Obituary for Pat Donahue, Past President of AAHN


Mary Patricia “Pat” (Rohovsky) Donahue, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor Emeritus, 84, of Tiffin, died on May 16, 2023, at The Bird House – Hospice Home of Johnson County.

Private family services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed toward the M. Patricia Donahue Nursing Scholarship, The University of Iowa College of Nursing, The Bird House – Hospice Home of Johnson County, or the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Pat was born on March 19, 1939, in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Joseph and Mary (Rakocy) Rohovsky Jr.

Pat received her nursing degree from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1960, her BSN and MSN from The Ohio State University where she worked for fourteen years. She was a professor at the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa (1976-2006) where she received her doctorate in 1981 and was promoted to a full professor in 1993. She also served as the Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa. She initiated and oversaw the professional Masters in Nursing and Healthcare Practice Program (MNHP) before retiring in 2006. Pat was the Interim Baccalaureate Program Director at Metropolitan State University College of Nursing, St. Paul, MN (2007-2011) and then went on to become the Interim Head of the Nursing Program at Luther College, Decorah, IA (2011-2013).

She was a recipient of many awards and nationally, she is known for more than 100 articles, reviews, and books, most notably “Nursing: The Finest Art: An Illustrated History.” The American Journal of Nursing (AJN) awarded her the Book of the Year for “Nursing: The Finest Art: An Illustrated History” in 2010. At the University of Iowa, she received The Faculty Hancher-Finkbine Medallion (1993), The Distinguished Achievement Award – Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women (2006), and The Regents Award for Faculty Excellence (2004). In 1989 she was inducted as Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing.

Pat was a member of numerous organizations: Sigma Xi, the American Nurses Association, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau, the Iowa Nurses Association, the Johnson County Unit of the American Cancer Society, and the American Association for the History of Nursing, of which she was president from 1988 to 1990.

During her free time and later in her retirement years she enjoyed traveling, reading, ceramics, and gardening.

Pat is survived by her two children, Mark J. Donahue of Cedar Rapids, IA, Erin M. Donahue (William K. Herrmann) of Robbinsdale, MN, and brother Michael W. Rohovsky, PhD, DVM of Bonita Springs, FL.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Joseph Rohovsky Jr. and son John (Johnny) Donahue.

Online condolences and memories may be shared on Pat's Tribute Wall.