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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviewee: Carol Christiansen
Interviewer: Ann Smith
October 18, 2001
Pages 1- 5: Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1931 and moved to Naugatuck, Connecticut at age three
where her father could find work as a mechanical engineer. Always fascinated with hospitals,
Christiansen attended University of Connecticut in nursing. With equal interests in music and
nursing, Christiansen decided she could pursue music later. She discussed her undergraduate
nursing education which included hard science courses modified for nurses and clinical practice
in the typical medical, surgical, pediatric and obstetrical nursing rotations.
Pages 6- 9: Christiansen tells of caring for the patients who returned directly to their rooms
before Recovery Rooms, tank oxygen and flipping Wagenstein bottles to provide nasogastric
suction. She loved her operating room experience and hated public health. Psych student
experience was in a state hospital that used insulin and electroshock therapy.
Pages 10-12: Hired as an assistant clinical instructor at Hartford Hospital in 1954, she began
teaching student nurses. The same year, Dorothy Smith joined the faculty and took Christiansen
and several other inexperienced teachers under her wing. Smith left Connecticut and came to
Florida in January 1956 to begin planning the College of Nursing at the University of Florida
and Christiansen joined her in August 1956. University Avenue was newly paved just past the
president's house. The Health Center Medical Sciences Building was finished and at
Homecoming 1956, the first nursing students and medical students entered. Dorothy Smith and
Lois Knowles ran the nursing program until July 1957 when Christiansen and three others were
Pages 13-14: Christiansen discussed the philosophies of Dorothy Smith including: striving to
become better teachers, researchers, nurses and people; nurses taking care of patients and not
clerical responsibilities; students of several health care disciplines learning together; and faculty
continuing to practice patient care. She spoke of her collaboration with Bill Wheat, M.D. as a
cardiovascular surgeon at Shands Teaching Hospital. She recalled other leadership physicians
during the early years of the Health Center.
Pages 14-15: When the Health Center opened, the small handful of personnel knew each other.
Patients were segregated with white patients on the east and west wings and black patients on the
north wing. Black staff members had a separate dining room, segregated rest rooms, and water
fountains. Christiansen recalls hearing that the Negro staff was going to integrate the cafeteria
and everyone agreed that would be no problem. She states it went smoothly and they began
integrating patients shortly thereafter.
The Charley Johns' committee of the state legislature was investigating citizens at this
same time. The fear of communism or deviant behavior of any kind was felt to be a threat in
university settings. Christiansen knew of a physician from the Infirmary who was apparently
asked to resign. Years after the events, Dorothy Smith, as Dean of the College of Nursing told
Christiansen, 'you don't know the trouble I went through when the Johns committee was here.'
Pages 16-18: Christiansen noticed the date of this interview and realized that it was near the
anniversary day of the opening of Shands, October 20, 1958. The first patient was shown in a
brochure showing the event that was turned over to the college archivist. She said pictures were
taken of the first and only patient over a weekend with the entire staff attending to her.
In 1957, Christiansen began taking courses, one or two at a time in music and
psychology, since she was developing an interest in counseling students. She received her
graduate degree in 1963 in education. This was during the Cuban missile crisis and she recalls
mandatory attendance at the shelter at the Health Center.
Pages 19-21: As Shands Hospital was being built, Christiansen recalls sneaking through the
corridor to see the operating rooms still under construction. She regrets that the original
philosophy of patient care broke down as original leaders were replaced by others with a more
traditional approach. This took place in the College of Nursing, as well.
Christiansen says the most important year of her professional career, 1969-1970, was
during the time she served as the clinician in charge of sixth floor. Carol Bradshaw was the
Nursing Service Director and when she left to open the Santa Fe Associate Degree Nursing
Program, Marion McKenna stepped in for a short time. She then, hired Julian Ciccatello.
Christiansen said that is when it began to unravel for Dorothy Smith
Christiansen discussed nursing rounds, the nursing history form, and charting according
to the Weed method.
Pages 22-24: Christiansen went to Wayne State for a course in physical assessment around 1971
and when she returned, Dorothy Smith had decided to step down from the deanship and become
a member of the faculty. Smith wanted to teach and take care of patients. Christiansen describes
a troubled time while an acting dean tried to hold things together but various forces felt
threatened and feared the loss of power and values within the organization.
The new dean was Blanche Urey and Christiansen feels strongly that she set the college
back during her tenure. Urey died suddenly and another search selected Lois Malasanos for the
deanship of the College of Nursing. Christiansen states that Dorothy Smith was ignored by Urey
and Malasanos and was terribly hurt.
Pages 25-26: Christiansen says that Dorothy Smith's legacy from the early years of the college
are graduates that are concerned and like nursing. They were strong women who became change
agents in many settings. She named prominent graduates such as Linda Aiken [Robert Wood
Foundation], Pat Chamings [dean at University of North Carolina at Greensboro], Carole
Patterson [Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations].
Christiansen co-authored a book on cardiovascular care plans for the practicing nurse.
Pages 27-31: Christiansen speaks of early open-heart surgery patients in the early 1960s when no
monitors were used to the beginning training of nurses in electrocardiography. She remembers
money available for travel and expanded education for patient care. She discusses the Summer's
Masters Program that brought nursing leaders to the College of Nursing for the education of the
graduate students, undergraduate students and the faculty.
Christiansen taught a cardiovascular course for the Florida Heart Association for nurses
to learn about open heart surgery in the 1960s. She prepared to expand this material for area
workshops. Dorothy Smith referred this project, recognizing that Christiansen needed a focus
and a new challenge at that particular time. She underlined that this was one of Smith's
strengths in keeping her faculty challenged.
Interviewee: Carol Hayes Christiansen
Interviewer: Ann Smith
Date: October 18, 2001
S: Today is October 18, 2001. My name is Ann Smith. This is an oral history
interview with Carol Hayes Christiansen. First, Carol, let me ask you where you
C: I was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1931. My parents were helping my grandfather do
his farming in Yellow Springs, Ohio, since my father couldn't find a job otherwise
because of the Depression. Yellow Springs, Ohio, was home of Antioch College
which was a very liberal arts college. In 1934, (I guess it was) I was three years
old, we moved to Connecticut. My father's father already lived in a place called
Naugatuck, Connecticut. He evidently called my father and said the Naugatuck
Chemical Company was hiring people and he might want to come and see if he
could get a job. My father was not a farmer. My father was a mechanical
S: Had he gone to college?
C: They had gone to Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn and my mother was a dietician and
she worked for Good Housekeeping for a year. She has her picture in one of the
early magazines (I don't remember whether it's 1928, 1929, or 1930)
demonstrating a vacuum cleaner or something. They moved back to Connecticut
and my father got a job at Naugatuck Chemical, which was, or later became a
division of U.S. Rubber. He worked there until 1940, 1941, or1942 or
somewhere in there. Then, he went to work for Lewis Engineering Company
which made small parts for airplanes and he was exempt from the draft because
he was in an essential industry which was very nice.
S: You knew you would go to a university but how did you decide on nursing?
C: I don't really know. I had an aunt who was a nurse. One time before I knew how
hard it would be, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I thought I liked kids only to find
out I really didn't like children at all. I managed to do adequate babysitting, but
that was more because the kids behaved and I could read than because I was
that great with the kids. I was always fascinated by hospitals. I liked to go to
them and see what was going on behind the doors. In my junior year in high
school, when it was time to start thinking about going to college or doing
something, anyway, I looked into three programs. I don't know how I knew that
the University of Connecticut had a nursing program, although somebody must
have said so. Since I had to go to college for two years, if I was going to go to
Columbia Presbyterian I may have written to the University of Connecticut to see
about going there for two years before I went down to Columbia. In getting their
catalog, I found that they had a nursing program at University of Connecticut. I
applied there, and I also applied at Hartford Hospital in case I didn't get into the
university, because I really only had a C+ average in high school. I went to a
private girl's school, and it was very good but very difficult for me. So my grades
were not all that great, but I think probably at that time, the University of
Connecticut was taking people with C averages. I did better in college than I did
in high school.
S: With your interest in music during the high school years, how did you decide on
C: It was a toss up between music and nursing, and I decided that I would always
regret not having become a nurse but I would always have my music with me,
one way or another. So, that's why I chose nursing at that time. Then, as I
progressed in my professional career, I knew that I was going to do more with
music when I retired from nursing. I was admitted to the University of
Connecticut and went off to Storrs in 1949 where the main campus still is. There
were less than 6,000 students on the campus and we all lived in dorms. Almost
nobody had a car, and the nearest town was Willimantic, which was a real "divey"
place. It was about fifteen miles down the road. It was a real treat if your family
came to see you, you could go to Willimantic for a meal. I lived in a dorm and
met a lot of my fellow nursing students.
S: How many were in your class?
C: I think we finally graduated twenty-six or twenty-eight. We probably started with
between thirty and forty. I don't really remember how many we started with, and
some dropped out before we ever got to our clinical experience. Our first clinical
was between our freshman and sophomore year when we went to New Haven
S: Did you have the experience of being a probationary nurse, or was that more of
the diploma program practice?
C: It was not called that. We did not wear our caps our first two summers. So, in a
sense, that was our probationary period.
S: You were identified as beginners.
C: Beginners right, because we didn't have our caps but we had a single piece, light
blue uniform, it didn't have an apron or a bib. It buttoned down the front at the
waist I guess and it had a patch on the pocket. It was an attractive student
S: And you had what color shoes?
C: We wore white shoes and white stockings, I believe. We had an organdy cap
that had to be starched and only one kind of starch would do it. It was Argo
starch you had to mix up. You had to make it really thick, put it [the cap] in there
and then, be very careful when you ironed so that you didn't both scorch the hat
and ruin the iron. What a mess. We got very expert at getting it, so it would fan
out in the way it was supposed to.
S: That was a whole art in itself, wasn't it? Depending on your school ...
C: Our curriculum at University of Connecticut was the kind of curriculum that
people were having in those days. College courses were "for nurses." [Modified
for nursing students] So, we had microbiology "for nurses," and chemistry "for
nurses." We were not considered to be too bright, and they were right.
S: Because if we'd had the real thing ...
C: Right. If I had to take a regular chemistry course, I would have been into music
S: Your fall back position.
C: [I would have] retired. Right. Anyway, so there were a lot of things we didn't
have to take as nursing students. We didn't have to take a language, we didn't
have to take a math course, and we didn't have to take economics 101.
Everybody was flunking it. But, those were the liberal arts college requirements.
Of course, we were a school of nursing, an independent, degree-granting
department of the university. They weren't called colleges then, they were called
schools. It was a land grant college, and a lot of agriculture students,
engineering students. There were fewer students in a home economics
department school, college of education or school of education. It had a school
of law in Hartford. It was a bonafide big university. It had sororities and
fraternities. I did the sorority thing my first two years.
S: Did you enjoy that?
C: Yes, it was all right. It gave me a group to be identified with.
S: Tell me about your student clinical days. What do you recall of that?
C: In our first summer we had a course called fundamentals of nursing, which was
the basic medical and surgical asepsis [sterile technique]. We might have done
more sterile stuff in our second semester, but we also did bathing, vital signs,
body mechanics, and bed making. We had a practice lab and then we went on
the ward for two or three hours. We were not responsible, in that period of time,
for staffing any unit or anything. We had two instructors, Marie Catuogno, and
S: And you can remember their names!
C: Well, yes, because Catuogno came and worked at the University of Florida for a
year or two. They were our two instructors. We became a very close group that
summer, with our classmates. We would sound off in the dorms and study
together. We had Harmer and Henderson, Principles of Nursing Practice.
S: I remember that.
C: I didn't think it would be any big deal to go on to the unit for the first time, but then
I found myself walking up and down the hall for about ten minutes, not able to get
into the room and introduce myself. We had the problem that all students have
of calling ourselves "Miss" Hayes or whatever.
S: That's right.
C: It sounded strange to us. But anyway, Mr. Eno was my first patient and I think he
had jaundice. I can even see what bed he was in [in my mind's eye], in the ward.
S: You had open wards?
C: We did have two open wards ...
S: Of twenty patients?
C: No, the whole hospital, in a sense, was clinic [meaning charity] patients. Well,
the majority of the hospital had clinic patients. The private [paying] patients were
on another floor where we never went. They had private duty nurses and all that
stuff. We had two bed rooms, four bed rooms, and some single rooms. But of
the open wards, one was a male urology unit, and the other was a female
gynecology unit. I was just thinking that we had rooming-in [for obstetrics], in
1951. Whereas, Gainesville, Florida, has gotten it in the last ten years. We had
honest-to-God, natural childbirth rooming-in. Not every maternity patient had it.
We had eight beds, I think. But our student experience included being in that
four-bed ward with the mothers and the babies, as well as out on a unit with the
other patients. Ms. Murphy was the head nurse. She was very tough. She is
about the only head nurse I do remember. We all respected her for her
S: I remember people like that.
C: We went back to school for our sophomore year taking anatomy, physiology, and
we had electives: history, social .. whatever, child development, child psych,
basic psychology, basic sociology. That is where I learned "change of subject,"
diagram with the hands from our sociology teacher.
S: What do you mean?
C: Whenever he was talking about one thing and he wanted to talk about something
else he would say 'change of subject' and make a square with his hands.
S: I see.
C: We had a nursing student organization that was not affiliated, early on, with the
Connecticut State Student Nurses Association. Later on, it was but it was called
White Caps, I believe. This gave us an opportunity to come together (because
we were all in different classes) and talk about becoming nurses, issues and stuff
like that. Otherwise, we participated in all the regular campus activities. Then,
we had the first part of the summer off between our sophomore and junior year.
We went the last half of the summer and then stayed on. We finished up our
fundamentals, learned more sterile technique, catheterizations, probably bigger
dressings, more difficult patients, reviewed, relearned what we had forgotten over
the year, and then were divided up into quarters. Classes were divided up into,
medical nursing, surgical nursing, pediatrics, and OB. That was our junior year,
and we had three months in each rotation. We started out on days, in each
rotation and proceeded to work into evenings. Nights didn't come until later in
the year. I started in surgery, surgical care of patients on the unit. Then, I went
to medicine. I loved surgical nursing. That was my favorite. It still is. On
January 1, 1950, I slipped off a step and dislocated my left shoulder. This
became a thorn in my side for the next twenty years. On December 8, 1951, I
slipped on the ice doing the Mexican hat dance after we had gone caroling
somewhere as a class and badly dislocated my shoulder. It didn't pop back in.
So, there I am, while we were waiting for the bus out in the boondocks of New
Haven. I had to have some Pentothal and have it reset. Of course, the
emergency room was busy with everything that night. I was about three hours
waiting in there to be [seen]. I had Demerol which promptly made me vomit.
Anyway, I missed a good bit of my initial medical rotation. That is the point of all
of that because I was out with my arm in a sling for four or five weeks. I was able
to do all of the reading on the bibliography sheet and do well on the exams which
was all right. I went to classes and everything. I just didn't do clinical. So I got
off to a bad start in medicine. And then when I went there [I found] oh, these
were the sickest patients in the whole world. They had strokes and heart attacks
and everything else. I had this man named Mr. Mancini who was on a Stryker
Frame [sandwich-like apparatus that allows the patient to be turned as a unit
without movement of individual motion of parts] and he had bandages
everywhere; he had decubiti [pressure sores]. It was a two to three hour deal.
But I had four other patients also, so in my inexperience I tried to take care of all
those other patients so that when I went into the room with gown and mask, I
could stay. Well, my instructor, who was not there to help me set priorities, by
the way, got all bent out of shape. I remember this on one of my evaluation
sheets, you know, I didn't get a very good [comment] because I didn't know how
to set priorities. I don't know to this day, what I would have done differently. I
might have turned in my badge and resigned. We had a lot of bad experiences.
When we were on evenings for example, we would go up to the cafeteria after
getting off duty, they would give us something to eat and we'd look around. Well,
I had been in charge on Fitkin One [name of nursing unit], and she had been on
Tompkins Two, and someone else was all by herself on pediatrics. We had
staffed the hospital that night with a supervisor who had been around. We had a
good night if there were two nursing students and an aide for thirty to thirty-five
patients. That was a good night. A bad night was you and an aide. One winter
night when the aide couldn't make it -- this was later, when I was a senior -- I was
on Fitkin One by myself. We had to order diets; we had to check the medicine
cards; we had to do the sterilizing; we had to order the medication; and then we
also had to take q [every] two or q four hour vital signs; we had to turn [patients]
q [every] two hours; we had to answer the lights [call lights of patients]; we had to
do everybody's vital signs, then. If you didn't have your sterilizing done, your
medications ordered and your doctor's orders checked and carried out by four
o'clock, you were way behind, because at four o'clock then you had to start doing
pre-op's [getting patients ready for surgery] and whatever ...
S: What memories.
C: Oh, not good.
S: You remember it in your gut, too.
C: Right. It was supposedly illegal to eat [on a nursing unit], I mean, this is an eight
to a ten-hour shift. You didn't get off on time. We didn't have facilities to make a
lunch for ourselves. So, I'm sure that's why the supervisors ignored the fact that
we did eat. But it was not condoned, particularly.
S: No, you sure didn't want to get caught.
C: Right, but we would sometimes make ... I think we've even made scrambled
eggs. She had to know when she came on the unit if she ever did. Ms.
Wojekowski, I think was one. Then we had Miss McGee, Margaret McGee who
was our medical instructor as juniors, who was a Johns Hopkins graduate. Have
you ever run across a Johns Hopkins graduate? Well, they evidently had a
professional nurse uniform. Buttons to the elbows, hat starched out the gazoo.
Well, she was into rehab; her thing was rehabilitation. She came on the unit.
She was the nurse instructor for Fitkin One; this was our general medical unit.
She said, is there something I could do to help you, and I told her what she could
do. She didn't do it. I mean I don't remember exactly, I said something like you
could turn "Mrs. Whoever."
S: Yes, you thought it was an honest question.
C: Or give "Mr. So-and-so" a basin of water, or something. I mean ... you know.
S: It was a rhetorical question and you didn't realize it.
C: Don't stop me and ask me stupid questions when I'm in the middle of ten
patients, please. Because that was on the surgical unit, my classmate Duchess
and I were the only two students on that day. She said O.K. you take that side of
the hall I'll take this side of the hall, and that's what we did and we would help
each other turn [patients]. But otherwise it was: start at one end and go to the
S: It sounds to me like you really enjoyed the reading and the academic part of it.
C: Yes, I did. My best place was the OR [Operating Room].
S: You had an OR rotation and not every school did.
C: No, we had two months or three months. We had OR, diet kitchen, I don't
remember Formula Room. I might have even had that stupid thing. There were
no recovery rooms.
S: Right, that's an important point because people reading an interview today--
knowing that there are intensive care units, recovery rooms, and post anesthesia
areas--must realize that was before that era.
C: Also, patients came directly back from the OR to their rooms and we put up the
crib sides [side rails of the bed] and took the vital signs. If the patient was really
lucky, we could stay with them through the q fifteen minutes vital signs of the first
hour. But we had other patients.
S: But that frequently didn't happen.
C: Frequently, it did not, you know, but I guess pretty much they got the first hour
being watched. We hardly knew anything about post anesthesia recovery.
S: It is amazing what we know now.
C: I don't think we automatically put suctions for respiratory aspiration immediately
S: I don't think we automatically put oxygen on patients.
C: No, I know we didn't. Heck, you had oxygen in tanks.
S: In heavy, green tanks. You couldn't plug into the wall as we can now [for piped
in oxygen or suction].
C: One of my classmates dropped a tank off the elevator one night, it went spinning
around somewhere. We had to get the tanks. We had to reattach them.
[involving a flow meter gauge, a wrench, etc.]
S: Put the flow meter on, hook up the tubing ...
C: Right, I'm trying to remember. We did have wall suction because when I came to
work here in 1957 and we used Alachua General. We had to set up
Wagensteins to flip the bottles. [Apparatus using water draining from the top
container to the bottom creating negative pressure to be used for suction, named
after the surgeon who devised it.]
S: I remember.
C: They did not have wall suction, at least not on all the units. We had psychiatry
for three months; we had public health for four months which was actually a
visiting nurse experience more than public health.
S: Did you enjoy the public health in the community?
C: No, I hated it.
S: It's pretty far from surgery isn't it?
C: We did colostomy irrigations and catheterizations, saw bed bugs and all kinds of
creepy, crawly things. To this day, I can't stand it.
S: Public health was an education for a lot of us who had not seen the poor living
conditions in our own communities.
C: Right. We had that at Hartford with the Hartford Visiting Nurses Association.
The best thing about it was that it was day activities and rarely, I guess maybe
we had to work an occasional Saturday or Sunday. Mostly, we had the
weekends off. In the OR, we were on call in the OR. [Operating Room] We
were on call for deliveries. We had to have at least fifteen, I think. But I was
good enough in the OR to be able to run a room, to be the circulating nurse. I
was also good enough to scrub on big cases, abdominal cases--not thoracic
[chest surgery]. I don't think I ever did brain [neurosurgery], but I loved
S: What do you think the attraction was for you in the operating room?
C: First of all, I didn't have to interact with any patient. When it was done, it was
done. It was a circumscribed activity that you didn't have fifty people on you for
something at once. I had a really hard time with that in my whole career.
S: Multiple demands?
C: Multiple demands, I would get very frustrated and angry, sometimes cried.
S: Where did you go for psychiatry experience?
C: Psych was at a state mental hospital, in Middletown. The state of Connecticut
had, perhaps, four or six state mental hospitals and they covered a specific area.
S: Geographic area?
C: ... geographic area of the state. So, Middletown covered the New Haven area.
Some of the patients we knew at New Haven Hospital, we met at Middletown.
There was one lady there named Barbara Twitchell.
S: You can recall those names. I'm impressed.
C: She tried seven times to commit suicide and finally succeeded on the eighth
attempt. She slit her throat; she did a tracheotomy on herself; I don't know how
many different ways she tried. The lady about whom Arsenic and Old Lace was
written, was a patient in that hospital. She was the star of that hospital and she
would kneel down every once in a while and pray. She was an old lady by that
time and I don't know her name. Then there was a black woman--a tall, hefty
black woman--who would say, give me some fire, nurse. Norma, I think her
name was. We took them out onto a porch for smoking privileges and that was
her way to get a light. Give me some fire, nurse, then Norma, I'd give it. We did
insulin shock therapy. We did electroshock therapy, gross ... [both ways of
treating mental illness at the time].
S: Yes, it was.
C: We held them down ...
S: While they seized [treatment causes generalized seizures].
C: I was in the insulin shock therapy unit and went into the bathroom to find there
was a patient passed out. We had to give him this thick sugar stuff. That
rotation was two weeks or something like that. We lived in a dorm. We had to
go to a dining room. There were several we could go to. At the time, I was
taking iron so I would take my pills in my dorm room and take a walk across to
get something to eat. By the time I got there I was nauseated. I thought, well,
I'm anxious about going to the ward or something, which of course, I thought,
how could I be that? Well, I could have been. I probably was but anyway, it was
the iron on an empty stomach.
S: When did you graduate?
C: In 1954 and I went to work at Hartford Hospital as an assistant clinical instructor.
They took baccalaureate graduates. They took some from their own program.
They took diploma graduates from their own program and then they took a
University of Connecticut graduate. There had been several before me. So I
worked there for two years.
S: Did you like that?
C: Yes, I did. I didn't know what I was doing. They put the least experienced
people on the ward to do the most important job: teaching kids how to take care
of patients and help them become nurses. But this was in September of 1954,
and Dorothy M. Smith joined the faculty at the same time. I don't remember what
her title was, but she was brought in by the administration I guess, to look at the
curriculum. I'm not exactly sure what her job was. I'm not sure she was exactly
sure what her job was or what they wanted her to do. She saw four or five of us
new graduates who didn't know from schmotz what we were doing and she took
us under her wing to teach us some classes, or hold classes with us. We had
preliminary Nursing 111, in essence. I don't know if you joined the faculty here
when we were teaching Nursing 111 or not. That was our interpersonal
relationships course, here. So, Dorothy met with us, as new instructors and she
helped us to think about more than just telling students stuff. We looked at
behavior. We read Nathaniel Cantor's Dynamics of Learning. I was at the
teaching/learning process. We read Peplau [Hildegard]; we read articles by Fran
Reuter, and she had a psychiatrist come in to talk about, or listen to us talk about
different behaviors with students, I guess. It's written up in Nursing Outlook.
S: Published by Dorothy?
C: Yes, written by Dorothy and Frank Egloff, maybe December 1955 ... that would
be too early. It would have to be spring of 1956, perhaps or the fall of 1956
where she describes the program.
S: This was at Hartford?
C: This was at Hartford Hospital. Dorothy and I became friends, she lived in the
dorm for a while and I was living in the dorm and we would sometimes eat our
evening meal together. She took a liking to me, I guess, so we got pretty close. I
was actually pretty devastated when she decided to come to Florida. I told her
that I would love to work for her in Florida and she said she would like to have
me. She said, I'll let you know when I have a position available. She came down
here and started work in January of 1956 and got the curriculum together and
approved by the University Senate and the State Board of Nursing. We were
going to have quite a large number of reduced clinical hours and that took some
talking. Then, I came down to visit in August of 1956, just to see what this place
was like. They had just finished paving University Avenue past the president's
house. It was a newly paved road then, but 22nd Street was really the end of the
city of Gainesville. The Health Center Medical Science building was finished
because that was dedicated at Homecoming in 1956, when the first medical and
nursing students entered and Lois Knowles was hired as the first faculty person.
She and Dorothy ran the program until July of 1957 when four others of us
S: Who were the other four?
C: There was Dorothy Luther, Joy LaPage, and I guess it was just the three of us.
That summer was just Dorothy Luther, Joy LaPage, and myself in July. Then in
September, Jane Kordana, Edna Jones and later was Jennet Wilson, Virgie
Pafford. I don't remember who was the first original pediatric person--it might
have been Virgina Strozier, or Carol Bradshaw. She came on the faculty later, I
think. Barbara Buchanan was the first [Nursing] psychiatry chairman. So, the
faculty that taught Fundamentals [of Nursing] came in July and we had from July
until September to plan. Dorothy sent us off to National Training Laboratory in
Group Development, at Bethel, Maine for three weeks in August of 1957, so that
we would have a group bonding experience, and we were supposed to learn
what our behavior in a group was. I don't know that I did in my group, but the
thing I learned most there was an expression called, "helping the hell out of
somebody." That means that you get in their way, essentially. You don't really
move anything along, and it's been a very useful phrase. That was the
S: I think I can relate to that.
C: We went to a group training session once or twice a day and the group dynamics
got really hot and heavy, sometimes. By Wednesday night the volume in the
social area was very loud and we would be mimicking everybody and carrying
on, but it would come down on Fridays. It was an interesting experience in
Bethel, Maine. I think it might still be going on. I'm not sure. Dorothy had been
there several years before.
S: She brought in outside people as facilitators to the faculty, including non-nurse
faculty. Carol Taylor must have been an early faculty member, wasn't she?
C: Yes, I think so, fairly early. Sid Jourard, Howard Wooden ...
S: Mary McCaulley?
C: Yes, well, she wasn't on our faculty. She was a faculty member in the Health
Center, but I don't think she was on our faculty. There was an Indian guy--all
these people went to other colleges when the grants ran out. We had a mental
health grant, or something like that; that's what they were funded from.
S: Was there any one particular person that you remember?
C: I think Sid Jouard probably had the most influence in terms of helping us to get
outside our little boxes. Willamay Whitner came to teach us statistics and help
us with stuff like that.
S: Was she a nurse?
C: Yes, I think so.
S: But she had gone on in research?
C: Yes, had gotten her doctorate in Nursing Research. At that time, it dealt more
with statistical analysis rather than the subjects to be investigated.
S: Let's go back to when Dorothy had the founding faculty people. Tell me about
her philosophies, and what she was trying to build. What did she see as unique
or different about what she wanted to create?
C: We had a philosophical statement and in it was "the professional nurse is one
who can give to the most patients the deepest feeling of being individually cared
for as a person, and scientifically cared for as a patient." As far as I'm
concerned, that's still it. She pushed investigation of individual questions; she
called it research. I said we haven't even taught the course yet. I got very
threatened by having to do research. She emphasized the faculty's involvement
in patient care. She had been working at Alachua General since she got here,
one evening a week or two evenings a week.
S: She really believed that?
C: Yes, absolutely, and she talked it up and talked it up and talked it up. I couldn't
stand the guilt of not doing it, frankly.
S: She didn't just say it, she did it.
C: Yes, you never had the feeling that you were being asked to do more than she
did. Never. She saw her job as helping us become better, because if we
became better teachers, researchers, nurses, people and felt safe and secure,
then we would help students feel safe and secure, who would then help patients
feel safe and secure. End of discussion. Everything revolved around that,
everything. She thought that nurses should take care of patients. They should
not take care of dietary; they should not take care of charts; they should not take
care of central supply; they should not take care of pharmacy. The poor woman,
when she died was still saying nurses are still not taking care of patients they are
doing everything else. And she was right. The unit manager system was the
innovation in the hospital. Faculty taking care of patients was the innovation in
the College of Nursing, and medical students being taught about ambulatory
care, home care, and things like that was kind of the innovation in the College of
Medicine. The overall framework was that students, who learn together, would
work together. The ideal was for nursing faculty and medical faculty to relate to
each other, and their students to relate to each other. Well, you know, medicine
didn't grow up that way, so when physicians came, they were used to floor
nurses taking care of patients, student nurses being on the ward twenty-four
hours a day, and how are you going to ever teach your students how to become
nurses if they don't take care of patients. Excuse me, sir, where am I when you
are telling me this? I believe I am on the unit with my students taking care of
patients. Somehow, that never got into some of the physicians' minds. We had
hoped to have nurses and medical students, and medical faculty and nursing
faculty making rounds on the same group of patients. I did that a little bit with
Surgery II (a sub-specialty group of patients); Dottie [Luther] did it with Surgery I;
Jennet [Wilson], in maternity, was able to do it pretty well with maternity patients.
Maternity only had one service to work with. It was a little easier but they had a
lot of areas to cover. There were a lot of faculty members that never really got
into direct patient care. They would help staff with individual problem patients. In
fact, that's what a lot of us ended up doing, more than anything else. I did quite a
bit of team nursing in the summer time, helping out. Dottie Luther and I staffed
the ER [emergency room] one night when the ER people went on strike.
Fortunately, it was a relatively quiet night although I still remember the name of
the man who came in with chest pains and it didn't ever register with me, 'heart
attack, Carol', keep a watch on him. He made out all right. With Dorothy being
involved in the hospital up until 1970-something, we were always kind of helping
out. Jane [Kordana] did a lot of staff nursing in the hospital, I guess we all did in
the med-surg units, at that time.
S: How it worked seemed to depend on people and their previous frame of
reference as to their understanding of what nursing was trying to do. Polly
Barton mentioned they worked very compatibly with the pediatricians who had a
very different frame of reference than, for instance, surgeons.
C: Yes, I worked with Bill Wheat, M.D. [cardiovascular surgeon]. His bark was a lot
worse than his bite, but just the same, he was hard to get along with. I went to
the OR and watched operations because that's where he was the kingpin and it
gave me an appreciation for what he did there. He knew I was interested in what
he did there. Therefore, he would let me do my thing and we really got along
quite well, together. He would call me to go with him to speak to families after
the surgery was over. He would let me tell the family interim reports [while
surgery was still in progress]. After he left it wasn't quite as successful. When
he left, we also had a new administration and collaboration wasn't pushed as
much and all hell broke lose.
S: Sam Martin was there at the very beginning?
C: He came as Chairman of the Department of Medicine. That was his first job.
But, yes, Ed Woodward was Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Gerald
Schiebler was Chairman of Pediatrics, Bill Ruffin was Chairman of Psychiatry,
and Prystoski was Chairman of OB. Then, the basic science people were there
the first two years. Sam may have even come in before Woodward and the rest.
I don't know. He did his "medicine thing" before he ever became provost.
S: Tell me about the early years when there was just a small handful of people at
the health center.
C: It was really neat, we could almost all fit in the coffee shop. Of course, we had
complete segregation at this time. The black assistants .. any of the black,
Negro, colored .... You know they started out with them being "colored" and we
had colored restrooms and colored water fountains. They ate in the basement.
They had their own cafeteria.
S: Segregated patients?
C: The black patients were on the north wing, so the white patients were on the east
and west wings. Now, black and white nurses were together, as I recall. We
didn't have too many black nurses. Then, when all of the integration efforts were
being made, it was noised abroad that some of the Negro staff were going to try
to integrate the cafeteria on the first floor. Everybody agreed there would be no
problem with that. In other words, nobody was going to object. It went smoothly
and I don't remember the whole sequence of events but eventually we had two
restrooms everywhere and two water fountains without labels. Eventually, we
began to put black patients in with white patients, and if they seriously objected .
or, I guess, we started by putting two black patients in a room next to white
patients. That was how the integration first started and then, eventually eased in.
But it all worked out fairly smoothly in the hospital. We began to have black
students apply for class.
S: Do you remember the first black faculty member?
C: No, I don't. We interviewed several but I don't remember who it was.
S: Let me ask about some of the social implications in the outside world and how
they impacted Shands or the College of Nursing. In addition to segregation
issues in the 1960s, was the scare that came with the Johns Committee
C: Oh yes.
S: How did that affect the individuals that were on the faculty, or friends that they
knew up on campus?
C: I may have known some of the names of people who left, but the only person that
I knew, individually, was the head of the infirmaries--Vadheim who was a doctor.
He and I dated one time. He had to leave, I know. I don't know whether he was
gay or they thought he was. But as a result of the Johns Committee, he left. He
was really the only one that I knew about, personally. I guess Dorothy had a lot
of involvement but she kept that pretty much to herself or only shared it with
Merc [Lucille Mercadante] and Lois [Knowles] who were her confidants and
closest working people. She mentioned it one time in passing, years later, about
you don't know the trouble I went through when the Johns committee was here. I
said, well, no, I don't. That was all that she said.
S: How unfortunate. Someone said it was the state version of McCarthyism.
C: Yes, it was.
S: It was a reign of fear.
C: It was the same kind of idea. It may have started with communism but branched
out and got really ugly.
S: What a shame. How really destructive, particularly on a campus.
S: Going back to the clinical areas, since you were so thoroughly involved in the
patient care on the surgical units, tell me what you recall of the management of
the individual units. You mentioned team nursing [nursing delivery system] and
they probably used primary care.
C: We started with team nursing, I think that was the thing at the time we opened.
Which reminds me October 20, is the anniversary of Shands opening.
S: Is it?
C: 1958 was the year, so 1958--this is 2001, take-away fifty-eight, so that's forty
three years ago, next Saturday. What is today? Thursday, the eighteenth?
S: Yes, it will be Saturday.
C: That was quite a big deal.
S: Do you remember the first patient?
C: Yes, Mary Ann Smith or Nancy Sue Smith. In fact, I have her picture. I have the
brochure of that day. You know, Dorothy's papers and letters and things have
gone to the University of Pennsylvania. I didn't know whether to send my
material up there. I had two or three boxes of stuff left when I retired that are
with the archivist in the library at the health center and I suspect those things are
still in those boxes.
S: Who was the archivist at that time?
C: The archivist at the time was Susan McKinney, who I have no hope at all, is still
S: They have someone now, who is on a library line I believe, dedicated to the
College of Nursing.
C: The library came and took my boxes up there--pictures, faculty minutes, notes
like the first faculty minutes, first meeting which would give names and dates
and curriculum guides and things that I thought would be historical. Whether
they end up being that or not, I don't know.
S: I'll see if Jim or this new person knows where that is or has plans for it because
Kathy Long [current dean], I am sure would be interested.
C: Yes, because there should be a place in our new building for something like that.
S: Yes, and I think Kathy genuinely appreciates the history upon which she is
building. Another issue under my cultural question has to do with gender. When
did male nurses come into the field, or when you started seeing any females in
C: We had a female in medicine in the first class.
S: Did you?
C: Yes, Jean ... I went to the Citrus Bowl with her. She comes to town all the time.
She's a pediatrician in Clearwater, somewhere.
C: There was, at least, her, and there may have been more.
S: But women were definitely a minority?
C: Yes, sure, we were a minority. I think Ray Massa was our first male student, but
I'm not positive about that. Lois Knowles should know that more than I do,
because she was always more involved in the admissions process. Not that I
didn't serve, but I was on curriculum and admissions committee. Also, the
nurses who came to work at Shands--the staff nurses--came with their old school
kind of thinking. A lot of them were diploma graduates who did not understand
baccalaureate education, and thought that the students weren't getting enough
clinical, either. They thought students should be there eight hours a day, five
days a week. I mean, after all, that's what we did.
S: Yes, there was a lot of that.
C: Right, there was a lot of that. I think the hospital did a good thing. They only
opened one floor at a time. They opened the third floor and admitted, as I said,
Nancy Sue Smith and she was in the hospital that whole weekend by herself. I
think she had about six nurses taking care of her. Then, they admitted mostly
adult patents, medical surgical patients. When they had a staff of nurses
oriented and we had doctors ready to care for more patients, they opened a
medical-surgical floor on the fourth floor and left third floor to be maternity and
maybe, pediatrics, too. I don't remember how pediatrics got worked in there.
Then, when we had enough staff, we separated medicine and surgery and the
fifth floor was opened. When we had enough staff in specialties, we separated
the specialities into two floors, fifth and sixth. I think pediatrics by this time, was
open. Pediatrics opened sometime up there after the third floor did, and
S: When those nurses who were from different educational backgrounds worked
together, did they learn to appreciate each other?
C: Yes, I think so. Of course, we weren't there as the staff all the time when they
learned to work together. The Nurse Ill's [term denoting the Nursing Manager of
a nursing unit] were very good. I'm not sure all of them had bachelors degrees;
that was certainly the aim.
S: You went back to school then, sometime in that period?
C: Yes, I started taking courses. I started the first semester of September 1957,
and took piano lessons from Russell Danburg. I think I might have done that for
two semesters, but then I didn't know what I wanted to get my degree in. Then I
decided I would get it in psychology because I was becoming interested in
counseling students and wanting to know more about that. If I was going to go
into psychology, I had a lot of undergraduate courses to take, so I started with
statistics. I figured if I can do statistics I can probably do anything. I did. I got an
"A"; I couldn't believe it. There was a guy who was in pre-med (he finally did get
into medicine) so we studied together. They gave open book exams.
I did statistics and I took the history of science. I took experimental psychology.
That was when statistics was in each department. You had statistics for
psychology, statistics for business, statistics for agriculture, and then they got a
new department head who said statistics are statistics. That was later. Then I
got into the graduate program. Psychology was in the College of Arts and
Sciences and I made my GRE average of 505, I think, which was what I needed.
I was taking them one course at a time. In the summer I may have taken two
courses but finally, I just had twelve hours left to do. So, I went full time in the
spring semester of 1963. I graduated and got my degree.
S: In psychology?
C: No, I ended up with my degree in education because the psychology department
at that time was pretty much rat-oriented [indicating a period of time when
psychology based much of their research on studies using laboratory animals]. It
was more experimental psychology more than counseling psychology. I also
found out that I could get a practicum in educational counseling through the
counseling department in Education. So, that's what I did and I didn't have to
write a thesis. I transferred there and started taking courses. I was taking a
counseling course during the Cuban missile crisis. I had to miss class because I
had to be at the shelter since they were taking attendance.
S: At the Health Center?
S: Where was the shelter in the health center, Carol?
C: It was down on the ground floor under all the pipes and everything. We each
kept drinking water, but we didn't have sense enough to change it. So, I finally
threw it out. I mean, it had things growing in it you wouldn't believe.
S: We have talked about some of the racial issues. Over the course of your career,
you have seen the size and complexity of Shands change.
C: Yes, it definitely, has done that. That reminds me that when I first came here, I
used to enjoy riding down Archer Rd. and looking at the lights on in the hospital
and saying I work there. It gave me a thrill just to see the place. It's sort of like I
would imagine when you have a child, a grandma notices how much the child
grew in the period of time when they last saw them, but you don't. The same is
true for working at Shands in the sense that, the changes that occurred while we
were working there, seemed logical. You didn't notice too much. When they
started to build the new Shands Hospital, I mean, they just gutted everything and
left the cement pillars and the walls. I have no clue now what's in old Shands
because I never took a tour. I left.
S: When was that renovation? When was that new building?
C: I did teach in new Shands several years because I had a sabbatical in 1985
when I did two weeks of staff nursing in new Shands; I took a team of patients. It
was open before then, probably 1983. I don't think all the renovation in the old
Shands was complete when the new Shands opened. It couldn't have been
because they had to move the patients out before they gutted. Some of it
opened before I left in 1987.
S: When you first came to University of Florida, did faculty have input into the
C: No, Dorothy might have but when I came in 1957, they were already putting up
the bricks outside the dining room area and the structure was all pretty much in
place. Henry Hinkley, was the facility's manager for that.
S: Yes, I remember hearing his name.
C: We used to go over from our offices on the second floor and sneak in through the
connecting corridor. We would wander through the operating room suites could
see the progress. It was very exciting.
S: Exciting times.
C: It was very exciting. They've used Dial soap from the beginning and there was an
odor of Dial soap in the hospital. So every time I went to the third floor to see
patients I always remember the odor of Dial soap.
S: My question is prompted by those who say that Shands is so huge and so
complex that they question the quality of care.
C: I don't think that there is any question about that. It is a major medical center.
The philosophy broke down when the original people left. Those who followed
had not been that committed to it when they came on staff. They were
specialists. The whole idea of medical practice was specialization even though
George Harrell wanted more family practitioners; he really did. It was fighting an
uphill battle because the physicians he hired to teach the medical students were
specialists. So, they had speciality house staff. Now, of course, they have a
speciality of Family Practice.
S: That is an ironic circle.
C: Yes, and it didn't take six months for nursing to revert to old school nursing. It
didn't take a minute. It was the most unbelievable reversal that I have ever seen.
S: In what ways?
C: I think the first person that came in to be [Nursing Service Director] ... Carol
Bradshaw was in charge of the nursing side of the house.
S: Nursing Administration ...
C: From 1969 to 1970, was the year I served as clinician in charge of the sixth floor,
the surgical unit. I didn't have a student group that year, I was in charge of the
S: Nursing Practice...
C: It was the most important year of my whole professional career. I learned more
about nursing and staff nurses and how to get along with both. It was the most
frustrating year I have ever spent. I worked fifty-two weeks to the day on that
ward as nurse in charge. So, that's fifty-two time schedules for staffing and we
never worked one, the way it was originally planned. Not one. So, we had to call
people all the time. I had to work shifts to cover and fill in. There was an aide
who always had a particular time off because she planted her garden, then. That
is that story. So Carol Bradshaw left. The junior college opened and she went to
be in charge of the junior college. Marian McKenna was--I don't know if she was
Dorothy's assistant--high up in the office, downstairs. I guess she was trying to
run the hospital. Marian was never a nursing service type person and she said I
can't do this, I've got to hire somebody else to do this. She hired Julian
S: I didn't realize that.
C: Yes, I believe that's how it went and he came in: "old school to the nines." The
first thing he did was change the vital sign sheet; he changed all the charting
forms. So, now we were not going to chart routine care. We were only going to
chart significant data. Julian couldn't stand that. He wanted to know whether the
baths had been given. He changed all the forms, required all this picky stuff.
Well, the nurses who weren't quite sure of Dorothy's philosophy, boy, I mean,
they just went right in with him. He got supervisors. We hadn't been using
supervisors. The clinician of the unit had been in charge and was on call. He
appointed head nurses ..
S: And he brought back nursing caps ... [mandatory wearing of starched, white
C: There were new uniform regulations and I remember he didn't want the nursing
staff, especially the supervisors, to continue as being part of the faculty. He
didn't like that. So, that separated the faculty from the hospital.
S: The original intent in nursing had been to...
C: ... to be one group. He didn't like the fact that students were on the ward by
themselves without a faculty member. That was the biggest problem because
students, especially senior students were going on the units to take care of the
patients they were following. I had several students on the unit with my Surgery
II patients. I had a senior practicum student who acted as the intern with those
students and I was available to them because I made rounds twice a day,
regardless. I didn't go home until the patients were relatively stable and families
had been seen. Ciccatello wanted a contract between the college and the
hospital. It got very formal and part of the faculty liked it that way. That is when it
began to unravel for Dorothy.
S: Dorothy believed in organized collection of data from the patients centered
around the nursing history.
C: Yes, she and Eileen Pearlman developed the nursing history form over time, with
the help of the faculty. We would try it out; we tried different ways of interacting
with patients, because we had a faculty development group that was our
continuing education program. We would discuss patients and these kinds of
things. We had Nursing Rounds--each unit had nursing rounds--and Dorothy
would try to go to most of them.
S: We had Nursing Grand Rounds.
C: We had Nursing Grand Rounds which was a particular unit presenting to all of
the nurses in the health center. This was also when the problem-oriented system
of charting was coming out in medicine.
S: The Weed Method.
C: Weed, right.
S: S.O.A.P. charting. [Weed authored a book for organizing medical charting using
'S' to indicate subjective data, '0' to indicate objective data, 'A' for assessment,
and 'P' for the plan.]
C: Dorothy could see how that would work in nursing and it could have ...
S: It still does in many places.
C: Yes, it probably does. I don't know what it is about nursing or nurses that each
group has to devise its own vocabulary, or its own chart thing. It can't use
someone else's. To me the system of S.O.A.P. charting was so simple. It was
so logical and those nurses fought like heck against it, and couldn't learn the
difference between objective and subjective data. They couldn't learn how to
draw conclusion from those data, and could not learn how to make a plan based
on those conclusions. They were doing care but it was so garbled and mixed
up. They were calling the assessment the objective data. It was a mess.
S: I know that Dorothy was certainly getting pressure and opposition from people in
the College of Medicine. Do you remember when Dorothy felt like she had to
C: Are you talking about when she left the deanship or when she left the college?
S: First, the deanship.
C: That was in the early 1970's, I'm never quite sure. I always have to look up and
associate it with when I went to Wayne State for three weeks for a course on
physical assessment for baccalaureate faculty because that was when she left
the faculty, altogether. I think it was 1971 or something like that. She left the
deanship and came on the faculty.
S: And her objective was to ... ?
C: ... to be a faculty member.
S: And spend more time in patient care?
C: Yes. She wanted to take care of patients and teach, and that's all she wanted.
But, she did not want to give up her faculty right to speak, and she was denied
her faculty right to speak. She was so threatening to the powers that be (that
were in charge), she was told not to speak up in faculty meetings.
S: Was this in the college of nursing?
S: By the health center?
C: No, this is by nursing powers. I don't know if you want to use their names or not.
It was Doris Payne who talked to her about it, as I recall. That should always be
stipulated. There is no doubt that those of us who had worked with Dorothy were
more likely to listen to Dorothy when she spoke up than we were likely to listen to
somebody who was going against what Dorothy and early faculty had worked on.
The people who came in were employed because they were against what
Dorothy believed in.
S: The interim dean was Judy Moore for a while?
C: ... a year and a half. I don't know. I don't know what she says to your face--to
anyone's face, but she was not on Dorothy's side. That's a crude way to put it,
and that's not entirely fair because she would say she was in favor of Dorothy. I
am sure she would say that, but she wasn't. She didn't like Lois Knowles; Lois
Knowles didn't like her. Lois Knowles was in charge of the curriculum. It's a
wonder the two survived. I'm not sure they actually did well with each other.
S: And Lois was still in the assistant dean position.
C: Absolutely, and Lois's nose was completely out of joint that she did not get the
interim dean position, like she should have.
S: She certainly had the knowledge base and the ability to do so.
C: Right, so there was that wedge in the faculty.
S: ... while they are looking for a permanent dean?
S: And a search committee?
C: A search committee consisting entirely of people who were against us, in our
minds. Again, I don't know what they would say. Frankly, they employed a
woman for the next dean who was not adequate. I don't know whether they tried
their best and thought she was the best candidate. I have never been able to
talk with any of them about it because I was so upset by it all.
S: It was a terrible time.
C: So, we were two armed camps and Dorothy stayed awhile under the new dean.
S: And the new dean was Blanche Urey?
C: Blanche Urey. I mean she was stupid. She had no brains; she could not think.
Her idea was as old school as anybody's had been. We are going to teach these
kids how to do all these things in the classroom before they ever go on the unit
and she was as rigid as the rest of them had been. Whatever had been started
in the hospital, she finished. So that she did not encourage us to work with
patients at all. In fact, it was rather threatening to her if we did, I think. I don't
know. We were all a threat to her, just a total threat.
S: Do you think she helped the college go backwards?
C: Yes, absolutely. She put another notch in going backwards. After Blanche died
while dean, I can't believe what Dr. William Deal did, Provost at the time. They
were looking for another dean and we had two candidates here: Barbara Hanson
and Lois Malasanos. I had enjoyed my conversations with both of them. Willie
Deal said, do you have a preference? I said, it doesn't really matter. I think I can
work with either one. And we took Lois instead of Barbara Hanson who has
gone on to do great research. Maybe Barbara Hansen wouldn't have been any
good as a dean. I think she's a dean someplace else, now. She was a terrific
young person. Lois tried to improve things, but Dorothy was such a threat to her.
I couldn't believe it. Dorothy wasn't even on the faculty but Lois couldn't stand
anything associated with Dorothy. Nothing. It was to the point where she
couldn't even be nice to Dorothy. Lois treated Dorothy terribly, and it really hurt
Dorothy a lot. Kathy Long, the current Dean did make up some and overcame
quite a bit, but nothing could erase that, totally ignoring her. I married Ken
Christiansen who was very well respected in the College of Journalism and
Communications. They still invite me to their events. I'm still invited to their
retired faculty luncheons; I'm still invited to their awards ceremony because a
scholarship is given in Ken's name. I mean, we were married twelve years.
Dorothy didn't get invited to anything. Or if she did, Oh, by the way, Dorothy we
are having a great big production tomorrow with outside speakers. We'd like you
to come. Give me a break. I don't know why they were so threatened. I really
don't know what was so threatening to them. We were so well respected in the
whole nursing world.
S: Tell me about the visitors from all over the world.
C: All over the world. We were on the World Health Organization travel circuit.
Every person in nursing who was a leader in 1957 to 1960 came to visit us--
every single one who was published in nursing.
S: Prominent deans?
C: Prominent deans, prominent practitioners,
S: Leaders in the nation, I remember.
C: Yes, everyone and we haven't had one, since.
S: Do you recall the international Bogota, Columbia relationship, when some of the
pediatric people did an exchange program there?
C: Yes, could have. Of course we have Simpson, the midwife who does work down
in the Carribean somewhere so she may be taking some of her students there.
S: In looking back on Dorothy's era as dean, one knows in retrospect that things will
not stay the same.
C: Dorothy wasn't against change.
S: Absolutely not, she, of all people, knew it was inevitable.
C: People might not think so, but she was always willing to listen to an idea.
S: I've seen her do an about face.
S: With additional data, she was always open.
C: Her point was data.
S: That's right.
C: Dorothy believed in logical thinking, looking at all the ramifications, and then
making a decision. That's what she would try to help us do as a faculty when
she was a dean. It was what she tried to do in faculty meetings when we seemed
to be going off the deep end.
S: If you look back on your career, predominantly with the college of nursing and
look at Dorothy's legacy or that of college of nursing, what could you summarize?
C: Dorothy's legacy, as far as our graduates are concerned, was that they
graduated liking nursing. Many of them are still nursing from the first few
classes. They were strong women, who did not let people walk all over them.
They did not go into any institution or agency with the idea that they were going
to just do what everybody had always done before. A lot of them made a lot of
changes in different hospital practices, agency practices, or curriculum places. I
mean Linda Aiken [prominent representative of Robert Wood Foundation who
has been instrumental in directing funding for health and nursing research
projects] is one of the most outstanding nurses in the United States at this point.
S: She is a prime example and she gives credit [to her UF education] all the time.
C: Right, and there are other... Others that have not been quite as prominent, but
have done equally well. Pat Chamings got her... I think she got a degree from
us. She came as a Nurse III and I think she got her masters. She has done
really well as a dean in her business. Carole Patterson has done really well with
the Joint Commission [for Accreditation for Health Care Organizations, JCAHO].
We had a faculty reunion thing and the first class was honored. I guess that was
just last fall. I was impressed with what the graduates had done. I think maybe
the college is still doing that. I think the students graduate as competent and
they continue to practice nursing. When I graduated, we had done so much
nursing, we were ready to escape from patient care. I had been there and done
that. Actually my classmates did better at it than I did.
S: I would say you found your niche.
C: I did find a niche. My very first job out of college was as a camp nurse the
summer after I graduated, at a girl scout camp: Camp Bonnie Brae in East Otis,
S: Did you enjoy that?
C: Yes, I didn't know anything about what I was doing but I enjoyed it. I had to
inspect kids for red throats when they came in when they came to camp on a
Sunday afternoon. The first Sunday I thought, I have never looked at a kid's
throat to see if it was red. I don't have a clue what I'm looking for.
S: Your first assessment course.
C: My first assessment course. The director of the camp helped me learn a lot.
Anyway, she came in one morning when I was still in bed and she said, what do
you want out of life? I said I don't know. I want to make a big name for myself.
She said, well that is what our party is for tonight. Come dressed as what you
want in life. So, I got a lot of brown paper and I wrote a great big name. My
camp name was Kim and I thought to myself, yes, I made a name for myself in
C: I published a research article, it was related to students but none the less it was
in nursing research. It was the first faculty member to be published in Nursing
Research. I published several other articles. I wrote a book with another
colleague--a cardiovascular nursing book. We sold more than 5,000 copies, I
S: I think that's making a name for yourself.
C: Yes, so it's out of print now, but my sister-in-law and brother were stuck in a
hospital in Auburn, New York and one of the nurses in the coronary care unit said
"Hayes"--that name sounds familiar I think I read a book by that person. It was
S: Isn't that something?
C: I wish we had been able to get more feedback from people who read it, but
nobody cared to write us or in any journal.
S: That's a good experience though, don't you think?
C: Karen Majorowicz and I did it. I don't know if you knew Karen.
S: Yes, I did.
C: It was on cardiovascular nursing care plans. It was written for the practicing
nurse, not for the student. The thing about it that's really good is that it included
care plans that nurses could xerox and give to families. We had family
information, and family and patient information, care plans for the nurses, and
background information that was the rationale for the health care plans. We
covered arrhythmias, heart surgery, constipation, and sleeplessness. I did most
of the interpersonal stuff, anxiety, depression, pre-op preparation, post-op, the
surgical aspects. She did the drugs, physiology, arrhythmias, and those aspects.
S: In thinking of over the length of our careers, just think of what's been done in
terms of thoracic surgery.
S: Do you remember the first time you took care of a patient like that?
C: Well, we used the recovery room space in Shands initially, only for open heart
surgery patients, although they may have been taking some of the post-op
patients in there. It was built with a recovery room that had only about eight bed
spaces. No monitors but we did put a monitor on that open heart patient. When
I first started working with open heart patients in the early 1960s, we brought
them in, at least a week in advance for work up. After surgery, they were in the
ICU for a good number of days--what we called the ICU. It was a recovery room
area. It wasn't separated from the other beds. Yet, by 1969 when I was the
Nurse III up on the sixth floor, we were having bedside monitors for post-op
patients or patients who were having arrhythmia trouble. So, the nurses were
beginning to do that. In fact, I went to Miami for a week course in
electrocardiogram reading at Miami Heart Institute. We had a lot of opportunity
to go to conferences. We didn't make much money but we had money for travel
and educational meetings. We went to ANA conventions; we went to National
League of Nursing conventions. I guess I went to a Sigma Theta Tau convention
when I was the president of the local chapter. You know, almost everybody got
at least one educational program somewhere.
S: That was so valuable for people who wanted to expand their knowledge in their
C: I went to Wayne State one summer. I went to a Texas Women's University
course over two periods. I went, once in the winter time for the didactic content
and then we went back in the summer for patient care.
S: Was that in Houston or Denton?
C: It was in Houston. It was at their branch in Houston--that's where their clinical
areas are located. I learned my way around Houston quite well; I wouldn't know
it now. I stayed at the Surrey Motel; it was wonderful. It was a room. It was an
efficiency so I was able to cook my meals and run my three miles around the
S: Was it Marian McKenna's grant that brought in the summer master's program?
C: Yes. That was the summer master's program. I guess Marian probably wrote
S: Everybody from Kubler Ross to Lulu Hassenplug to ...
C: An OB woman ...
C: Yes, Ernestine. In fact, there was a faculty member from Wayne State that was
one of the adult surgical consultants. It was through her that I heard about the
course up there for assessments skills. I was doing a nursing history on a
person in the hospital in Wayne County Hospital. I was asking different
questions. I think the patient said, you don't know much about drugs, do you?
She was in jail for drug abuse, drug trafficking or something. I don't even know
what kinds of questions I must have been asking. She said, you don't know
much about drugs do you? I said no, I've got to confess, I really don't.
S: Are there questions I haven't asked you that you would like to address?
C: That's what I used to always put at the end of my nursing histories. I would say,
we've talked about a lot of things but have I missed the thing that is the most
important to you. Sometimes, I'd get something and sometimes, I wouldn't.
Well, if I could think of what it is I forgot.
S: We can add names or dates later.
C: If I remember, it was something I had done that other's had not had the
opportunity to do. I know what it is. I taught care of the cardiovascular patient for
the Florida Heart Association. We had workshops here in Gainesville and out of
town. I think I did five of them. I think I did three, here, and one in Panama City.
S: Was this for nurses?
C: For nurses, right. Local nurses were to learn about open heart surgery, or
medical care of patients and how to take care of them. We had different
experiences. I think Panama City is the only one I can think of when I went out of
town. That involved going over there and talking to the people at Bay County
Hospital and finding out what kind of facilities they had so I would know what kind
of program to include.
S: When did you do this?
C: This is in the middle 1960's. Dot Sapp was her name. She was the nurse
working with Dr. Wheat in the open heart surgery patients at the time. She and I
worked together with open heart surgery so she helped with those. He lectured,
and Jape Taylor, professor of medicine at Shands Hospital, I think, lectured.
Then I wrote a report of the workshops for the Heart Association. It was well
received. I worked with David Legate at the continuing education department at
the university who sponsored it. He made a lot of the detailed arrangements of
registration. He was one of the people that died in a plane crash, here. So, that
was too bad. I remember hearing about that in the middle of the office suite
upstairs on the fifth floor. That was what went through my mind, not that other's
didn't hold workshops.
S: I think that is another indicator of the leadership that the college took, both as
individuals and collectively. We had the clinical opportunities in what was going
on as medicine and health care advanced. It was exciting to be on the cutting
edge of what that meant for nursing.
C: I was going to expand that project. This was Dorothy's idea. I mean the
workshops were Dorothy's idea. I needed a focus. I needed to be involved in
something; I was just kind of messing around and wasn't doing much. The Heart
Association approached her and I may have been already working with heart
patients so I was the logical one to get the workshop offer. Then, I was going to
expand the project into a community type project and work with community
nurses--helping them learn what they needed to know in order to help families. I
don't remember what it was all about. Marian McKenna was dean of the nursing
program at Daytona Beach Junior College. I think they called her the director.
She had good contacts in the community and she worked a lot to help me get
with community people. I went over there several times but I got cold feet,
panicked and dropped it. Marian was not happy. Our relationship survived that,
but that was my failure. That was one of the things I feel I failed at--to have
dropped it so precipitously.
S: It just kind of got overwhelming?
C: Yes, it got overwhelming and I don't remember any more than that. I just
remember that I dropped it. I think I was trying to write a grant to support it and
it wasn't coming together well at all. I thought, I can't do this.
S: When you were talking about Dorothy, and how she would match her faculty with
opportunities--I heard a lot of those stories from various people. They would say,
I never even knew a certain opportunity was out there and Dorothy suggested,
I'm the one. That is another thing to Dorothy's credit--that she would select you.
You would think, I'm not prepared for this. She would match faculty members
with something that would be a growth experience for them. Faculty would not
see it coming until they had been talked into it and realize what she was doing in
retrospect. She was very good with developing people around her.
C: That was her whole goal in life. She said, I'm not here to make a name for
myself. I'm here to help you make a name for yourself. If you make a name for
yourself, then you will get the graduate students to come here to study with you
because that's what graduate students do. They look for outstanding faculty
members. It doesn't matter whether it's nursing or biochemistry, or music, or
S: She really was extremely generous.
C: Right, and wanted to make sure what you were investigating this year? How is it
S: I think she could tell if you were plateauing in your job and couldn't find your own
C: Yes, and sometimes she had to let faculty go because of that. Others, she could
spur on. We fished or we cut bait. She was not about to keep you if you were
sloughing off your responsibilities; if students couldn't find you; your reports were
S: I think her loyalty was as a patient advocate including patients' families, and that
extended to the same kind of loyalty to students. So, if faculty were dropping the
ball, she couldn't handle. Most nurses can buy into that without any difficulty at
all, but that's where the priorities ought to be.
C: So, it was an exciting time to work in something that was so new, and so well
respected outside of the college walls.
S: If a young person would come to you this year and ask your advice about nursing
as a career, what would you say?
C: That would be a hard question to answer in many respects. I think I would try to
find out what the young person was thinking in regards to nursing. What had
she been told about it already? What expectations did she have of it? Where
did she want to go with it? If anybody had asked me these questions, I wouldn't
have had a clue.
S: They're very important questions, though.
C: I found kids these days know more about themselves than I ever knew. I just
didn't know my own thoughts and feelings at that age.
S: I also think we did not have that many opportunities. There weren't that many
choices for a career for women.
C: That's true, although I did not feel that there was something that I could not go
into because I was a woman. There were things I didn't care anything about;
there were things I knew I wouldn't be any good at.
S: But we didn't have women engineers and women lawyers as role models.
C: No, we didn't but I think if I had wanted to be one ...
S: ... it wouldn't have stopped you.
C: ... it wouldn't have stopped me. Now maybe the fact that women weren't in
those professions . I didn't even think about them, and that's a possibility but
I knew I couldn't do math worth a darn. I was not a writer of any sort. So, that
leaves out two thirds of what is available to do, anyway. I didn't know that I liked
teaching; I found that out in school when I was teaching a maternity class.
S: I want to thank you so much for your time.
C: It was kind of free wheeling.
S: No. Occasionally, I would come to the next major topic and you were already
onto that. So, chronologically, it's going to make a lot of sense.