This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviewee: Virginia Strozier
Interviewer: Ann Smith
October 22, 2001
Pages 1: Strozier was born in Brownsville, Tennessee, in 1921. She received a B.S. degree in
elementary education from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. She worked for an
insurance company and then for the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A
colleague at a nearby desk was a nurse and Strozier became interested in the field while talking
with her. She discovered if she wanted to go into nursing, that year, 1945, was the last year she
would be able to receive governmental money toward her education. She entered Vanderbilt
University School of Nursing in 1945 and graduated in 1948 with her B.S. in Nursing.
Pages 2-4: After staying to work a few months in obstetrics at Vanderbilt Hospital, she moved to
Ann Arbor, Michigan. She continued to work in the field of obstetrics at the University of
Michigan Medical Center for a year and a half. She enjoyed living with other nurses and living
the life of winter sports and Big Ten football. She was assigned as an assistant supervisor and a
teacher in the OB unit.
Strozier enjoyed the teaching and was drawn to study for a masters at the University of
Chicago in 1952-1953. Before completing the thesis, she followed a professor whom she had
known at Vanderbilt, Lulu Hassenplug, to California to begin a new nursing program at UCLA.
She taught pediatrics there from 1953 to 1957 when she came to Florida.
Pages 5-10: When Strozier joined the faculty at the University of Florida, it was a year after
Dorothy Smith had been appointed. Others already on board were Carol Hayes, Dot Luther, Jen
Wilson, Lois Knowles and possibly Polly Barton and Edna Jones. She spent her first night in the
Thomas Hotel, now known as the Thomas Center. She was taken to Cedar Key for dinner and
was interviewed by nursing faculty and someone from the College of Medicine.
She was hired as an instructor but since there were still no students admitted, she was to
audit course that the future students were to take. She also worked at Alachua General Hospital
in preparation for the pediatric students and their their clinical experience since Shands was still
under construction. There were some pediatrics but she also cared for adult patients. Her
choice had come to be the care of ambulatory pediatrics.
Strozier recalled the over-riding belief of Dorothy Smith's was that, in order to teach
most anything in nursing, you needed to be able to do it and contribute in patient care. She also
believed that the patient was the center of the care complex and that nurses must be involved in
all aspects of the planning, preparation and delivery of patient care. Faculty were expected to
become involved at the departmental level, faculty level, Health Center level, community level
and beyond. Strozier was also part of an exchange program through the Rockefeller Foundation,
to Cali, Columbia, from The Health Center, including nurses and physicians.
Pages 11-15: Strozier spent most of her clinical time in ambulatory settings and could speak only
briefly on how the unit-manager system worked and how the nursing history form was accepted
in the hospital setting. She recalled when male nursing students made an appearance.
When asked about the time of desegregation in Gainesville, Strozier said she selected
community schools with that in mind. She took students to Palmer King Daycare Center in east
Gainesville and to Metcalf Elementary School which at that time was the regional school for
handicapped children from several counties.
As the Health Center has grown, Strozier believes that leadership is vital to maintaining
the quality of care for the institution.
Strozier retired in 1984 but has followed the progress of the College of Nursing and
attends graduation ceremonies and Heritage Luncheons given by the current Dean Kathy Long
for former faculty.
Page 16: In 1975, she took advantage of a program to train nurse-practitioners. She took her
initial training in Virginia and then followed that with further training at Alachua General
Hospital in a large pediatric clinic. Strozier recalls her career as rewarding and, as a single
parent, a way to get away from the wear and tear at home. The career offered her opportunities
to learn and to travel to educational programs. She recalls being with students when the news
came of John F. Kennedy's assassination, as they came to her, one by one, weeping.
Interviewee: Virginia Strozier
Interviewer: Ann Smith
Date: October 22, 2001
S: My name is Ann Smith and today is October 22, 2001. I am a volunteer with the
Oral History Program at the University of Florida, interviewing Virginia Strozier.
Strozier is a retired member of the College of Nursing faculty at the University of
Florida. Virginia, where were you born?
V: Brownsville, Tennessee, which is seventy miles from Memphis, Tennessee.
S: Do you mind saying when you were born?
V: 1921. I am 80 years old. I can not believe it.
S: Ages are not the same as they were when we were growing up.
V: That's right. I don't think I had any relatives that I was able to be around at all
that were that old.
S: Did you go to high school in Brownsville?
V: I grew up there. I had one sister, Mary Anne, who was four years younger than I
was. We both grew up in Brownsville. I went to elementary school and high
school there. Then I left and that was the end of my living in Brownsville. I
returned for a high school reunion which I greatly enjoyed. I first went to college
at what was called Tennessee College for Women. This was a girls' school in
S: You went to a small girls' college for how long?
V: Two years. Then I transferred to Peabody College in Nashville. Murfreesboro is
not far out of Nashville. I got a B.S. degree with a major in elementary education
and a minor in music. Then I worked, maybe about six months, for one of the big
insurance companies in Nashville. I'm not sure which one. Then I went to work
in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I was doing drafting for the TVA.
S: Yes, Tennessee Valley Authority.
V: A person who had been a nurse, a missionary nurse in China, soon began
working there, and was assigned a desk near where I was working in the TVA
office. In essence, I have to say she interested me in nursing--not missionary
work--but in nursing. So I got busy and started thinking about it. I looked it up
and found out that I was in the last year in which it would be possible to receive a
governmental grant of money for my entire nursing education.
S: That would have been what year?
V: I stopped work there and entered nursing at Vanderbilt University School of
Nursing in 1945 and graduated in 1948 with a B.S. in Nursing. Of course, since I
mainly did pediatric nursing the rest of my life, I did use some material from my
B.S. in my other major. I figure my first degree was for my mother.
S: Tell me about your nursing program. Have medical science and health care over
the years? What was it like to take care of patients? What do you remember
about your first patient?
V: Well, when I graduated with my B.S. in Nursing, I stayed on with Vanderbilt
Hospital until the first of the year. I graduated in August of 1948. I stayed on and
worked in the obstetrical unit until the first of the year. To be quite honest with
you, I do not have any memories that feed into that. I am just drawing a blank.
Nothing stands out.
S: Do you remember having a student uniform when you were in school?
V: Oh, yes. What color was it?
S: Did you have the apron and cuffs?
V: I had a cap. I still have that, the cap. I still have the pin. I can not remember the
color of the uniform dress and we did have an apron. A white apron that just slid
over and opened down each side. I do not remember anything special about
working in the obstetrical unit. I enjoyed it, but I could not wait to leave to go to
Ann Arbor, Michigan, the first of the year because that is Big Ten football country
and that is where I wanted to go.
S: So, you worked in obstetrics and then left?
V: I was assigned about a year and a half in an adult surgical unit in the Ann Arbor
Hospital. This was the University of Michigan Medical Center. I enjoyed that. I
ended up living with some other nurses who were new to the hospital at that
time. They were from several different places. That was interesting and fun. I
liked Ann Arbor. I had never been in Michigan before. That was where I went
skiing for the first and only time. One winter I was up there, and I went on a
specially planned trip. I do not know who sponsored it, a business obviously.
We went to the Upper Peninsula, and I did pretty well for a beginner. I really
enjoyed it. I thought, if I had just grown up in a northern state, I would have done
this every day. I loved it. I fell a couple of times, too. But it was fun.
S: So you stayed there for about a year and a half?
V: Then I was given a different assignment and my assignment was assistant
supervisor and teacher in the OB [Obstetrical] unit.
S: When you say you were given an assignment, this was by the hospital?
V: I am not sure. They had to have known my credentials when I applied. I really
do not know anything about that.
S: This was not to pay back the grant? This did not have anything to do with the
grant that paid for your education?
V: Oh, no. That was the U.S. government grant, completely different, and finished
the day of graduation. I have forgotten the name of it, the program. You would
recognize the name of that program because they were short of nurses during
World War II. Cadet Corps Program was the name; that's it, exactly. So that
was great. I wouldn't have been able to go [to school] otherwise.
S: I think that was an advantage to a lot of people. Then were you assistant
V: Yes, and I guess, an instructor. It was a dual appointment.
S: So you were teaching student nurses? Did you like it, right off the bat?
V: Yes, I did. I felt very green at it, but I liked it and I liked the staff I was working
with. It was certainly learning for me from day one. I do not remember if there
was anything specifically that made me come to know that I wanted to major in
pediatrics. There was also a book that came out about that time by a woman;
the author of the book taught at the University of Chicago. I cannot call her name
up, and I do not have the book any longer. But that was part of the draw to the
University of Chicago. So, I went from the University of Michigan to the
University of Chicago and spent parts of 1952 and 1953 doing the masters work
on campus. By the time I finished, I had not written my dissertation yet, so I had
to do that in the following year at UCLA which is where I went from Chicago.
S: What drew you to UCLA?
V: Well, the dean there had been a head person at Vanderbilt.
So, Lulu Hassenplug was there, as well as Dorothy Johnson, who had taught me
pediatric nursing at Vanderbilt. I think there was a third person from Vandy
[Vanderbilt], but I do not remember who it was. I was hired to go and teach
pediatric nursing there.
S: What a wonderful opportunity.
V: I am wrong. I do not think Dorothy Johnson went there. She was a good friend
of Lulu's. Lulu was recruited there to start a new school of nursing at UCLA.
S: So it was a new nursing program?
V: Brand-new. That was between 1953 and1957. Then, I left in 1957 to come to
Florida when we were starting a new College of Nursing.
S: How did that come about?
V: My father was not in good health. He still lived in Brownsville, but he lived with
his sister. They were keeping me informed that his health was going down, so I
wanted to return to the Southeast for that reason. As I began looking around, I
was interested in applying here. So I did, and I was asked to come to interview.
I did. They hired me.
S: With whom did you interview, do you remember? The program had not started
V: No students, yet. I think Dorothy had been here a year. I came during her
second year probably. I have forgotten whether Polly was already there or not,
Polly Barton. I have forgotten who was there--not a whole lot of people certainly.
Carol Hayes was there, and Dot Luther, and Jennette Wilson, and Lois Knowles.
I have forgotten whether Edna Jones was there yet or not. Edna's brother lived
in Gainesville at this time. They subsequently moved to Jacksonville and her
brother has died. I remember that I spent the night at the Thomas Hotel, now
known as the Thomas Center. I did not know until very recently that the Thomas
Center had--earlier, historically--been a hospital, even back maybe as far as the
Civil War. I went over to a Christmas Eve-type program on the weekend before
Christmas last year at the Thomas Center. They had a Christmas tree that
reached all the way up to the ceiling. The decorations were gorgeous. I got to
meet Cat, a person currently on the faculty. I talked with her some before many
people arrived. Then I sat at a table with three new faculty and another I already
knew. I have forgotten what the program was but it was real nice to go there.
That is where I stayed when I came for my interview. They took me over to
Cedar Key for dinner. So, that was a big thing. I cannot remember for sure who
else I interviewed with other than, I imagine, somebody on the medical staff.
There would not have been many people.
S: What was your first impression of meeting Dorothy Smith [founding dean of the
College of Nursing]?
V: I liked her. I liked her in any way I could think of. I do not know that we got into
all of her philosophy.
S: Not during the interview?
V: Right. I guess she was interested enough in me that she wanted me to come.
She invited me to come.
S: In what position? Did you start in pediatrics?
V: I was hired as an instructor. See, the first year I was here, there were still no
students. So several of us--I do not know how many, at least two or three
people--went around [University of Florida campus] to audit the courses that our
students were required to take. I audited at least two. I do not even remember
what they were now. But neither one of them had content that I had ever had in
a college course, so I really enjoyed it. This was part of the required curriculum
at that time for everybody receiving a bachelor's degree-or maybe more
appropriately, the first two years. That would have been it.
S: Was that the lower division courses before the nurses were admitted to the
College of Nursing?
V: I do not think they had the same thing in place then as they do now. Everybody
coming in, no matter what your degree was going to be in, they had this. It was a
good idea. So, it was the kind of content that we were able to audit and enjoy. I
do not know if they had a straight-out pediatric unit over at Alachua General or
not. I really have forgotten. We were going to start over there with the first group
of students. The pediatric unit over at Shands was still under construction, was
not ready or going to be ready as early as the surgical units at Shands, as I
recall. I was over at Alachua General Hospital. Lois Knowles had worked over
there. I do not know in what capacity. She knew a fair amount about the units
over there. I was working and getting acquainted, but I was also there with the
first group of students I had, since our unit at Shands was still not open.
S: Your clinical floor at Shands was not ready for patients because it was still under
V: Not enough to have teaching clinical...
S: So Alachua General was where you took the students?
V: I was there at least a full year. I am not sure how much pediatrics we had at all,
but we took care of adult patients. We took care of patients to learn elementary
nursing procedures. That is where the students were for their first year. So, to
get a little taste of pediatrics in it, I think I probably took them to some clinics at
Shands Hospital or something like that. See, my whole major concentration
during my entire career was ambulatory pediatrics.
S: During the early years when you were developing the curriculum into what you
and your colleagues thought would be appropriate, what were you learning from
Dorothy's philosophies of patient care?
V: The overriding one [belief of Dorothy's], of course, was that in order to teach
most anything in nursing you need to be able to practice it and do it-to learn and
be able to contribute in that sense in a very real fashion, for which there is really
no substitute. That was the overriding one. Also, we began to look at medicine,
at patient care units, and our jobs and our patients more than I had experienced
thus far. We began to see them as potentially one larger, bigger unit in which the
chief concern was the patient. The idea was to surround patients with people
who had special gifts to give but who, for the most part, wanted to share them for
the good of the patient.
S: That would explain why Dorothy Smith believed she should be in charge of both
nursing practice and nursing education.
V: I have a record here that I have not looked at in so long. I am just amazed. It is
a good thing I kept a record, as you can see. You have already seen how many
times I have said I do not remember. These are some of my activities since I
came to Gainesville. It goes back and includes my education, my license
number, where I worked, publications, major consultations, university committee
membership, health center membership, college community service, organization
membership, continuing education. It looks like a busy life.
S: I recall Dorothy required that faculty be involved in all those aspects.
V: And she evaluated those as an integral part of your evaluation. It was the means
of carrying out the philosophy and underscoring the importance of those activities
that determined your continuing career at this college.
S: Was your experience of starting the program at UCLA helpful to you when you
came to a new program in Florida?
V: Well, it was not the same philosophy, of course. The first year I was out in
California, the pediatric unit was not complete enough to take students to the
hospital setting. I took them thirty miles down the coast to another hospital. I did
that for a whole year. Pediatrics was a junior-year subject. Then the next year,
we were able to get into the Pediatric unit at UCLA hospital. I do not remember a
lot about that. I do not remember enough to compare much with here, except
that the first year was not on a permanent unit in both places.
S: You ought to get credit for flexibility, do not you think?
V: I do not think Charles Young [former UCLA president and currently serving as
acting president of the University of Florida] was there. It became more obvious
to me that I was probably returning to the Southeast for the reason that I stated.
I enjoyed my time out there. What was the dean's name? Lulu Hassenplug. I
guess Dorothy Johnson was out there! She and Lulu were real good friends
besides being good colleagues. I hated to leave the place. I enjoyed my time
out there and the travel during vacations. I went to meetings out there. Of
course, Los Angeles, being the size city it is, was very different from Ann Arbor
and from Gainesville. It was a new program and I thought Lulu did a good job.
She just did not have the kind of philosophy that Dorothy Smith had. I think she
got a good program and a successful program started. Then she married a big
fellow named Harry.
S: I remember her as one of the consultants for the summer masters. She came to
Gainesville on the grant.
V: Actually, when I left Ann Arbor, Jo Elliott, another faculty member there, also left
to go to UCLA. Much later in life, she came several times to Gainesville as a
representative of the American Nurses Association. So I have seen her over the
years. She got to know Dorothy Smith. She is living with a former nurse friend of
hers; she is retired, of course, now. Jo and I lived together for a while; then I
decided that I would rather live alone. I moved to an apartment. We remained
S: When you got to Gainesville at the beginning of that program and the beginning
of the health center, what do you remember of the other health care disciplines,
such as medicine or allied health?
V: We had a psychologist on our staff, Sid Jourard. He had an office next to mine.
It was really nice getting to know him as a person and also representing another
field or discipline within the College of Nursing.
S: He was a faculty member--a psychologist. Why had Dorothy hired him?
V: I cannot tell you.
S: I know he did some education and did some programs.
V: I do not know if he was on a dual appointment.
S: Carol Taylor, of course. Willa Mae Witner. She was a nurse even though she
taught statistics. She taught research and statistics. Were there members of the
pediatric medical faculty whom you worked with?
V: Don Williams. No. Don Williams is in English. He is retired faculty from English.
His son, Bruce Williams, came through our program at a later date. He is about
the same age as my son. Don Eitzman, M.D. I am sure there were others.
S: I know there was consensus in the early years regarding the mission of the
V: I wish I could remember the name of the pediatrician who epitomized that
philosophy. Sam Martin and George Harrell were there but they were all officials
in administration, were they not? The one I am thinking of is a physician and I do
not remember his name. Four of us went and spent a month; it was an exchange
program down in Colombia. Cali, Colombia. I cannot remember his name. He
and his wife, another nurse, and myself. I have forgotten the fourth person.
S: Was it Mary West? I know Mary went down to Cali at one time.
V: That is who it was, Mary West, RN.
S: That was an exchange program.
V: Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
S: You went down there for how long?
V: A month.
S: That was an exchange with their educational program, with their nursing
V: I do not know. There were doctors and nurses.
S: What did you do down there?
V: It was not that they were paying me or counting on me to nurse, but I did nurse. I
did a lot of observation. A lot of the observation was taking care of a patient on
that kind of basis. That is hard to beat. I remember one of the things that I have
never forgotten. It was a very poor region at that time; it probably is not all that
different now. I remember when I arrived from a plane trip from Miami and sat in
the airport waiting room in Cali, I was the only female there. Here was a room
full of these men. I just wished I was dead. Finally, somebody came and picked
me up. I was never so glad to see anybody.
S: You had a little minority experience, did you not?
V: I really did. But I had a good time down there. It was really enlightening and so
different in so many ways than I had ever encountered in living. The culture, the
ways of health, what they had, what they did not have. They even brought in
something, I want to call it a big cabbage leaf, but that is not what it was. They
even did not have enough diapers for infants in their hospital setting when I was
there. I have forgotten how we pinned these leave together. So we had chances
to visit in the clinics and hospital units. Then we made trips more than a hundred
miles out to different places. You really were able to get a wide view of health
care at that time in that country. Of course, they served dinner so late at night,
for all of us. We had to get used to that. Then they had a siesta in the afternoon.
I was not used to that. It was very different. I remember some of the things you
could see when we went by plane. We did some traveling by bus and we would
get so close to the edge of the mountain road, I did not want to look. I was so
scared. I wish they did not, of course. They felt perfectly at home over there.
S: Curving around the mountain roads.
V: And I brought back quite a bunch of stuff from Colombia. It still sits in my family
S: As far as your exchange, when you came back to this faculty at the University of
Florida, did you do a lot of sharing of your experiences with people here?
V: Yes, it was enlightening and I think people were interested in hearing what I had
S: And what nursing had to deal with?
S: Many times, we do not realize how fortunate we are.
V: That is part of the problem, today, still. Who knows for sure what undergirds
S: You have said that most of your pediatric teaching was in the clinic and
V: I did do some early teaching up on the seventh floor when it first opened [the
Pediatric unit of Shands].
S: The unit manager system was certainly something that was innovative at that
time-to have a clerical person take some of the paperwork responsibilities off the
shoulders of the nurses to allow them to spend more time at the bedside.
V: I remember being impressed with that as part of a concept on trial. I do not really
know what has happened with it, to tell you the truth, because I did not remain in
the hospital setting. I am not sure I thought much to ask about it afterwards. But
I thought it was a good idea, and I continue to think that. Do you know what the
status is now?
S: I think it has had some pendulum swings. Some of it has to do with control
issues. People who do not want to relinquish part of a job when, in fact, sharing
it could expedite everybody's skills better. I think in its purest form, it was taken
and transplanted at Case Western Reserve and other places, knowing that was a
sounder way to do it. I think in most hospitals the traditional ordering of linen and
dietary orders ...
V: ... take up time and do not need to be nursing. It is not nursing.
S: Procedures that no one else can do except a nurse can be allotted time. While it
is not called that in so many words, the concept has been implemented in many
V: Part of Dorothy's pretty, succinct plan.
S: It is hard to argue with; it just made sense. What do you remember of
introducing and developing the nursing history form? Was it used in pediatrics?
V: If you are out of the hospital, I really cannot say.
S: It sounds like those tasks were very different in the hospital and out in
community. In the 1960s and 1970s, do you remember any female physicians or
the first male RNs whom we began to see, either as students in the program or
working in the community? Nursing, at that time, was predominantly female, and
medicine was predominantly male.
V: I remember that we began to have male students, one or two at a time. I
remember one class, we had four or five one year. That was overwhelming. You
got used to it.
S: I remember that.
V: I think there were a few female doctors, but I cannot tell you I had any close
contact with them.
S: What was your experience with nurses from different educational programs?
V: I do not remember enough to try to answer that question because I was heading
out of the hospital, clinically.
S: Were there different levels of nursing education in any of the ambulatory
V: We went to several different kinds of schools and daycare settings. If there were
clinics, we would go to clinics, but more daycare centers and more places like
schools, office settings, health clinics--those kinds of places. At times, we were
the only health care people there. That does not give me any basis for
S: When you came, Gainesville was certainly segregated by race. The doctors'
offices were segregated. Do you remember?
V: One of the daycare settings that I chose to go to for that reason was Palmer King
Daycare Center, which is over in east Gainesville. I chose it deliberately for that
reason. We had a very good, positive experience over there for several years. I
also went to Metcalf Elementary School which was in east Gainesville. At that
time, the school system was set up regionally. Metcalf was the one school
called a regional school for handicapped children. So handicapped children
would be bused in from other schools--even from other counties. So, I continued
there and each student who rotated with me had a couple of weeks in the health
office of a regular school and then the other portion [at Metcalf] that was fairly
sizeable. I have forgotten how it was broken down geographically, but they had
their own staff, of course. So the students were over there to watch and to help,
learning that way more than anything else, although they had some assignments
in relation to that. Those were entirely three-year hospital nurses, at that point.
We went to Shands Clinic, but not a whole lot. More than anything else, it was
providing clinical services that students need at the schools that we went to
where there was not a school nurse. That is the way we got into the system so
early. I really do not have anything to contribute to that question.
S: When you first came to Gainesville and went over to Alachua General Hospital,
was it segregated, then?
V: I guess it was; I am sure it was.
S: What years were you on the faculty? You first came here in 1957 and stayed
V: 1984, I retired in 1984.
S: Then you were on the faculty at the time of the Johns Committee. Do you
remember the Johns Committee? He was the state senator from Starke, Florida.
V: I never really knew what the Johns Committee was about. When I still go
through Starke, headed over to Jacksonville one way or another, I am sometimes
reminded that Starke is the Johns Committee's area. I never knew, or must
never have tried to find out, that much about it. I do not know what all that was. I
just know it was very prominent for a while. I do not know its effect or anything
on the College of Nursing.
S: I think it was Carol Christiansen who mentioned that she did not have very much
firsthand knowledge either, but she learned in retrospect that Dorothy had to
make some difficult decisions.
V: I did not know that.
S: Do you recall the early days of Shands when everyone knew each other and had
a common vision for patient care? When the place become large, do you think
healthcare workers lose the ability to focus on the mission?
V: I think it would be very easy for that to happen. In fact, I wonder how realistic the
expectation is. It only has a chance if we have more nurses and more nurses
who are prepared with the similar kind of background philosophy, and if the
institution like the Health Center here stands for something which would embody
not just nursing, but an overall umbrella that says, "Hey, look, we do things this
way here, or we aim to." Kathleen Long has had what she calls Heritage
Lunches for the original faculty and at the last one we attended, she announced
that at that time they were looking for a replacement for somebody who was
leaving, the general administration of the entire unit. She did not call the person
by name, but it was the candidate from Oregon who ended up getting the job. I
think she had that person in mind. She probably had been in on all of the
employees who were considered for the job. She seemed to be quite impressed.
There was another write-up about him just real recently in The Gainesville Sun.
Sounded like a very good person to be here. It is that kind of person, who at
some level high up ...
S: You have to provide the leadership.
V: ... for it to come out in everyday care, I think. Nursing has a big wallop to
contribute to it.
S: I think so. Without the support of administration, that sometimes becomes a
problem. Do you remember the events around Dorothy's retirement? Do you
remember when she left?
V: No. Well, let us see what I remember. What happened?
S: Some of us saw it from various perspectives. I think some thought the college
was not ready for her to leave. Some were comforted that she was merely
stepping down from the deanship but would stay on the faculty and take care of
patients. That, I guess, did not work out.
V: Did she get to do that?
S: I do not know.
V: I have even forgotten her year of retirement.
S: It must have been about 1971. Then, while the search committee looked for a
replacement, Judy Moore was acting dean. You remember when Blanche Urey
V: Amanda Baker was later, I guess.
S: Amanda was never dean. She was a candidate and I think she wanted very
much to be dean.
V: I remember Blanche. I am not saying this is in order.
S: Yes. Lois Malasanos followed Blanche. If you were to look back on the early
days of the College of Nursing here, what do you think are the lasting legacies of
the early faculty and Dorothy?
V: I do not know, really, but I think the chances are pretty good that the philosophy
for which the School of Nursing stood had a good chance of being imbued in the
graduates of the program. I can only hope that, but I do not know.
S: I think that is a good point. Think about all the students who were influenced and
are out there in various capacities, carrying out their practice from that influence.
V: I am sure there are varying pieces of the philosophy that all students are able to
continue wherever they might be working-how much will vary a lot. I am not sure
how much control one can have.
S: Who are some of the influential people you remember during your time at the
College of Nursing? Your colleagues? But first, I have a compliment to give you
before you go any further with that answer. When I interviewed Polly Barton, she
said that with all the Myers-Briggs types in pediatrics being the same that you
were the one exception. Polly said they would never have gotten anything
accomplished if it had not been for you. All the others were the creative thinkers
and ethereally-types like Poly and Joanne Patray. Polly said that if it had not
been for you, nothing would have gotten done on time or come to a vote. Do you
V: No, but I was reading something in another folder I came across last night. I
have had a corner where I once had my desk ever since I retired that has been
full of books. I have given a lot of stuff away. I cannot even remember the name
of the test that we so commonly taught. It was an assessment test that pediatric
nurses used in working with children. We had a little bag and you fitted little
pieces in it. Then you asked them certain kinds of questions and would be able
to give some evaluation of children, developmentally. Well, I do not even
remember the name of it and I do not have it any longer. I still have another
couple of folders that are fairly thick. I had no idea I still had that stuff. It must
have been a year-by-year evaluation as a faculty person. I want to go back and
read those to know myself a little better. I ran into a few of those evaluations that
sort of reflect what you are saying. I enjoyed working with pediatric faculty all
through the years. Joanne Patray has done such a great job over in
Jacksonville, I think. I still go to the graduation exercises every year. I just
cannot get over it. It seems like there are more every year except this last year.
I do not know if some of them were absent. The increase in male graduates has
been very pronounced to me. That's great.
S: Is that not wonderful?
V: I do not know if there were fewer last year. I do not think I had an opportunity to
S: The Heritage Luncheon just sounds like a wonderful idea of Kathy's.
V: It is great. I am really thrilled that she is here. I feel like we are lucky that she is
S: I think so, too.
V: And all the facilities that are yet coming: the Brain Institute, the grants, and so
many programs that nursing is involved in.
S: It is really exciting. I have come to the end of my questions. Are there issues
that you can think of that we ought to include? Are there other areas that you
think I have missed?
V: In 1975, the government was offering faculty of various colleges across the
country the program to become nurse practitioners. My name was submitted
early on and I took about a year to complete it. It was in Virginia. Then I came
back here and finished the clinical portion. At that time, they had a big pediatric
clinic over at Alachua General Hospital. That enabled me to complete my clinical
requirements. I really enjoyed that. Of course, that makes a lot of sense as to
why I was out working in ambulatory care. That was great for me in terms of
S: It sounds to me like you have been a lifelong student. Every educational
experience you have had, you have talked about, how much you loved it.
V: Yes, I enjoyed it. And remember I had something to get away from. I had lots of
wear and tear at home with raising a child. Anything that was not of that nature, I
did enjoy. Once somebody could take care of my son, I let go and enjoyed it. It
was a real help to be able to travel, even if you did not go very far. I enjoyed
going to meetings and all kinds of programs that go on in nursing. The day John
F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was up on the floor with students. I do not think
we got anything done. One by one they came in and I would hold them. They all
wanted to cry. They all cried during part of their lab period. That was very
significant. It was just an event.
S: When people ask nurses where they were when they heard the news about him,
we were usually taking care of patients. Well, Virginia, I just cannot thank you
enough. This has just been so enjoyable.
V: I do not feel that I have recalled very much to help you. That does not mean I
have not enjoyed being here and talking.
[End of the interview.]