In April 2012, the university lost one of its dear nursing alumni… Capt. Margaret Cathlene Donoghue NC, USN, ’54 BSN. Anyone who knew “Maggie” would tell you she was larger than life. Donoghue stood six feet tall and projected herself in a way that demanded attention. Her commanding presence was integral to who she was professionally and personally.
Her tough outer shell was softened by her heart of gold. In her role as director of nursing for several naval hospitals, Donoghue was a teacher and leader. She was concerned for the growth and development of the nurses, hospital corpsmen and others in her charge. There are many nurses around the world who would remember her for giving them the nudge to further their education and pursue a professional degree.
Whether in her role of a patient, provider, or administrator, Donoghue would offer others encouragement and advice. Even when she broke her hip and was convalescing at home, she took the opportunity to encourage her home health provider to return to school.
As an officer Donoghue was an influential member of the Navy Nurse Corps. She always had an eye to the future where it pertained to nursing and health care, particularly in how the role of nurses was evolving and developing. She helped shape personnel policies and was influential in directing how the Navy Nurse Corps evolved as a professional organization. Donoghue identified a need and advocated for the development of the nurse practitioner in adult care as part of the Navy’s nursing program.
As an administrator Donoghue spoke with the patients directly and was involved with the nursing staff. Her management style took her directly into the patient care areas where she interacted with patients and all levels of hospital/clinic staff. It was clear that she was a true advocate for high quality nursing care.
Her career spanned 41 years. The last 28 of which were served with the U.S. Navy. After 12 duty stations all over the country and overseas, Donoghue retired from the Naval Hospital in San Diego in 1986 and continued to live in California. She was an avid sports fan and an accomplished tennis player and golfer.
A native Texan, Donoghue came home one last time for interment at Ft. Sam Houston. Friends from across the country gathered in San Antonio for the services. Afterwards, Donoghue’s friends congregated at the Brackenridge Villa for lunch and a celebration of her life.
Donoghue’s friends will tell you that anyone who knew her benefitted from her generous and giving spirit; that generosity has continued at UIW. Her estate has provided over $600,000 to establish The Capt. Margaret C. Donoghue, NC, USN Nursing Scholarship Endowment. The endowment will provide scholarships to UIW nursing majors seeking undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees in nursing.
Donoghue’s passion for nursing and concern for the betterment of others was indeed larger than life. Although she is no longer with us, through her legacy at Incarnate Word, she will continue to encourage and provide for the growth and development of future generations in nursing.