Petkauskas, Mary Rita, 1917-2005

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Mary Rita Petkauskas was born in 1917 in Shirley, MA, to Peter J. Petkauskas and Mary Belshunas, recent immigrants from Lithuania. Her career as a nurse was inspired by two childhood experiences with illness: her father died in 1926 after a year-long struggle with pneumonia, and she herself was hospitalized for two years with tuberculosis, from 1930 to 1932. Petkauskas received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Boston College in 1953, and her masters degree from Columbia University in 1957. She also studied in several other certificate and continuing education programs, including at the Clinton Hospital School of Nursing, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, and Simmons College. Her primary focus was in public health and maternity nursing. She worked in a variety of clinical settings, and also taught at Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts Memorial Hospital (now part of Boston University), and Boston College. At Boston College, she was hired to implement a new masters program in Maternal and Child Health. She helped found similar programs at Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett, MA, Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, MA, and the Lynn Hospital School of Nursing. She retired in 1980 to care for her mother, who passed away in 1983. After retirement, she shifted her attention to elder care, and was appointed to the board of the Council on Aging in Berlin, MA. In this position, she expanded and solidified public health care initiatives for seniors in the area. Petkauskas died on April 27, 2005.
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creatorOf Mary Rita Petkauskas Papers Boston College. John J. Burns Library
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts MA US
Catholic universities and colleges
Geriatric nursing
Maternity care
Nursing schools


Birth 1917

Death 2005-04-27

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Ark ID: w65x2x7r

SNAC ID: 54516961