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00:00:00 - Start of Interview/Introductions

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Partial Transcript: Okay, today is...

00:00:26 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: So to jump right into it

Segment Synopsis: Elaine Klopefel (EK) was born and raised in Neenah/Menasha, WI. Her father had been married before and widowed so she had four half-sisters. She was born in 1936. She felt very safe. When she was 10 years old, her father had a sliver and she took it out for him and that began her trajectory towards nursing. Her father passed away when she was 12, and so it was her mother and her after that. She was very independent. She knew throughout high school, she wanted to be a nurse. EK says that her father taught her how to sterilize the needle and everything, in order to remove the sliver. Her mother did traffic controlling for a company. So, she mapped out routes for trucks. She was good at math and enjoyed the job.

Keywords: Neenah/Menasha, WI; independent

00:05:24 - Choosing Nursing

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Partial Transcript: And was Nursing a popular...

Segment Synopsis: There were not a lot of career options for women at that time: teacher, housewife etc. Most of her friends became teachers, one became an interior designer, but most married young and started families. EK explains her family doctor was a big influencer for her and that his nurse graduated from Madison General. She always told her to go to Madison General. It was all sort of mapped out for her.

Keywords: Gender roles; career; doctor; nursing

00:07:21 - First Impressions of Nursing School

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Partial Transcript: What years did you...

Segment Synopsis: EK attended nursing school from 1954-1957. EK had been in Madison before (her high school basketball team had won the state championship) and she had visited her friend’s cousin in the dorms at the University and for the governor’s conference on youth when she was a junior in high school. Once she also stayed at the home of the administrator of the VA hospital. When she was accepted, she was very excited to become a student in Madison. EK does not remember a lot of it. Hazel Goff and Ella Allison were new. The school of Nursing had lost its accreditation and so they were brought in to fix it up. So, they were a little intimidating.

Keywords: Madison, WI; VA; accreditation

00:10:55 - Reaccreditation Process

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Partial Transcript: Mary did inform us...

Segment Synopsis: They had to go through a process and look at the background of the instructors and at the time she did not necessarily notice but when she got into administration later, she figured out sort of what that was all about. They looked at how many graduated, their scores on the boards etc.

Keywords: administration; background

00:12:46 - Life in Nursing School

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember...

Segment Synopsis: 56 students graduated as the class of 1957. She lived in McConnell Hall. The building was very nice. She had a roommate and they eventually got to know the other girls in the dorm. They all became close. There was a living room on the first floor and lounges on each floor. EK explains that there a lot of bats in the dorm one summer. When they came in, they would need to chase them around to get them out. EK explains that they played a lot of cards or games. They all smoked cigarettes. They went out a lot on blind dates and had an active social life with the University so close. They went swimming and ice skating at Vilas Park. EK recalls the food was good.

Keywords: Bats; McConnell Hall; Vilas Park; card games

00:18:49 - Nursing Arts

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Partial Transcript: So now moving on...

Segment Synopsis: EK explains they had the hands-on education. The students provided a lot of the actual care in hospitals. They practiced giving shots and bed baths on each other. They were also taught to be aware and to notice things. She remembers that one of her first years there was one of the last big years of the Polio epidemic, so they all learned how to do the hot packs. It was very difficult to work with the polio patients and the patients in the iron lung. They also had long term care patients. She remembers one patient that they even learned on which she found amazing. She explains that they were learning on real patients and that today there are simulators etc. It was their first year, so they were fairly new. EK notes that they were so busy, but that it taught them a lot of empathy. It was hard to take care of them and there was a lot of discomfort for them. After that, the vaccine came out and much of the problem went away.

Keywords: bed baths; care; hands-on; polio

00:24:21 - Mendota Psychiatric Hospital Rotation

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Partial Transcript: And you also mentioned...

Segment Synopsis: Thorazine was one of the most common drugs. They were like zombies. She also remembers the electroshock, insulin shock treatments and water treatments all of which wouldn’t be accepted now but were just how it was then. She remembers units of patients that were in locked cells. She tells a story about a man from that unit. Many patients were delightful. One patient believed she was related to the Queen of England. EK says that almost everything would because everything is evolving.

Keywords: Drugs; shock treatment

00:28:36 - VA Hospital Rotation

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Partial Transcript: And what about...

Segment Synopsis: EK explains that that taught them how to deal with infectious disease. Many were not from this area. Mostly, their job was to keep them busy and make them feel like things were going to get better. EK tells a story about getting pulled to help with a patient with miliary tuberculosis.

Keywords: infectious disease; tuberculosis

00:30:55 - Cook County Rotation

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Partial Transcript: And you also spent some...

Segment Synopsis: EK explains that they spent 3 months in Chicago doing pediatrics at Cook County Hospital. She explains the drinking age was 18 there and it was a big city. EK remembers how many children there were. They traveled through tunnels to get to the hospital. She was there during the election and remembers the posters everywhere. EK also remembers the cockroaches in the hospital. She also notes the difference in racial diversity at Cook County compared to Madison General. She thinks the election was 1956. She thinks someone from Chicago had been running for president. EK also remembers they sold their blood at University of Illinois. She remembers the good food and learning public transportation. Around 20 students were there. They coordinated activities together. EK explains that she enjoyed all the rotations for different reasons. They were all new and good experiences.

Keywords: Chicago; Pediatrics; public transportation

00:38:46 - Classes

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Partial Transcript: What were your classes like?

Segment Synopsis: EK remembers that a lot of the doctors lectured them. She remembers that an OB/Gyn doctor introduced them to using tampons. Mildred Green was her OB instructor. She tells a story of being peed on by Alan Ameche’s (Wisconsin football star) baby in the nursery. She remembers the sad parts too. She went to the University after graduating from Madison General and got her BSN, worked at the University for a little while and then ended up in the ICU/CCU for around 10 years. She did not have one specialty she liked more than others, so it was random that she ended up in the CCU.

Keywords: CCU; ICU; lectures; tampons

00:43:06 - BSN and Goals

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Partial Transcript: And you said you went...

Segment Synopsis: EK explains she got her BSN and that was her plan from day 1. Her family doctor had explained that the three-year diploma programs will give better hands on experience then to go for 2 years to get her BSN after. EK explains she was a head nurse in her career she helped teach students in the University nursing program and that she was probably a little behind the Madison General students, yes. She explains that they trained a lot of people in the CCU at the University hospital, because it was the first of its kind in the state. She felt very powerful as a nurse at that time. She remembers the formal relationship between doctors and nurses’ sort of falling away in the CCU. They also stopped wearing their nurses’ caps because they would be in the way. Pant suits also came to stay because they were doing CPR and such. This was 1963.

Keywords: University Nursing Program; goals; nurse's caps; pant suits

00:47:32 - Career post BSN

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Partial Transcript: And were you part of...

Segment Synopsis: She was also part of setting up the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit, and TLC trauma and life support care unit and that was about 1972/1973. She worked there a couple years and then went to University of Iowa and got her Masters. She helped them design the new University hospital but decided to go work at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and got a very nice design made for the ICU at that hospital. She got her Masters in Healthcare Administration. She was the vice president of patient care at Waukesha Memorial. University of Wisconsin did not have a program for that, but Iowa had one of the best.

Keywords: Healthcare Administration; Respiratory Intensive Care Unit

00:50:56 - Setting up the ICU

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Partial Transcript: And how did you...

Segment Synopsis: She was a staff nurse in the women’s medical unit and one day going to work she was congratulated by a doctor for being the head nurse in the new ICU. It was an old ward that was being converted. There was very little written about it as it was so new. "Good Design" was primarily that you could always see the patients or quickly access the patients. It was understanding how to make it the easiest. There is an amount of space needed to bring in carts or x-ray into the rooms. She talked to a lot of salesmen and technical people etc. They made sure there was space to communicate with the family. They also looked at the environment, to think about what would soothe patients, for example wallpaper, not bland but not too stimulating. EK explains that it felt very good and that it worked.

Keywords: ICU; accomplishment; planning

00:59:40 - Career after ICU

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Partial Transcript: And how long did you...

Segment Synopsis: She was at the University as a nurse for 14 years and in administration for 17 years. She heard about MetaStar, an organization that had grant under Medicare to investigate critical care nationwide and so she moved back to Madison for that job. She went to every hospital in Wisconsin and collected data about coronary care units. They compared these hospitals to standards and helped coach them to be better. She started a study looking at care and screening of breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast Cancer; CCU; MetaStar

01:06:44 - Influential Faculty

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Partial Transcript: Are there any faculty...

Segment Synopsis: EK remembers Miss. Cheney, Mrs. McAlpine, Mrs. Green (OB), Mrs. Montague, and Ms. Woodman (OR). She remembers Dr. Luedke and Dr. Nordby, Mr. Henry in Pharmacy. Nelly Brown was the night supervisor. Ms. Goff and Ms. Ellison played a big role too of course. She remembers learning to never run in uniform. She remembers taking a lot of classes through the University her first year. EK found all the new classes very exciting.

Keywords: learning; role models; teaching

01:10:28 - Challenges and Resources

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Partial Transcript: Were there any particularly...

Segment Synopsis: EK explains that lots was challenging. She did not enjoy the psychology rotation. She enjoyed the OR rotation, but she preferred being able to talk with patients. She loved pediatrics. She thinks her statistics course was the hardest part of her education. EK does not know. Ms. Goff or Ms. Ellison would help any students that were struggling but usually problems were not educational. She remembers that one of her classmates dropped out. They could go to the library and they could talk to the upper classmen. She was a patient at one point and there was an upperclassman working that night and the upper classmen brought her along to show her how to do a I.M. (intramuscular) injection.

Keywords: Challenges; help; specialties

01:14:56 - Influence of Madison General/Patient Care

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Partial Transcript: So how if at all...

Segment Synopsis: It was partially the standards that were established. They were taught to be organized, honest, to listen, to learn. EK explains by doing. Initially, it was frightening especially in tough situation. They observed.

Keywords: patient care; quality; standards

01:17:09 - Memories and Advice

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Partial Transcript: So now, sorry going back...

Segment Synopsis: EK explains there are so many. She remembers a patient she saved in the CCU. The nursing staff got to know his wife and, years later, his daughter came in to apply for a job. EK says learn from the best, be compassionate and intelligent.

Keywords: CCU; compassion; relationships

01:19:55 - Final Thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Well is there anything else...

Segment Synopsis: She is enjoying her retirement now. She has been retired for around 20 years. She travelled a lot. She went to China, Thailand, Europe, Australia and all 50 states. She was invited to a fellowship at Wharton School of Business and spent a summer there and attended classes. There was a lot of learning from each other. She wishes that people collaborated more than were competitive. EK explains she felt that shift during her career. They were in competition with other hospitals in that area. [Clarifies some details about the Wharton fellowship – that it was for Nurse Executives to enhance skills of nurses promoted from within]

Keywords: Wharton School of Business; retirement; travel

01:28:34 - End of Interview