Partial Transcript: Thank you. So to start...
Segment Synopsis: Mitzi Duxbury (MD) was born in New Jersey and raised in Cambria, WI. MD explains that her biological father was killed in the Labor Union Wars in Philadelphia. He was a steel worker when he was younger, and when he was older, he owned a business. Her mother was a homemaker. She was 18 months old when she moved to Cambria. She has four sisters, two of them were from after her mother remarried.
Keywords: Cambria; Labor Union Wars; New Jersey
Partial Transcript: And growing up was there anything in your background...
Segment Synopsis: MD says that there were few possible careers for women when she was growing up: a teacher, a nurse, a secretary or a homemaker. She always wanted to be a nurse. She thought you would learn a lot in nursing school. MD explains she read quite a bit about it.
Keywords: gender roles; teaching
Partial Transcript: So moving towards your life in Madison...
Segment Synopsis: She had just turned 17 when she graduated high school. She then worked as a nurse’s aide until the fall when she went to Madison General Hospital. MD explains they mainly took care of the old nuns. They also wrapped bandages and other things nurse’s aides would do today. MD explains the eight girls there had a good time and she enjoyed it. MD doesn’t remember what her favorite subject in high school was but probably English. She was very active in high school in a lot of clubs such as: photo club, band, glee club and she was a cheerleader. She was not in any nursing related clubs though.
Keywords: Nurse aide; high school
Partial Transcript: And after you left...
Segment Synopsis: She started at Madison General in the fall of 1949. MD explains she had been to Madison a lot for football games and stuff like that, so she was comfortable in the city. MD says the class was about 40 people. She explains that the first semester taking classes at the University, she learned women could not be in the marching band. There were no men in her class.
Keywords: football games; marching band
Partial Transcript: And did you live in the dorms?
Segment Synopsis: MD lived in Rest Harrow and McConnell Hall. She liked it. There were big rooms in the front of the building. There were a lot of rules, such as curfews. It changed a lot over the years. It was very social. MD remembers that they had a special box for your napkin at the hospital for meals. MD also remembers that one day a month, the director of nursing at the hospital would eat with them to check their manners. She remembers microbiology her first semester at the University of Wisconsin, as well as Anatomy and Physiology that she took at Madison General. They were also learning more housekeeping tasks such as making beds.
Keywords: Rest Harrow; curfews; manners; rules
Partial Transcript: Well before we get into more about your education...
Segment Synopsis: MD explains that they were a bit frightened about their monthly meal with the hospital director. She also remembers monthly formal teas at McConnell Hall. They wanted them to have culture. MD thought the food was good, and that they all gained weight.
Keywords: Hospital Director; formal tea
Partial Transcript: So what were your classes like?
Segment Synopsis: MD explains that most of the nursing classes were taught by the physicians who worked at the hospital. She says the classes were not difficult, but the volume of information was large. In regards to the lab skill classes, MD remembers dissecting a leg in Physiology. MD remembers they dissected the muscles to track the nerves and blood vessels. She remembers it smelled badly, but that it was interesting. She had Chemistry and Microbiology at the University. MD says the classes at the University were pretty much the same as those at Madison General. She thought it was a very good program. And when she went back for her B.S.N., most her credits transferred.MD wishes she had Organic Chemistry earlier and she liked the Public Health class.
Keywords: chemistry; dissection; lab skills; microbiology; public health
Partial Transcript: Do you remember any faculty that played an important role in your education?
Segment Synopsis: MD says Mrs. Allen. She also says the physicians played a large roll, but that she doesn’t remember a lot of them. When they were on the units, they were mostly with the head nurses that were watching them. She remembers that some nursing students dropped out along the way.
Keywords: head nurses; strict
Partial Transcript: Were there any resources available to nursing students...
Segment Synopsis: There may have been outside class resources, but she doesn’t remember any. She recalls that she was a good student and that it wasn’t too difficult for her. They mostly relied on each other. MD recalls private rooms that they could study after the first year. She would shut her door and have a silent study place. She remembers they worked very hard. She remembers Organic Chemistry being very challenging. She remembers the transition from high school to her Univeristy microbiology class was difficult.
Keywords: microbiology; organic chemistry; study skills
Partial Transcript: You mentioned earlier a bit about your experience on the units...
Segment Synopsis: MD remembers they eased them into practical experiences very gently. They had to work two night shifts a year. They started out giving bed baths to patients. They gave the patients a back rub before bed as well. MD doesn’t think she ever had stayed up all night before those night shifts, and that there were some night nurses there that always worked nights. She remembers being in the nursery. Ms. Joyce was the night nurse in the nursery, and she knew everything about the babies. MD notes that most of the nurses who permanently worked with one population got good at that area. MD thinks that is not the same today. She stresses the importance of observing others.
Keywords: back rubs; bedside manners; night shift; nursery
Partial Transcript: Can you talk about your relationship with patients at Madison General?
Segment Synopsis: MD remembers needing to be careful with the young men because they would be looking at the women. She was used to interacting with middle aged or older people from her hometown. MD explains the practical experience made her comfortable with people of all ages and that she likes old people and babies. Babies change so you have to study them to know their needs so you can meet them, so they are the most interesting group. And the older people are usually kind, and they aren’t so challenging. MD explains that you needed bedside manners for them to let you on. She notes that there were not the same divisions as there are now. MD explains that you treat everyone with dignity and take care of everyone.
Keywords: bedside manners; diversity; patient care
Partial Transcript: Do you have any other notable memories from your time at Madison General?
Segment Synopsis: She remembers when they graduated, they all jumped into a pool and ripped off their uniforms. She remembers the uniforms well, and that they stood out from the rest of hospital staff. MD mentions again that they had a very good time. She remembers their trip to Chicago at Cook County Hospital. They had pediatrics, psychology and communicable disease there. They had a curfew there. She had patients on the iron lung. She remembers directing mirrors so that the teenagers in the iron lung could see the World Series. She remembers the steam room for the babies with whooping cough. They would go downtown at night, and if they were going to miss their 10 pm curfew they would flag down a cop car and they would give them a ride back. She mentions that the Chicago police get along closely with nurses because they work together so closely. She also remembers the head nurse in the Psych unit got murdered. The pediatrics unit had to deal with anything a child had. They learned about classical theater and music there too. Some students were very scared to be in the city. There were people from all over there. She really enjoyed that experience. They didn’t work in the ER there, but they watched occasionally. : MD explains that she had visited Chicago often as her family used to live there so she already knew a bit about it. She was never a very fearful person. She thinks the people who were afraid missed out.
Keywords: Chicago; Cook County Hospital; communicable disease; curfew; pediatrics; psychology; rules; tuberculosis
Partial Transcript: Well after you graduated from Madison General...
Segment Synopsis: MD says she got married and had three children, got divorced and then went back to school to get her master’s in educational policy studies and her Ph.D. Education Administration here in Madison. MD explains she didn’t have that many options in graduate degrees. She explains that the only doctoral program for females was education. Law, medicine, sociology all had quotas, such as 6%, then you needed your bachelors in that area, so those areas were very competitive.
Keywords: Education; Gender roles
Partial Transcript: And what did you do after you got your Ph.D...
Segment Synopsis: MD taught for 1 year at the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing. Perinatal was coming up so she worked in that for 5 or 6 years. Then, she missed the academic world. So, she went to University of Minnesota and worked as an associate dean for the graduate nursing program. She then worked as the dean of Nursing at University of Illinois. She explains that the healthcare professions are centered in Chicago in the Univeristy of Illinois system and that it would have made more sense for University of Wisconsin to be centered like that, because there are more patients in larger cities such as Milwaukee. She came back to UW-Madison as a professor for a few years. MD says she’s not a good teacher because she is too impatient. She was much better in research and administration.
Keywords: Perinatal care; academia; hospital administration
Partial Transcript: Well what advice would you give future nursing students?
Segment Synopsis: MD says you must be patient and must grasp something before moving on. She doesn’t think she’s good at that. MD answers intelligence and compassion, as well as a solid background in nursing. She adds you must learn how to deal with difficult people. She has enjoyed her career in nursing. She says she likes big cities. She also notes that she’s 87, and that she is still in touch with some of her old classmates. She also notes that Madison General was held at high esteem.
Keywords: Intelligence; compassion
Partial Transcript: Before we talk a little bit off the recorder...
Segment Synopsis: MD notes that a while ago they had student nurses that helped older nurses. [Interviewer and MD talk about interviewer’s major after some confusion]. She notes that she may have taken a joint major between sociology and nursing. She explains she’s always been interested in sociology. She also notes that she started law school at the age of 70. MD explains that she had to settle a couple of estates, so she took all the tests and did well on them. She did almost a semester and realized that the method of teaching relied heavily on your peers and an extreme amount of reading. She was also having some health problems and couldn’t walk up Bascom hill. She notes different teaching styles. She just explains it wasn’t for her, but this political situation is interesting for her.
Keywords: Bascom Hill; Law; teaching styles