Experiencing her first surgery at 13 years old, Carolyn A. Miller got her first glimpse of nursing at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She began her professional career as a staff nurse at the hospital in 1959, remaining in this role for three years before instructing and supervising practical nursing at the university from 1962 to 1964. She then transferred to Cuttington University College in Suakoko, Liberia, where she instructed and supervised Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students from 1966 to 1969 and chaired the Division of Nursing from 1971 to 1976. Following this, Ms. Miller served the Frontier Nursing Service in Hyden, Kentucky, as coordinator of midwifery education from 1977 to 1979, and Phebe Hospital in Suakoko as founder, instructor and supervisor of the midwifery education department from 1966 to 1969, supervisor of the midwifery clinic and inpatient department of obstetrics from 1966 to 1969 and founder of the faculty of nurse midwifery educational program from 1984 to 1990. She is currently on the clinical staff at the Maternal Health Center in Bettendorf, Iowa, as a certified nurse midwife since 1990.
In addition to this tenure, Ms. Miller was a volunteer faculty member at the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington from 1978 to 1979. She also instructed continuing nursing education at the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa from 1982 to 1984. The highlight of Ms. Miller’s career was working in Liberia over the years, and she enjoyed it because of all the people that she encountered.
Prior to the start of her career, Ms. Miller graduated with a diploma from the Lutheran Hospital School for Nurses in Moline, Illinois, in 1959. She pursued a formal education at the University of Iowa, earning a BSN in 1962. After becoming a state certified midwife at Elsie Inglis Maternity Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1966, she returned to her alma mater to receive a Master of Arts in nursing of children in 1971. She went on to become a certified nurse midwife through Booth Maternity Hospital in Philadelphia in 1977. Additionally, Ms. Miller is a registered nurse in the State of Iowa.
Active in her community, Ms. Miller was a missionary-in-residence at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Chicago in 1990 and a member of the Synod Global Mission Committee of Southeast Iowa from 1990 to 1997. She has also volunteered with the Southeast Iowa Synod and Global Health Ministries in Minneapolis since 1993. Ms. Miller was further involved with the Phebe Connection Project in Liberia.
Affiliated with the American College of Nurse Midwifery and Sigma Theta Tau, Ms. Miller is the recipient of numerous honors and accolades related in her field. She was named a professional nurse trainee by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1969 and a Knight Commander of the Liberian Humaine Order of African Redemption by the president of Liberia, William Tolbert Jr., in 1976. Ms. Miller was also named a Distinguished Alumnus of the Lutheran Hospital School for Nurses in 1990 and given the Gratitude for Outstanding Service Award by the Cuttington College board of directors in Baltimore in 1994.
The factors or attributes that Ms. Miller feel have played a role in her success is her faith in God. She is used to working hard and having desire to work hard, and also attributes her love, compassion and passion for helping others. What Ms. Miller has learned over the course of her career that has most benefited her in her professional growth is that people are diverse and have various cultures and values that they live by, which was evident in her travels as a practicing nurse in Liberia, a midwifery student in Scotland and a midwifery practitioner back in the United States.