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Harriet Moidel

Professor of Nursing, Emerita

Los Angeles




Professor Harriet Martha Coston Moidel passed away April 11, 2006 from pneumonia.


Harriet Martha Coston Moidel was a nurse educator. She received a B.S. at UCLA in 1943, a R.N. diploma from Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing in 1947, and a M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1951. She taught at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville from 1949 to 1950, and at the UCLA School of Nursing from 1951 to 1979. Harriet Moidel was one of the founding faculty of the UCLA School of Nursing when Lulu Wolf Hassenplug was the first dean. Harriet Moidel served as assistant dean from 1970 to 1971. From 1976 to 1977, between the appointments of the second and third deans, Harriet Moidel and Donna Vredevoe shared the responsibilities of dean but with the titles of Associate Deans.


Harriet Coston’s interest in nursing began in her teenage years through a family friend with whom she spent time in the summer. However, a career in nursing was against her father’s wishes; therefore she graduated from UCLA in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in home economics and a teaching credential. After teaching a year of junior high school, Harriet knew that this was not destined to be her career and she enrolled in Johns Hopkins’ nursing diploma program to get her R.N. licensure in 1947.


In 1948, Harriet met Lulu Wolf Hassenplug who was recently appointed the founding dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. Dean Hassenplug advised Harriet to go to Vanderbilt School of Nursing, her alma mater, to teach for one year in a modern college baccalaureate program in preparation for a faculty position at UCLA. Harriet taught at Vanderbilt for a year and then enrolled at Teacher’s College, Columbia Graduate Nursing Program, completed her master’s degree, and returned to UCLA to accept a teaching position at the UCLA School of Nursing where she remained until her retirement in 1979. She married Mitchel Moidel in 1961.


Harriet published a book on medical surgical nursing, Nursing Care of the Patient with Medical-Surgical Disorders, which became a classic; her co-authors were three other great educators of the time: Margaret Kaufman, Elizabeth Giblin at the University of Washington and Gladys Sorenson at the University of Arizona. Harriet also published one of the early articles on “The Clinical Specialist as a Practitioner” in 1967. UCLA was at the forefront in the country in establishing the advanced practice degree.


One of the professors emeriti at UCLA, Dr. Donna ver Steeg, who knew Harriet, told me “She was a fine lady. Were she a man, I would have said an officer and a gentleman.”


Marie Cowan