Allen College

Janice (Wilson) Ozias

Allen Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Class of 1968

Currently retired from health care but volunteer with a high-tech startup company

Past Job titles:

  • Retired as Director, Texas Diabetes Council/Program, Texas Dept. State Health Services (2001-2005)
  • My nursing career was 24 years in School Health with 21 years as program supervisor in Austin public schools (91 campuses)
  • Two years as the medical underwriter for Texas Healthy Kids, the children’s health insurance public-private partnership startup

Why did you choose to pursue your education at Allen?
“The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.” I was born at Allen (Dr. Seibert)! Allen was the only option my parents knew, admired, and could afford. My mother Elsie Vaupel Wilson and my aunt Fern Wilson Andrews were Allen classmates in the first section 1948 class.

Accomplishments, awards, etc.
Accomplishments were really opportunities I was fortunate to see. I completed my BSN in Texas in 1971. Then while being a wife, mom, and working full-time, I finished an MA in Special Education in 1975 and PhD in Health Education in 1991. My dissertation research analyzed parents’ health beliefs as they influenced follow-through on school nurses’ spinal (scoliosis) screening referrals.

School health opened many doors: I joined multidisciplinary groups, e.g. American School Health Association (ASHA) which led to consulting and editing health education textbooks for grades K-8 and college courses. I co-edited School Health Alert publications (1997-2014).

I was honored as an ASHA Fellow (1984) and served as chair of the US Pharmacopeia task force on Children and Medicines (1995-99).

How did Allen help prepare you for your career?
Like classic diploma programs, Allen graduates had self-confidence through the diverse experiences and knowing “why” not just “how” to deliver specific nursing skills/ actions. Allen and State College of Iowa (now UNI) courses allowed me to be the first University of Texas nursing student to challenge and get credit hours by exam for Human Physiology in addition to our SCI college hours.

What was your first job out of nursing school?
I had no “plan”, but my dad saw the RN opening at the Iowa Braille & Sight-Saving School in Vinton, IA. I was a young, fresh, and the sole RN who supervised LVNs and aides for 24/7 service and a whole building, now labeled “the old infirmary.” Ta-da! I was on the path of school health with special needs kids.

Do you have any advice for current Allen College students?
Never stop learning. I challenged Dorothea Orem’s belief that her Theory of Self Care did not apply to children. Our school nurse services were the first known to demonstrate that children can and need to learn developmentally appropriate health decisions and self-care skills.

Any interests or hobbies?
Civic service including Leadership Austin events. I volunteer in my granddaughter’s elementary school. For fun, I enjoy Formula 1 races and live music or plays in Austin.