Patricia Clare Sullivan Endowed Nursing Scholarship

Patricia Clare SullivanThank you for your interest in supporting the Patricia Clare Sullivan Endowed Nursing Scholarship at Mercy College of Health Sciences. 

To honor Patricia Clare’s legacy of both her service to health care and the important role she played in nursing education, the Patricia Clare Sullivan Endowed Nursing Scholarship was established in 2009.  The scholarship is awarded to students studying nursing at Mercy College of Health Sciences who have a demonstrated financial need.

“I am honored to have this scholarship established in my name.  We need nurses to be taught the values of human life and the value of humanity.   It is vital we do not lose the significance of the human touch and the importance of establishing rapport when it comes to caring for our patients.  Each patient must be treated as an individual,” said Sullivan.  “I feel confident the nursing education at Mercy College gives our future nurses these important tools.”

To contribute, please visit the Mercy Foundation page for the Sullivan Endowed Scholarship or use the button below: 

Give to the Patricia Clare Sullivan  Endowed Fund


About Patricia Clare Sullivan:

From her early beginnings - to her decision to join the Sisters of Mercy - to the young nursing students she taught at Mercy School of Nursing - to the leadership she provided as president of Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, Patricia Clare was always “hands on.” She understood what it meant to actively put her faith into action, working side-by-side her colleagues and the community, to provide accessible, quality health care to all with compassion.  Patricia Clare’s mantra was: “Listen to what God is saying, respond to His call and love all as demonstrated through your actions.”

As the youngest of four children, Patricia Clare was the first in her family to be born in a hospital, which may have foreshadowed her long and storied health care career. Her father served in World War I and, upon his return, served as the county clerk in Beatrice, Nebraska.  His involvement in county politics and his desire to serve left a lasting impression on a young Patricia Clare.

After high school graduation, Patricia Clare made the prayerful decision to join the Sisters of Mercy.  She was profoundly touched by their mission of caring for the poor, sick and uneducated.   Equipped with a nursing degree, Patricia Clare would serve numerous communities in Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Iowa and Massachusetts.

The majority of her career would be spent at Mercy – Des Moines where she would serve as an instructor at the (then) Mercy School of Nursing; as the director of the School of Nursing; as a pediatrics’ nursing supervisor at the hospital; and finally, as president of Mercy from 1977-1993.

During her tenure as president, Patricia Clare would oversee a period of tremendous growth for the hospital and its Mission affiliates.  “We felt it was important to provide care from the womb to the tomb,” recalled Sullivan.  As a result programs such as House of Mercy, hospice services, respite care for families caring for older adults, and adult day care services were developed and implemented within the community. 

Mercy hospital also grew and was regarded as a treasured community resource. Plans for the East Tower were formulated and the Ruan Neurology Center was established.  One of the first pediatric heart transplants was performed.  “This was a huge undertaking involving many dedicated health care professionals; and, it was also a huge success.  From this experience we developed the Yucatan, Mexico outreach program where teams of Mercy cardiology professionals travel to provide care to children with many of them coming to Mercy for surgery,” said Sullivan.

Even in the midst of heading one of the largest businesses in Iowa, Patricia Clare was well-known for walking the halls of Mercy listening and intuitively sensing the needs of the individuals being served.  It was not uncommon for her to sit with someone or bring them to her office offering encouragement and support. “We are here in service.  We are in God’s house, and I tried to give the best care and provide comfort.  This was  God working through me, “ shared Sullivan.