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Nursing Professor Margaret Sovie was known for her fearlessness, outspoken manner and her strong commitment to mentoring and patient care services.

Sovie, a nationally recognized figure in the nursing field, died of pulmonary fibrosis at her home on Friday, August 16. Her friends and colleagues continue to remember her for the work she did and the dedication she showed to nursing.

Sovie -- who was 69 years old when she died -- began her career at Penn in 1988 and served as both the chief nursing officer and associate dean of nursing practice at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"She was intellectually fearless and passionate and had advocacy on behalf of nurses," Nursing Dean Afaf Meleis recalled.

Sovie did not just have visions for improving health care at Penn, but also participated in the Magnet Hospital study, a groundbreaking national research project.

The study -- conducted in the early 1980s during a nursing shortage -- identified the factors that attracted and retained nurses at specially selected hospitals included in the study.

Additionally, Sovie researched the effects that finance, managed care and policy had on the restructuring of nursing services in different teaching hospitals.

"She was very visionary and insightful," said Foundational Sciences and Health Systems Division Chairwoman Anne Keane. "She was aware of the effects of this restructuring on patient care outcomes. This was an extremely important contribution that she made to nursing services nationally."

But above all else, Keane remembers Sovie for her willingness to tackle any issue that came her way.

"She was a fearless nursing advocate," she said. "There were no sacred cows for Marg."

Furthermore, Meleis added that Sovie's voice encouraged others to take a stand on controversial issues.

"She is remembered as a person who says it as it is, who challenges others and is not afraid to be critical and inspires others to be equally critical thinkers about issues," she said.

In 1996, Sovie decided to begin working at the School of Nursing full time, where she already held the title of Jane Delano professor of nursing and health care administration.

In addition to all the titles Sovie held at Penn, she was also a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and a nurse practitioner at the Nursing School's health annex.

"People here and around the country are going to miss her colleagueship and her leadership," said Maureen McCausland, chief nursing executive for the Penn Health System.

"I think she moved [HUP] to a new level -- she helped implement a career advancement program for clinical nurses and created the nursing excellence award," McCausland, an associate nursing dean, added.

And even in her illness, coworkers said Sovie remained an inspiration, recalling the way she handled the deadly disease with which she was stricken.

"She fought it, she lived with it and she was really a model in terms of having a disease and being productive," Meleis said.

The devoted nurse practitioner was so passionate about her profession that even after being diagnosed with the fatal lung disease and having only a few months left to live, she continued to come to work.

"She was tireless. She had oxygen tanks in her office to restore her for the day," Keane recalled.

At the time of her death, Sovie was waiting for a lung transplant that might have extended her life.

Keane remembers Sovie saying only a few months ago, "I would rather wait for my new lung than sit around waiting to die."

Unfortunately for Sovie, her loved ones and her community, the lung transplant did not come in time.

A private burial was held in Sovie's honor in addition to public viewings in both Philadelphia and upstate New York.

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