PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Health care professionals and former students and colleagues at Northern Maine Community College are mourning the loss of a longtime nurse and educator.
Betty Lou Baulch, who led the nursing department at NMCC for more than 12 years before her retirement in 1994, died on Aug. 10 at the age of 77.
Friends and family will celebrate her life at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Edmunds Conference Center on the NMCC campus in Presque Isle.
“Betty, a fiercely independent woman, was a true leader, fine clinician, intelligent and well-respected colleague, and an exemplary professional role model,” said Betty Kent-Conant, NMCC faculty emerita and retired chair of the nursing and allied health department. “The graduates who benefited from her instruction can be found in many of our health care facilities caring for those who are in need of nursing care.”
Baulch was a 1952 graduate of Houlton High School. She earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Bates College in 1957, in a five-year program that included two years of clinical experience in Boston hospitals. She additionally earned a master of education degree in 1980 from the University of Maine.
She began her employment at the then Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in 1968, teaching and providing clinical supervision to practical nursing students in Houlton. When the Houlton program was temporarily suspended in 1973, she moved to the Presque Isle campus.
It was during her tenure as chair of the nursing department that the associate degree nursing program was approved as a pilot program. Before that, the college had offered only a diploma-level program for practical nursing.
Baulch was presented the NMCC Director’s Award, forerunner of the President’s Award, partly as a result of her efforts in making the nursing program a reality. In 2008, she was named one of the four inaugural inductees to the NMCC Health Care Professionals Wall of Distinction.
While at NMCC, she also served on the Maine State Board of Nursing for more than 10 years, taking on the role of president three times, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing for eight years.
“Those of us who had the opportunity to work with Betty learned quickly that she had high expectations and was willing to help everyone reach and set high standards,” said NMCC President Timothy Crowley. “Betty was an outstanding leader, teacher, colleague and friend. We will miss her.”