Virginia Ohlson grew up in Albany Park and remembered fondly listening to her aunt tell stories about her job as a nurse. One of the greatest influences on Virginia Ohlson's career choice was Ruth Nordlund, friend of the Ohlson family and public health nurse. Virginia was inspired by Nordlund who provided care for people in their homes and helped patients’ families learn how to care for them. She decided that was what she also wanted to do. Virginia Ohlson entered Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing in 1934 after her high school years at North Park Academy and a year at North Park College. When Ohlson graduated in 1937, she worked a year at Swedish Covenant Hospital in the operating room before being hired by the Evanston Department of Health.
Photographic Print, 5” x 3”.
In 1955, she earned her MSN from the University of Chicago, where she taught from 1956 to 1960. While completing her doctorate degree at the University of Chicago, Ohlson was named Associate Professor and Director of Public Health Nursing at University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1971, Ohlson was appointed Interim Dean of the UIC College of Nursing where she founded The Office of Global Health Leadership (GHLO). She also played a pivotal role in making the college the first WHO Collaborating Center for Primary Health Care in 1986.
April 10, 2010, marked the passing of the extraordinary personage Dr. Virginia Ohlson, PhD, RN. She died at the age of 95 after a life filled with amazing accomplishments.
Virginia Ohlson, O. T. Roberg, et. al. Chicago. 
Photographic Print, 11” x 8.5”.
Courtesy of Ted Roberg
The exhibit Tradition of Care: School of Nursing – Swedish Covenant Hospital to North Park University traces the history of nursing education using photographs, artifacts, and ephemera from the North Park and Covenant collections along with items on loan from friends of the nursing programs. It is on display in the lower level of Brandel Library throughout the summer and fall of 2011.