College of Nursing Recipients
Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award
DOROTHY J. KLOFTA, NURS '59
Dorothy’s illustrious career included establishing the intensive care unit at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in a spot where veterans could see the sun — “to feel hopeful.” Which is exactly the feeling she inspired in her patients during her 57-year career there.
When Dorothy was VA surgical supervisor, she spent so much time recruiting nurses to handle patients who required specialized post-surgery care that she didn’t have much time to do anything else. After examining intensive care units at Pittsburgh hospitals, she returned to the VA and set up a new room that enabled health care professionals to provide specialized care to post-surgical veterans, a precursor to the facility’s first ICU. She then was named the VA’s first head nurse.
“My favorite part was interacting with patients and making sure they felt cared for,” Dorothy says. “I expected my nurses to take care of their patients physically but also to go above and beyond to make sure their rooms were clean and their families had what they needed.”
She also helped launch a program for training ward clerks and later worked in the VA’s surgical clinic and emergency room, expanding her range of practice to include enterostomal therapy and wound care, which she administered until her retirement in 2006.
Dorothy also established the Dorothy Klofta Scholarship, awarded annually to undergraduate and/or graduate nursing students. Eligible students are academically talented students with financial need who are from Wisconsin.