Partial Transcript: So just describe some of your background for me...
Segment Synopsis: She grew up on multiple farms having moved around much of Southern Wisconsin in her youth. She describes her life on a dairy farm, and now still runs a corn and bean farm with her family. She had two aunts who were nurses who were always family favorites. She remembers their occupations, one as a private duty nurse and the other having engaged more in nursing programs. She did not get to see any of their activities, but she found it interesting in their descriptions.
Keywords: Southern Wisconsin; farming
Partial Transcript: so what was your perception of nursing school...
Segment Synopsis: She knew one of her high school classmates who had gone to Madison General and liked it, so through that recommendation, combined with her degree at UW Madison in Chemistry, she decided to go into medicine. She did not want to pursue a physician route, so nursing seemed her best path. She never regretted going. She graduated high school in 1943, and graduated from nursing training in 1949.
Keywords: chemistry; healthcare; medicine
Partial Transcript: And what were your first impressions...
Segment Synopsis: She had been there before so knew it fairly well, felt that Madison was up and coming. She thought it would be a nice place to go to school. She went several times when she was a young girl, and when she lived at Black Earth (closer to Madison), she would go to Vilas Park with her family as she described the times as being in the "deep depression".
Keywords: Black Earth; The Great Depression; Vilas Park
Partial Transcript: And how large was your class size?
Segment Synopsis: She doesn't remember very well, but between 15 and 17. They all knew each other very well. Living with them in Rest Harrow, the dorm adjacent to McConnell Hall. She describes it as a big house remodeled for students with three floors which was a good place to become friends. Their housemother Ms. Sidle would watch over the students, not allowing visitors in the dorms. Then they were moved to McConnell Hall, which at the time was overcrowded. Some students were then moved to the hospital annex for about a year, so 4 or 5 of them lived with other female interns. Some girls played bridge, there was an annual dance which they enjoyed. Eunice was engaged to her husband to be at the time, so she and her friends spent time with his circle
Keywords: McConnell Hall; Rest Harrow; dormitories; friendship
Partial Transcript: So kind of moving toward your training aspect of school...
Segment Synopsis: When she and the other students first went, it was mostly everyday nursing duties (charting, blood pressure, accuracy, etc.). At first, they were only allowed to take care of flowers which were in patients' rooms. Her first real job including cleaning beds. She describes a story of her cleaning a bed which was then identified as one just occupied by a patient with a contagious disease. She recommended they put the bed outside in the sun, and she was allowed to do so by her supervisors. They had the main nurse (couldn't remember the title), but said that that teacher taught them well. That teacher taught them how to do the basics of nursing and were told that their hair had to meet certain criteria. This teacher also brought them through harder cases such as patients with syphilis and other contagious diseases preventing them from being "spooked". She describes an instanced where she got "spooked" while in OB. She also described her experience in surgery, where they would get the chance to work with one or two doctors, a resident, and many interns. She describes an instance where she had an unfortunate encounter with a doctor. While she was a student they were all supposed to see autopsies. She had a very unfortunate experience with this, as a patient she had taken care of the night before was the lady she had to view under the autopsy. She also worked a turn in pediatrics, but this had the instance of being "spooked" with them as some of them were very sick as well with their lives ahead of them. She remembers "having to do it three times before she remembered" something. She touches back on living in the annex, and how sometimes visitors would come into their space surprisingly. She also recalls that the nursing students were not supposed to work at the time, but as a student she felt she had a very limited budget. To amend this, she decided to become a photograph colorist without telling the school. When servicemen would come with their ribbons, she remembered they needed to have the colors on the right place. She also describes how when her dad died during her nurses training, the nursing school stopped classes until she came back. No students went to class for over a week and stopped class for everyone. She described that as a very generous notion.
Keywords: bed baths; nursing duties; technical training
Partial Transcript: Were there any faculty members...
Segment Synopsis: She and many of the other students greatly enjoyed a professor as she was both intelligent and had a great way of teaching the material to the students. On the other end, there was a teacher whom the students did not feel as close to. She came back for some events after they had all graduated. The head of the nurses was Ms. Collings, who doled out rules and regulations.
Keywords: Rules; professors
Partial Transcript: The one thing about the dining...
Segment Synopsis: When she and her small group of cohorts lived in the hospital annex, they had the kitchen only two floors down which they shared with the residents and interns. She felt this was very special as a time to interact with others. The head of the nursing crew was Ms. Evans who they always respected as a pleasant and authoritative figure. She also tells of how they got close with the cleaning crews around the hospital.
Keywords: food; kitchen; meals
Partial Transcript: Could you describe any...
Segment Synopsis: She pointed out the capping ceremony and the different aspects of what made that significant. She describes the cadet nurses program as well, where nurses received a stipend of around 18 dollars a month.
Keywords: capping ceremonies; nurse's caps; rituals; stipend
Partial Transcript: tell me a little bit about your career in nursing after you graduated
Segment Synopsis: She was engaged to be married when she graduated, and she already had a job in Dodgeville at St. Joseph's hospital. She had some of the best scores of her class and received a job application, but she refused it due to her priorities. Instead, she kept her job at St. Joseph's in OB, then on to surgery. She also did floor duty and worked with the nuns. She later became a nursing director in the hospital. In her community, she also took a position as health officer.
Keywords: Dodgeville, WI; health officer; surgical nursing
Partial Transcript: What were some of your most memorable moments as a nurse?
Segment Synopsis: She greatly appreciated the gratitude of her patients, and although she felt that she did not have a larger world impact, she felt that she played an important role in the lives of her community peers and her family.
Keywords: community; gratitude; impact
Partial Transcript: And what advice would you give to nursing students now...
Segment Synopsis: Most students think nursing is a job for local work, and that it certainly has its rewards. She would advise them to keep their minds open as several former nurses that she has met have gone on to become physicians. If they have ideas that they might specialize then she thinks that would be a good idea.
Keywords: rewarding; specialization
Partial Transcript: What do you miss most about being at Madison General?
Segment Synopsis: She recalls a time visiting a relative there and the importance of patient care and the high quality of care they provided. She was happy to be an advocate for patients who often didn’t feel comfortable speaking up for themselves. She looks through her notes for a little while. She also recalls chapel in the mornings.
Keywords: back rubs; hymns; patient care
Partial Transcript: So what do you remember about the Cadet Nursing program?
Segment Synopsis: Eunice (EJ) notes that she missed the program. She did know people from her high school that were in the Cadet Nurse Program. EJ notes that her friend got it in conjunction with attending the University of Dubuque so she did also get a degree.
Keywords: Cadet Nurse's Program
Partial Transcript: Ok did your family or friends...
Segment Synopsis: EJ explains that there were nurses on both sides of her family. Her family was accepting of her decision. EJ cannot remember any women doctors when she was training as a doctor. There were a few of the nursing students that the older nurses trusted more than the others, so they lived in the hospital annex. There were two women intern training to be doctors that lived across from them. EJ notes that there were no men in her class or the few around her. There was one man, who was older, that was a RN.
Keywords: family; gender roles; physicians
Partial Transcript: And on that note too...
Segment Synopsis: Birthday is 11/3/1925, she explains she took a year between her high school graduation and going to Nursing school to help at home, then she took one year of University and studied Chemistry and switched to nursing. Madison General from 1946-1949, Retired at age 63 (so 1988)
Keywords: Nursing school; chemistry; graduation; high school
Partial Transcript: What was the transition like...
Segment Synopsis: She notes that she worked at a Catholic Hospital which was a different culture, then transitioning to the next hospital was also an adjustment. She feels she had a great education at Madison General.
Keywords: Catholic hospitals; adjustment
Partial Transcript: Well that's all the questions I have for you...
Segment Synopsis: EJ explains that her father died while she was in school, and they stopped classes for her so she could go home. She tells a story about bringing dates to a big dance. She also mentions Rest Harrow. [Doorbell, and she steps away to answer the door] She also tells an anecdote about singing hymns.
Keywords: Rest Harrow; dance; hymns