are searching for a new tone for their lives. “We are talking here about another set of values — not the giddy sense of entitlement that emerges out of exuberant times,” says President Philip Eaton.

A Gift at Any Age
Young alumni are supporting The Campaign for SPU with the Young Alumni Endowment. They will provide scholarship support to students engaging the culture. [Campaign]

Like Grandfather, Like Grandson
On June 7, 80-year-old Sheldon Arnett finally received his bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific. His grandson, Jeremiah Johnson, earned his SPU bachelor’s degree the same day. [Campus]

Still Exploring
Missionary bush pilot Roald Amundsen ’41 founded Missionary Aviation and Repair Center (MARC) — becoming an explorer just like the famous Norwegian for whom he was named. [Alumni]

Second Wind
A marathoner, wife, mother and business alumna, Claudia Shannon came back after tough times. As a 45-year-old senior, she was on the SPU cross country team that ranked 14th in the nation. [Athletics]

My Response
After 25 years, Joyce Quiring Erickson, retiring professor of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, reflects on glossy brown chestnuts, home and the Promised Land.