Muriel Poulin, Class of '42, is a nursing graduate of Catholic Univ., earned her Master's degree from the University of Colorado, and her doctorate from Columbia University in 1971. Her great knowledge and skill in the nursing field has led to consulting work for twelve graduate nursing programs around the country, and additional consulting work in eleven foreign countries. She has been a visiting professor at eleven universities. She was most recently Professor Emerita at Boston University, and President of Visiting Nurse Service of Southern Maine. Dr. Poulin resides in Springvale.

SHS Hall of Fame Profile: Muriel A Poulin


On Jan. 3, Sanford High School announced the formation of the Sanford High School Hall of Fame. Eleven SHS alumni will be inducted as inaugural members on June 3. All of the nominees are graduates from Sanford High, and made outstanding contributions in their field. This is the fourth in a series of feature articles about the inaugural members of the Sanford High School Hall of Fame.


SHS Hall of Fame Profile: Muriel A. Poulin
by Mike Higgins, Sanford News, p.1
April 6, 2000

SANFORD - After graduating from Sanford High School in 1942, Muriel Poulin embarked on a nursing career that has taken her around the world.

In addition to her distinguished career as a nurse, Poulin earned her doctorate in Nursing Administration and Educational Administration from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1971.

It is for her accomplishments in the fields of nursing and education that Muriel Poulin, R.N., EdD. has been selected to be an inaugural member of the Sanford High School Hall of Fame. Poulin is the oldest living member of the SHS Hall of Fame, and the only woman to be selected.

While she was at Sanford High School, Poulin said she "was torn between journalism and nursing." She exercised her journalistic abilities with her work on the school newspaper and the yearbook. She was also very active in the choral society.

After graduating from SHS, Poulin went on to graduate from the Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing in Boston, MA, then she earned a bachelor's degree from Catholic University in Washington D.C. in 1950.

While she was at Catholic University, Poulin worked at the D.C. General Hospital, eventually becoming the Head Nurse Clinical Supervisor.

In 1953, Poulin was approached to be a part of a two-year health mission to Syria administered by the Institute of International Education. Poulin calls her time in Syria, "A wonderful experience personally, but professionally, there was limited productivity."

Poulin says that a factor which limited the mission's productivity were the series of coups which changed the Syrian government five times during her stay in the country.

The first coup took place just two weeks after Poulin arrived in the country. "We thought we weren't going to be allowed to stay," says Poulin.

The new minister of health allowed the mission to stay however. During Poulin's time in Syria, there were four different health ministers, including one man who occupied the post on two separate occasions.

Eventually, with all of the upheaval, it proved impossible for the members of the health mission to accomplish anything. "With all of the changes we knew we wouldn't get anywhere, so we recommended that we shut down the project," Poulin says.

She returned to the United States in 1955, one year early.

After returning from Syria, Poulin went to work at the Massachusetts General Hospital as the coordinator of staff development.

In 1957, Poulin was once again asked to go abroad, this time to Costa Rica. She accepted, and she went to work as the assistant hospital administrator for nursing at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San Jose.

Poulin enjoyed her time in Costa Rica, calling it "a lovely country." While she was in Costa Rica, she traveled extensively through the area, visiting such countries as: Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Poulin returned home in 1959 to continue her studies at the University of Colorado.

After earning her master's degree in 1960, Poulin decided to take some time off and travel around the world.

Poulin spent all of 1961 traveling around the world with a friend from New Zealand. The trek took her through such countries as: Japan, Nepal, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, and all through Europe.

"(Traveling around the world) was the best thing I did in my life. It was tremendous," says Poulin. "It gave me an appreciation for the countries. I would advise anybody to do it."

After her around-the-world adventure, Poulin joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky as an assistant professor in 1962. She stayed at Kentucky until 1970, when she left to peruse her doctoral degree.

After earning her doctorate from Columbia University's Teachers College in 1971, Poulin became a professor at Boston University.

After 17 years as a full professor at BU, Poulin retired in 1989 as a professor emerita.

However, Poulin's retirement from Boston University did not spell the end of her teaching career.

In 1989, Poulin traveled to the University of Barcelona in Spain as a Fullbright Scholar. She was invited back to teach at the university, and she returned there as a visiting professor for the next five years.

In addition to her work in Barcelona, Poulin also has taught as a visiting professor in such places as: Mexico, Australia, and Newfoundland, Canada. She has also taught at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, and the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.

Poulin returned to Springvale where she served on the board of the Visiting Nurse Services for eight years, serving as president of the board from 1994-1998.

Poulin is also very active in local charity work. She was instrumental in establishing the Blanche M. Poulin Education Fund at Goodall Hospital, and the Poulin Memorial Fund at the Visiting Nurse Services. Both of these funds supply annual nursing scholarships to aspiring nursing students. Poulin also had a part in initiating the Senior College at the University of Maine center in Springvale.

In her spare time (when she can find it), Poulin still likes to travel. Recently she was in Samoa when she suffered a mishap. "I got too close to a sword dancer in Samoa," laughs Poulin. "I came home with seventeen stitches in my instep."

Poulin says that the trip to the Samoan hospital was an adventure in itself. "The guy who sewed me up wore a sarong and a flowered shirt," says Poulin.

Mishaps aside, Muriel Poulin still hasn't lost her desire for travel and adventure, she is planning to travel to New Zealand later this year.

Summing up her experiences, Poulin says, "I took a year off to go around the world, and I haven't stopped since." 

Photo Courtesy Dave Gagne, Sanford News


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