Drawn to a career in nursing at a very young age, Barbara J. Petree was greatly inspired by her grandmother, Irene Mclaughlin, who was a Red Cross nurse during World War II. She embarked on her career in 1956 after earning a nursing diploma from the Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in San Francisco, California, and being certified as a registered nurse in the state of California. Serving as a staff nurse for the Children’s Hospital from 1956 to 1961, Ms. Petree joined the Stanford University Medical Center as a staff nurse in 1961, rising to become head nurse in 1972. That same year, she also started work as a nurse educator for an outreach program run by Stanford University and as a private perinatal consultant.
Concurrent to her work at Stanford, Ms. Petree furthered her studies in nursing and obtained a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from the University of the Redlands in 1976 and 1979, respectively, as well as certification in electronic fetal monitoring. From 1976 to 1986, she served the Stanford University Medical Center as the nursing coordinator for the clinical delivery room before becoming the senior staff nurse for the obstetrics unit in 1989, a role she remains in to this day. She additionally became the senior staff nurse for labor and delivery, antepartum, and high risk obstetrics with Stanford University in 1994. Having given numerous presentations on clinical nursing over the years, Ms. Petree holds membership in the Association of Women, Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
Incredibly proud of the work she has done in management and teaching positions, Ms. Petree finds it immensely gratifying to watch her students develop as they progress through their education. She notes the importance of using your intuition and looking at situations from all angles to put together the whole picture. This attention to detail is highly important when it comes to preventing problems during labor and birth. For her excellence, Ms. Petree was notably presented with the North California Nurse of the Year Award by the Association of Women, Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses in 1986.