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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Nursing Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award


NURS '74

Working as a candy striper at Little Company of Mary Hospital during her high school days in Chicago, Carol didn’t exactly have the job responsibilities of hospital TV dramas.

But even performing those everyday tasks was enough to inspire her to the profession.

“Even though my role consisted only of delivering mail to patients, refilling water pitchers, and transporting patients to tests and procedures, I knew then I wanted to be a nurse!” she says.

Today, Carol is an internationally recognized expert and consultant on geriatric and palliative care in community and long-term care settings. She specializes in research and education related to care for patients with advanced dementia.

A registered nurse with nearly four decades of experience in various staff, management, education and consultant positions, Carol is co-director of the Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia program at Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix and an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Her work has taken her overseas to Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East for training sessions. She has written numerous articles, book chapters and abstracts on a variety of health care matters related to gerontology, end-of-life care, pain and dementia care in hospice, home health, and long-term care settings.

She is a fellow of palliative care nursing with the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association; a transcultural nursing scholar with the Transcultural Nursing Society; and on the editorial board for the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing.

Her long-term goal is to advocate for policies and research “to assure that the comfort of those most vulnerable adults — persons with dementia — have their care needs met along the trajectory of illness and until death. Time is short, and the need is great.”

Get to Know: Dr. Carol Olson Long

Hometown:  Chicago 

Favorite book: The Four Agreements by Don Miquel Ruiz

Someone past or present she’d like to have dinner with: Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma

In grade school Carol knew she wanted to be in a “caring” profession. 

Most influential in Carol’s life: Her father.  “His unconditional love and advice to strive for and be the best that I could be provided tremendous inspiration and direction,” she says.