summary from Charting Idaho Nursing History, Randall Hudspeth and Verlend D. Kaiser, 2009

Marie Osborn, B.S.N., A.P.R.N., F.N.P.

Marie graduated from high school in Muncie, Indiana, and then attended Ball State University, Ball Memorial Hospital School of Nursing where she received her BSN in 1953. Marie later attended University of Washington, Harborview where she earned a certificate as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. In 1976 she attended University of Utah earning a second certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Over the years Marie has been very active in nursing professional associations including American Nurses Association, Idaho Nurses Association, Nurse Practitioners of Idaho, Idaho Public Health Association, Idaho Primary Care Association, Idaho Rural Health Coalition and others. She has served as a Deputy Coroner and Coroner for Custer County. She served as Administrator for the Salmon River Emergency Clinic for 25 years besides raising a family. She has received numerous recognitions and honors for her contributions in health care. Elizabeth Stubbs wrote in March 2004, Women Making History:

Standing about five feet tall with graying hair, Marie Osborn is a powerhouse of quiet determination, committed to helping others, since graduating from college with a degree in nursing in 1953.

In the early 1960s, Marie and her family began vacationing in central Idaho's remote Stanley Basin country where there were no medical services, not even an ambulance. Residents routinely drove the one and one-half to two and one-half hours to Ketchum, Sun Valley, or Hailey for their medical needs. As a result, Marie soon found herself called upon to help her neighbors in routine medical needs as well as in emergency situations. In one car accident that involved four seriously injured teenagers, it took two and one-half hours for an ambulance to respond from Hailey. At the time, first aid and stabilization were handled by the Forest Service Department. This was the galvanizing incident, for Marie felt that it could have been her kids, or kids of her friends in the same dire circumstances.

Marie was determined that the area should have a clinic and an ambulance. Although the mayor of Stanley had been a wartime medic, he did not want to be the main part of the program Marie proposed, but he did support the concept. At that time, Stanley and the surrounding area had a year-round population of about 100 residents. In the summer, this small population base would swell to over 100,000 visitors, workers, and seasonal residents. With the help of the Idaho Hospital Association, Marie was finally able to team up with two doctors in Hailey who agreed to be her preceptors.

Initially, Marie was re-oriented into various areas of nursing through the cooperation of St. Luke's Hospital. In the winter of 1972 she attended a program at the University of Washington, Harborview, in Seattle, Washington, to obtain certification as an emergency nurse practitioner. This was followed by an extensive preceptorship at Saint Alphonsus’ recently opened regional medical center.

By June of 1972, the clinic in Stanley was opened with Marie as its nurse practitioner, the first practicing nurse practitioner in the State of Idaho in this type of practice setting. Her license number was NP-2, and remains to this day. It became apparent to the Board of Nursing and to Marie that to really provide the care needed by the valley residents she needed more training. In the fall of 1974, she began the family nurse practitioner program at the University of Utah. Although the clinic quickly became a reality, many of the local residents initially felt that it existed for tourists only. It was but a short time until she was asked to provide care on a year-round basis.

Initially, the clinic was housed in an old, three-room house, donated for use by chairman of the newly elected Board of Directors. In the winter, it was shared with local schoolteacher. The kitchen served as the exam room by day. This arrangement proved especially interesting for the teacher when the kitchen had to become a temporary morgue. Marie was the laboratory technician, growing her own cultures. She had to monitor all Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for the clinic and process insurance claims and other paperwork. Eventually, a receptionist was hired to assist answering the phone and handling clerical duties.

Legislation was later enacted creating hospital districts, allowing the clinic to operate using money collected through property taxes. Marie also worked to have Stanley declared a "manpower shortage area," since the mountain town was unable to attract a doctor willing to live there year-round. This would give the clinic the ability to bill Medicare, which normally didn't recognize the value of nurse practitioners working independently of doctors.

As the need for the clinic was realized in the community, more people came with help. One man donated a CB radio for Marie's car, the local Armada Hotel had an emergency contact system installed, and an anonymous donor paid to have line installed in Marie's home. Marie's practice was quite diverse. Beyond usual colds, earaches, and pneumonias, she may treat poison ivy, removing fish hooks, heart attacks, strokes, emergency labor and delivery and injuries from skiing and snowmobiling automobile accidents, and falls while hiking . . . the list goes on.

She trained local residents to be volunteer emergency medical technicians with the help of Boise State University. The Robert Wood Foundation helped fund the current EMS radio system. A medical support squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base was used to fly injured patients to Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise in the years before Life Flight.

A women's health center was established and patients received preventive care and attended childbirth education classes. Marie's humor was evident in the a poster hanging above the exam table proudly exclaimed, ''I'm so happy here I could just SHIT!" Even the "Bluebirds" (or Snowbirds as some refer to seasonal inhabitants) returned year after year for the caring and personal service Marie provided.

Marie "retired" in 1999. As one of Marie's volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians, Teresa Lipus, describes, ... "Hundreds of people came from all over the state, and beyond, to wish her well and to express their gratitude."

Marie would like to be remembered for proving that a nurse practitioner can do what she did, and do it well. However, she also makes it clear that she could not have done it alone and is grateful for the community support and the volunteers who also acted on "the obligation to respond when an emergency happens."

Marie has a daughter who is a nurse and who also hopes to return to Stanley to continue her mother’s work. With few retirement benefits of her own, Marie was unable to retire full time, going to work at Basin Community Health Center in Idaho City and Gem Family Practice and continues to work with Ashley Davis, M.D. at Davis Family Medicine in Boise.