Roberta Busky Abrams, 1937-2009 Class of 1958, 59N
Remembering a Friend
By Kay Anderson, Class of ’59
Roberta was very well known and highly respected for her work in maternal and child health. Following graduation in 1959 and positions as a staff nurse, a head nurse and a nursing instructor, she went on to earn a master’s degree in administration/supervision at Fairfield University. She became an assistant professor of nursing at Ohio Wesleyan University and from there moved into nursing administration at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where she was director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Center from 1978 to 1986. In this position she planned and implemented reconstruction of the Women’s Hospital, developed an extensive network of patient education and support groups, co-chaired the development of the Women’s Center, and developed a program in perinatal nursing research with several published projects.
In 1986, Roberta became an associate administrator at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, leading one of three clinical nursing divisions until her retirement in 1993. Among her many accomplishments were working as part of the leadership team to transform nursing service in the hospital, developing a framework for collaborative practice and securing several grants for improvements in client care, including a grant to create a Teen Health Clinic in an urban middle school.
Upon retirement from Henry Ford Hospital, Roberta continued to share her knowledge as a consultant in women’s and child health, an instructor at Madonna University, and a clinical director responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive care program for women and children at Arcadia Health Care. Through all these years, Roberta earned many honors and several nursing certifications, published articles and spoke at many national events.
She held leadership positions within state and national organizations, including roles in both the Ohio and Michigan chapters of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. She was a member of the Greater Detroit Organization of Nursing Executives as well as Lamaze International and Sigma Theta Tau International.
Most recently, Roberta volunteered as a member of the Coalition of Michigan Organizations for Nurses, serving as president and working with the state chief nurse executive. For her work with this organization, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from her peers for outstanding service and support of nursing in Michigan.
Roberta was the driving force keeping the class of ’58, ’59N close through the years. As families were raised, Bobbie—as she was known to her classmates—organized a mini-reunion. That led to special get-togethers every one to two years. These reunions kept everyone in close touch and helped them be a support group for each other as health issues and other difficult situations occurred. For that, the class will always be grateful.
Roberta lived her life well, always using her extensive knowledge and kind heart to help others. She truly made a difference for the better in the lives of her friends, as well as all those with whom she worked and served in her nursing career.
Multimedia in this Issue:
View a slideshow of the event.
Nursing and medical school students partner to learn teamwork
View the video.
URMC First in Nation to Implant Heart Failure Device
Learn more about the device.