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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Oral History Program
Interviewee: Joan Hartigan
Interviewer: Ann Smith
August 22, 2003
Pages 1-8 Hartigan was born in rural Illinois, February 26, 1931. She would visit her mother, a
nurse in the Emergency Room at the St. Francis Hospital, in Evanston, on her walk home from
school. She graduated from that same hospital school of nursing in 1952 and began working at
Passavant Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, in the emergency Room.
Pages 9-12 She and two classmates went to Tampa to spend the Christmas holidays, after which
she was hired in OB/GYN at Tampa General Hospital. While taking an extension course, it was
suggested to her that she should go on to school. In the fall of 1953, she moved to Tallahasse,
Florida, and began attending FSU while working nights at W.T Edwards, a tuberculosis hospital.
She received her baccalaureate degree in 1955 and went on to obtain her masters degree in
1956, at Columbia University in New York. The state of Florida was in need of masters
prepared nurses in psychiatric nursing to teach.
Pages 13-18 Hartigan returned to Florida State and taught psych nursing until 1960, as part of
the requirement for the Title II, traineeship, funding of her education. She used Chattahoochee
as a clinical setting for teaching students to deal with patients with emotional problems and to
make positive changes in a long-term setting. In 1960, she returned to Columbia to obtain a
doctorate, having realized she wanted to remain in education. During that time, she met with
Dorothy Smith who asked her to consider setting up a graduate, nursing program at the College
of Nursing, University of Florida. Her dissertation became a hypothetical, academic exercise of
setting up this program. In 1962, University of Florida hired her, on Kellogg Grant funds, to
institute a graduate program, ultimately, to prepare educators for the community college nursing
programs that were beginning in the state.
Pages 19-24 The graduate program was approved and students were accepted for study in 1964.
Hartigan worked with all members of the faculty, incorporating the various specialties into the
graduate study with underlying core courses, such as communication and leadership.
Pages 25-31 In 1967, Hartigan was married and left UF. She moved back to New York where
her husband taught. She inquired about a psych position available at State University of New
York, only to be recruited by the president, to replace their current dean of the nursing program
in 1968. The program had not been accredited and he wanted to set up an accredited,
baccalaureate program on the same model as University of Florida. The program was accredited
the next year and she stayed until she retired in 1972.
Interviewee: Joan Hartigan
Interviewer: Ann Smith
Date: August 22, 2003
S: Today is August 22, 2003 and my name is Ann Smith. I am in St. Petersburg,
Florida, with Joan Hartigan as part of the Oral History Program at the University
of Florida. This is for the collection of the College of Nursing. Joan, where were
H: In Illinois, in the country, on a little farm. Well, actually, I was born in Evanston,
but we lived in a little town in Illinois.
S: What was its name?
H: Actually, it was a farm, in between little towns called Sherman and Williamsville.
One here and one here. We were on Route 66, right in between there, which is
where I grew up. I went to a little one-room, country, schoolhouse, there, called
Locust Lane. I was there until I was in sixth grade. Then, we moved back to
Evanston. But, I was born in St. Francis [Hospital], in Evanston, Illinois. My
mom was a nurse, there. My mom had graduated from there and then, from
where I graduated.
S: When were you born?
H: 1931. February 26.
S: So, as you were growing up, was your mother working as a nurse?
H: Well, during the time we lived in the country, she wasn't.
S: Did your father farm?
H: He was farming and had a little gas station--Sinclair, I think it was. The frontage
of the farm was right on Route 66, about 30 miles outside of Springfield. I used
to walk over to my school, which was about a mile and a half or ride a pony,
sometimes-a pony named, June.
S: Did you feel like you had a rural childhood?
H: Well, I did, actually. You know, you don't think about those things until later.
Sure, I did. We would walk to school through fields of corn, over dirty, old, dirt
roads. And I loved it. I didn't, then. I didn't realize how much I loved it until later.
But then, we moved to Evanston. I think I was in sixth grade when I went up
there. Of course, you go through all the stuff--or I guess, most rural kids do-
when you feel like you are going to be the hayseed. How are you going to make
the adjustment? But it wasn't really much of a problem. And the thing that
helped me was that academically, the one-room, country schoolhouse was a
great place for education because when you were finished doing what you were
supposed to be doing, you could sit there and listen to everybody else. You
learned a lot that way. I was way ahead of the people in the Evanston school
system, in my grade because of it.
S: Did you graduate from high school in Evanston?
H: [In] Chicago. St. Scholastica Academy.
S: Did you have any siblings?
H: Two brothers, younger. One is six years younger, Paul, and Michael, who is
fifteen years younger than I. And my mother was working at that time. She was
working at St. Francis.
S: Did she work days?
H: She worked three to eleven [evenings], usually, and she was head nurse of the
Emergency Room. When I would walk back home from high school, St.
Scholastica, I would go right by there, go in around the back way and say, hi, and
see what was going on in the Emergency Room.
S: Did you know, then, that you wanted to follow her career?
H: Yeah. I think I always knew it. It was just kind of. I don't ever remember
coming to the conscious decision about it, but I just well, for one thing, we
didn't have a whole lot of money so there were not a lot of choices, either
financially or academically. In those days, there weren't many women in any
areas other than teaching or nursing. And there weren't a lot of scholarships
around. Now, for later education, I had scholarships because when Title II and
those came out [federal educational amendment for grants in the areas of
vocational fields]. That is what got me to graduate school.
S: Now, tell me, again, the name of the hospital since you went there in a three-year
H: St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois [started by] the good old Franciscans.
S: Tell me about that nursing education. We have asked some of the other nurses
from University of Florida about their basic programs. I think the people who laid
the foundation for the educational setting at University of Florida used
themselves and the kind of nurses they were. Part of that was your basic
H: We are all bound by our own biographies. When I went into nurses' training--and
that is what it was, in those days, training--
S: That was what year?
H: Let's see. I think I graduated from high school in 1948. I was too young to get in
[nurses] training. In those days, there was something about a minimum age
because you couldn't write boards until you were twenty-one. [State Board
Exams for a license to practice.] I had to go to school for a year. I mean, I had
to do something for a year because I finished high school a little early, age-wise.
So, I went out to Atchison, Kansas, for a year because it was the cheapest
college we could find. Also, a couple of my friends were going there.
S: What did you study?
H: [I studied] just general education.
S: Liberal arts courses?
H: Yeah. Really interesting stuff. I took a great course in zoology.
S: What a wonderful background.
H: It was. It was a fun kind of thing because you were going to school just because
I didn't have anything that I had to take except the regular, whatever were the
college requirements of the freshmen. It was kind of a kick because I had never
been to Kansas and we rode a little trolley train to go into Atchison. At that time,
we came on a big train from Chicago. [The train car] actually had a pot-bellied
stove in the middle of the [floor]. [You thought that] any minute, Billy the Kid
would [stride in]. I did that for a year and then I went back to St. Francis.
S: And that was a three-year nursing program?
H: A three year program. I think you had to pay $500 and they fed you and they
gave you your uniforms and your books.
S: Did you live in the dorm?
H: We all lived in the dorm.
S: Had a curfew?
H: Oh, absolutely!
S: A tough one.
H: Well, there were just always ways around that. It had the kind of door that if you
had a good buddy, they could open it for you, inside, and stick a piece of paper in
S: And stay out past eleven, you wild thing?
H: Yes. I wasn't real happy at St. Francis in training. We had a nun, there, that was
a holy terror, Sister Gertrudis. And I was not very diplomatic with Sister Gertrudis.
The problem was that my mother was [diplomatic]. My mother could get along
with anybody and she had worked with Sister Gertrudis. Sister thought my mom
S: And how come you are not more like your mom?
H: She said that to me, one day. How could a woman like your mother have a
daughter like you? And that really ripped it. So, that was not a real happy time
for me. But, as far as the education and the preparation, I never found them to
be as horrible as a lot of people did. There was a lot of controversy about
S: Oh, yes. All of us in nursing did some over-generalization, big time. Many
nurses talk about their education in three-year hospital programs as wonderful.
And it was the education of the time.
H: That is exactly right. And I think, that is what people forget. That in the context
of the time. It wasn't all that different. It was time to move training for nurses into
an educational setting. There is no doubt about that. There were exploitations in
the programs but there are exploitations just everywhere in life, aren't there?
S: Oh, yes.
H: And, as far as a kid like me, that didn't really have that much money, it was a way
to get an education and get somewhere else.
S: What do you remember about the state of the art? Do you remember a nursing
lab? Did you practice on the dummy?
H: Nursing Arts, they called it. Myrtle Paytoe was our instructor. Yeah, we had the
whole nine yards about how to make the square corners [when you put sheets on
a bed] and you practiced on it.
S: Did you practice injections?
H: Unhum, on the oranges.
S: Now, was that the time in the clinical setting that morphine still in tablet form?
H: Yeah, you had to dilute it.
S: So, you would put it in the syringe ... ?
H: ... in the spoon.
S: Was it attached to the little Bunsen burner thing?
H: That was very early in my training. I mean, that was way back. That didn't last
S: As nearly as I can tell, that date was right at the cusp [of time] of when tablets
and burners were no longer needed, according to the other nursing interviews.
H: I don't recall doing that at the bedside. I recall learning it. I don't actually
remember having to do it, once we got out.
S: What about other procedures? Was it within nursing practice to insert
H: It was coming in. And IV's [starting intravenous lines] was a big controversy-a
real big thing. I was trying to remember when that actually became accepted
practice [for nurses to do]. Wasn't that still controversial?
S: Where I went to school in the middle 1950s, the only place the students could
learn that would be on a rotation in the emergency room. It certainly wasn't part
of your duty on the floor. That was partly because it was a teaching institution
and the interns and residents needed the practice. Now, if it was three in the
morning [that the patient's IV needed to be restarted], you better bet, the night
nurse did it.
H: And one always knew, on the floor, who was the best one [highest skill at finding
S: It was important who had the most experience or who had the magic touch. That
was the status thing. If you had those kinds of manual skills, you were much
H: ... and with good reason. There is nothing worse than getting hit three or four
S: Do you remember your first patient?
S: Did you remember any traumatic incidents such as a patient death?
H: Yeah, I did. I think the most traumatic thing for me was the pediatric intensive
care. We had to rotate there. I had a little boy-I do not remember his name-I
am thinking it was Daniel, but I am not sure of that-who had epilepsy and he had
fallen in a bonfire. His father had been out in the yard raking and burning leaves
and the little kid had fallen into it. It was horrible. He was burned. I don't
remember how severely. But, it was bad and painful. Bad enough to be really
painful. How do you make a little kid understand that this is just something that is
just life, and he had to get through this? I just could not cope with that. And little
spina bifida babies, [a congenital, bony birth defect anomaly of the spine,
exposing spinal cord covering] I just could not do it. I mean, I walked around the
whole time, crying. So, for three months of that rotation, that was not a happy
time. I don't recall the specific, first time, I had a patient die. But I don't think that
is something you ever get used to. It is almost as traumatic the one hundredth
time as it is the first. I saw some pretty horrible things because I worked
emergency room. I liked emergency room. I don't know if it was because my
mom worked there or what. I did that. We were on the Westside Highway where
we had all that traffic, all the time.
S: Well, Evanston was well known. I could close my eyes and say, I'll bet that was a
hopping emergency room.
H: The motorcycles were what I hated worst. You never had somebody call and
say, We are bringing in a motorcycle accident, and never, never did you have
anything good happen as a result of that. You could have a car accident and [it
was not necessarily all bad].
S: Yeah. They don't have any protection.
H: So, there were some really raunchy things like that. On balance, I thought it was
a pretty good education. [laughing] There was just one little Irish nun in that
whole place. The rest of them were German.
S: Oh, they can be fierce.
H: And they were. And there was no softness about them. But this little Sister
Theona .... At that time, there was a diet kitchen and you had to have that
experience as a student, too.
S: I was going to ask you about that.
H: She was in charge of the diet kitchen. We got along great.
S: In the diet kitchen, did they make baby formulas?
H: Yes, or diabetic diets. You had to measure the amounts of food. She had a little
back room that was her office and she had a rocking chair in there. So, she
would go in there and sit and relax, once in a while when she had a break. One
time, when Sister Gertrudis was giving me a really hard time, I came in to work
and she said, I hear you are having a hard time, Irish.
S: She called you 'Irish?'
H: That was the first time she ever called me that. I said, oh, yeah. Because she
knew all the stuff. She said, come on. Come with me. And she took me back in
that back room and she sat me down in that old chair. She said, now, you just sit
here and relax and I am going to give you a Coke. And she went over and got a
Coke and gave it to me. She said, now, I am going to sit right here with you and
have a beer. And she did. We sat there and had a Coke and a beer and things
looked better, immediately. There were just a few people like that, who helped
you get through.
S: When did you graduate from St. Francis?
H: 1952. Up on the stage at Loyola [University].
S: You graduated in 1952 and it was a three-year program. Did you graduate in
H: I think it was June.
S: Then, what did you do?
H: I went to work at Passavant Memorial Hospital in Chicago. [There were] three of
us from the same class, who went there.
S: Where did you work? What kind of unit?
H: Emergency Room. And we were there only-whatever that was, up until
November or something. One of the girls' parents came down to Tampa every
winter. Her father worked at the dog track, at the windows, taking bets or
whatever. We wanted to come down there for Christmas and so, we wanted
Christmas off. We were willing to work Thanksgiving and work everything else,
but they wouldn't give Christmas to us. So, we quit. And we moved down here.
That is how we got to Florida. Well, it didn't happen quite like that, but that is
pretty much what we did, all three of us.
S: Good for you.
H: And we went to Tampa and stayed with her parents until we could find a place.
Then, we went to work at Tampa General Hospital.
S: Did you work Emergency Room, there?
H: No, I worked OB/ GYN.
S: Was that a good experience?
H: Yeah. It was a really interesting experience in a lot of ways because I was just
coming out of a program that was run as a tight ship.
S: I hear you.
H: I came to Tampa General [Hospital]. First of all, I had never been to Florida,
S: So, that was all new.
H: All new. The bugs were all new.
S: And lots of them.
H: And big. Now, in Illinois, if you have a little roach in your house, it means-at
least, in my mind-it is dirty. You are not a good housekeeper.
S: Crumbs in the kitchen.
H: In Florida, it doesn't mean that. It doesn't mean anything like that. But the first
time I saw one of those-I mean. Let's see, we were working nights, there,
eleven to seven. So, we could go out in the daytime and get the sun. I opened a
sterile pack in the delivery room and there was this huge, dead roach in it.
S: ... but sterile.
H: Well, now that is what the doctor told me. See, I just blew my top. I said, My
God. I threw it down and tore down the whole set-up. I put a new one out. And
he said-Dr. Nix, it was-and he came stomping in the room with those hands like
this (you know how they did). [Indicates arms, newly scrubbed, held
perpendicular to the floor, ready to be gloved.] He said, why isn't this set up? I
thought you were setting it up. I said, I set it up but I had to tear it down and start
all over because there was a dead roach inside the pack. He said, they are
sterile, aren't they? Can you imagine? He wanted me to leave it set up like that.
So, it took some adjustment.
S: Did you feel your education had prepared you for working on the OB unit?
H: Oh, yeah. Because I had just come out of all of those rotations. OB was one of
my favorites. In fact, OB was second to Psych, if I hadn't gone into that.
S: Well, there certainly was a lot of overlap, there. So, you probably started at
Tampa General Hospital in the latter part of 1952. Is that right?
H: No, I think we took the Christmas holidays off, that we had wanted.
S: Oh, yes, of course. So, early 1953?
H: I am pretty sure that is about right.
S: And did you stay at Tampa General for a while?
H: We stayed there for nine months. Here is what happened, then. Audrey and I
(Ginny decided not to take this course) took an extension course from Florida
State [University]. One night at the break, the woman who was teaching it
asked, have you all ever thought about going on to school? We said, no, we
hadn't, but that we would. So, that is how I ended up at FSU [Florida State
University]. We went up there. We quit work and went up to Tallahassee. We
worked at W. T. Edwards Hospital; it was a TB [tuberculosis] hospital. What is it,
now? Anyway, it used to be a TB hospital. And we worked nights, there at the
TB hospital. Princess Wilson, who was just out of the Army, was the director of
nursing. We got along great because she was just like the nuns, back at school.
She was tough. I knew how to relate to that. I worked in the recovery room.
They were doing pneumothoraces [chest surgery to remove lung tissue affected
by tuberculosis]. That is where I worked, the recovery room. I worked nights and
went to school, days.
S: How long did it take you to get your degree?
H: Let's see.
S: Did you have to start over and pick up a lot of credits?
H: They gave you a certain amount of credit [for graduating from a three year
nursing program] and you did some sort of testing. I don't remember exactly
what it was. But you had to take all of the collegiate courses, the humanities and
English but I had a year of that. So, all of that counted.
S: So, you had a head start on that.
H: So, I finished before the rest of them. Then, I went on to graduate school, right
S: So, when did you get your baccalaureate degree?
H: Okay. I went to graduate school 1955-1956. I went right away so I must have
finished the baccalaureate in June of 1955. In June of 1955, I went down to
Miami. FSU asked me to teach for that summer. They had an extension course
for their whole junior year at that time, spent down at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
S: Yes, I remember hearing about that.
H: I went down there and taught.
S: ... because they didn't have the pediatrics and the other clinical experience?
H: Yes, the clinical facilities. So, they sent the kids all down there for their junior
year. We all lived in the nursing residence there at Jackson Memorial [Hospital].
We had all of our classes and stuff there. I went down and taught them that
summer. I think I taught orthopedics or something. That was a great break for
me when they asked me to do that because I made more money than I had ever
made before in my life. And I needed it for school although I had a scholarship or
traineeship, you know, the Title II thing in psych for graduate school.
S: How did you decide, while you were still in the process of getting your
baccalaureate degree, to go on to school? Did you know you wanted to teach?
Were you really enamored with the scholastic process?
H: No, but I think I really knew that I wanted to teach. I don't know at what point I
decided that. I think maybe, it was what you were describing. You walk in, you
see this woman who was really sharp. She could think the way you wanted to be
able to think. It was like all of a sudden, I realized you don't have to, just, work in
a hospital. There are other options. And that is what that program did for me. It
opened up a whole new concept. As far as a choice between psych and OB,
there was money available in psych, very readily. It just fell in my lap because
they were recruiting aggressively because they had nobody in psych, in the state
of Florida that had any kind of preparation. Annie Lori Crawford, was the state
psych consultant. She came from Jacksonville. She came just to ask me if I
would take this. Of course, they knew that you had a commitment of coming
back. You had to come back for two years or something like that [and work in
the state as part of the trainee requirement].
S: What was her role in Jacksonville?
H: She was the state psychiatric consultant. She was on the State Board [of Nurse
Examiners], I think. I don't know if she was a nurse. Have you heard that name?
S: I can't remember what she did.
H: I am thinking she was coming out of FNA [Florida Nurses Association] or else the
S: So, she said, We really do need this expertise for the state of Florida?
H: Yes, and there is money available and would you like to go?
S: ... and you said, yes.
H: That is right. Just like that.
S: So, you finished up teaching the junior year in Miami?
H: No, no. I only taught that summer. I knew, when I finished the baccalaureate
program, I was going on to a masters, by then, but I didn't have anything to do
that summer. So, Vivian Duxbury, who was the Dean (a marvelous woman), a
little oddball, but she asked me if I would teach, I think it was orthopedics.
S: Stay ahead of the students.
H: That is exactly right. So, I did it. I was really happy to get that because I made
more money that I certainly could have anywhere else. So, that is when I went to
Columbia [University, New York, New York]
S: So, you went to Columbia for your masters in what year?
H: I went up there in 1955 and finished in 1956. It was just a one-year program.
S: Was that an MA, or MS?
S: After that?
H: I went back to Florida State and taught until 1960.
S: What did you teach?
H: Psych. We took the students up to Chattahoochee, Florida, for their psych
experience. [Chattahoochee is a state hospital for mentally ill.]
S: How was that experience?
H: It was a great, great year. I knew I had found my home, teaching. I loved it. I
was not that much older than the kids I was teaching. Chattachoochee-I don't
know if you anything about the state hospital. Well, it is pretty bad. You can
make a lot of difference in lots of ways. So, I had those kids so hooked.
S: But that is wonderful. I think that is part of teaching. If they see your enthusiasm
and they see you making a difference. These are students that you taught when
they were the first students of your FSU teaching career.
H: Right after I finished my masters.
S: [reading from a plaque Hartigan took from the wall] This is a plaque in the shape
of the state of Florida and it says: "In appreciation to Dr. Joan O'Brian-Hartigan,
Assistant Professor, 1956-1960, from the class of 1957, the Florida State
University, School of Nursing, 50th year anniversary, with the seal of FSU." And it
says, "6th April, 2000." What a treasure, this is for you.
H: Isn't that something? I just love that.
S: In teaching, you want to think you make a difference.
H: And it is just nice that they would go to all that trouble. It is a nice thing and you
are right, I wonder if they do know how important that is? This is not just a little,
old wooden plaque to me.
S: But just think, you remember a Coke-Cola given to you by your instructor, Irish
[and how much that meant].
H: That right.
S: In whatever form, we remember those influences. So, you knew that teaching
was going to be important for you?
H: It just was a great year.
S: It was a good fit.
H: Yeah. I guess maybe it is true of everybody's first class. You are still so full of
idealism and charged that you are really going to make a difference. And then,
they are young and eager and Chattahoochee was kind of a 'kicky' experience
because they were traveling to get up there.
S: I think with psych nursing, there is always the apprehension. Students start out
as lay public like anyone else before they have had their rotation. So, they don't
know how to perform in a psychiatric setting and they are going to have their
eyes glued on you, as the experienced instructor.
H: And they have heard these horrible stories.
S: And they have seen all of the bad movies.
H: It was a real fun area; it was for me. They were a great group. We used to go
and have picnics and stuff. We were kind of isolated at first. We were the
outlanders in Chattahoochee. You can imagine hitting a small little (talk about,
inbred) town that is so cut-off. There had been no new people in that institution
in years. When we went in, they [the staff and patients] were a tight, little band,
locked against us and nobody wanted to listen to our newfangled ideas.
S: ... from these whipper-snappers from Tallahassee.
H: ... yeah, which, of course, is a tremendous bonding thing. It was fun. And we
did make a difference. We got patients out, off of the grounds, walking around
on passes, sometimes.
S: That must have been just huge, back then.
H: It was. It was a very, very big thing in those days. Most of the time, you walked
in those places and they would just have the rocking chairs lined up on the
porches [offering no stimulation for the patients].
S: ... and you hear the doors lock behind you.
H: Oh, yes. And you had all these keys ...
S: So, tell me about your wonderful year of masters education?
H: Oh, you want to hear about that? Well, that was really great. Talk about new
worlds opening up. It was my first time in New York. The biggest city I had ever
been in, was Chicago. I went up to New York, all by myself. I didn't know a soul.
I lived in the dorm. I smoked in those days. I went across to where I saw a drug
store across the street. I went over to get a pack of cigarettes. I went in and a
woman behind the counter was talking to somebody else, a friend. And so, I
could reach down and get the cigarettes and then pay. I reached down and got
the cigarettes. I gave her the money. She never stopped talking to her friend.
She gave me the change and was still talking to her friend. I walked out and I
went back in my room and cried. I thought, My God, these people are ... I
mean, she didn't say, hello. Go to Hell. No eye contact.
S: This is not Chicago.
H: This is not Florida, either. You know, they say, How are you doing? Come back
and see us. Oh, my. It was kind of a shock. But I enjoyed the graduate
program. I had a wonderful counselor, Patsy Liston. It was a very good
program. We did some very interesting field trips which really broadened
horizons for me.
S: Then, you taught at FSU for how long? For four years?
H: Umhum, until 1960. Then, I went back up for my doctorate.
S: How did that happen? You thought, if I am going to be in education, I need
H: Yeah, but I can't remember how .. Yes, that is exactly right. By then, I knew I
was in the right place. I was teaching. But, I knew, also, that in order to teach in
a university setting, one should have a doctorate.
H: But that Title II money. I don't know if that money was still around for you guys
but, it was great for us.
S: I was on a traineeship. I think that was Title II.
H: Umhum. I think when I went to graduate school (I was reading something the
other day), I think in 1955, there were 550 people in graduate schools in the
country, in nursing. That figure doubled within a very short time as a direct result
of the monies available, primarily from Title II. Of course, I think that was also at
the time that they were moving education into the baccalaureate programs and
without that kind of underpinning for faculty preparation, we wouldn't have been
ready. So, I think it was a major kind of event.
S: So, you went back to New York. Did you go back by yourself, again, for your
H: Yeah, I went up by myself but then a friend of mine-I had known her before but
she had also gone through the nursing program. She was going up for her
masters. So, eventually, it ended up that we shared an apartment. But yes,
essentially, I went on my own for that, too.
S: But, having been there, you were comfortable with the school and the
H: By then, I had found out that New Yorkers are really very much like people,
everywhere. It is just that they have a very different manner. I guess I became a
little less uptight about things.
S: How long were you in doctoral study?
H: Two years.
S: You did a thesis?
H: Yes, the doctoral dissertation and that is how I ended up in Florida. I had to
come back to Florida to pay off the money for the grant so I knew I was going to
end up at one of the universities. It seemed the logical one was going to be the
University of Florida because it was the setting that had the medical center.
They had just set up a brand new medical center, J. Hillis Miller Medical Center.
It would be the place that would be the logical location for the development of a
doctoral or masters program. But I had very mixed feelings about that because I
felt I owed a great deal to people at FSU since they had picked me out, had
supported me, written beautiful recommendations and all of this. I got a chance
to read one of the recommendations, one time. I mean, they really went out of
their way to support me and support my movement. I think they wanted a
masters program there, too, because they asked me. But by that time, Dorothy
[Smith, Dean of the College of Nursing in Gainesville] had already asked me. I
had agreed to come back to University of Florida.
S: Did you do dissertation work having to do with starting a graduate program?
H: When I found out what I was going to be doing or at least, that is what they
wanted me to do, I thought, well, I have to do this dissertation so I might as well
select something that is going to dovetail with what I may end up doing. So, what
I did was a curriculum design for a graduate program in nursing at the University
of Florida, as a hypothetical exercise. I came down and interviewed people as a
methodology of how you would go about establishing a graduate program
because I knew, that was what I was going to end up doing, no matter where I
S: Did you contact UF or did they contact you?
H: Dorothy had asked me sometime when she was up there for some kind of a
meeting-- a League meeting, I think. [National League for Nursing]
S: She was up in New York?
H: When she was up in New York, sometime-I think it was a League meeting-she
had said, you know, we really want to get a masters program going.
S: Was that the first time you had met her?
H: Oh, no. I knew Dorothy before I left.
S: How did you meet her?
H: I think that is true. I was on the faculty at Florida State and Dorothy started the
baccalaureate program at U of F, while I was at FSU. When did they start there,
S: Yes, so, you would have met her, how?
H: At faculty meetings or at FNA [Florida Nurses Association].
S: Something having to do with nursing academics in the state?
H: Right. I don't recall any other state conferences. But, then, I don't know if she
really had to go up for a League conference or if she just did that on the way.
But anyway, while I was up there in graduate school, she did say, Could we have
dinner? I said, Yes. We went out and had dinner. She asked me if I would
consider coming to UF and doing a graduate program. I said, well, this is really
kind of nice because I happen to have a dissertation I have to do about
something. So, it worked out great. So, we set up meetings. We set up times,
you know, a schedule of meetings. You know, how you have to meet the Dean
of the College of the Graduate School and the curriculum committee and the
faculty of the College of Nursing. Then, of course, we met with all of the clinical
heads. We set up those meetings. I came and did a hypothetical, academic
I went back and defended my dissertation. I finished that and then, I came down
and went to work. I always felt a little bad about not going back to FSU
but it just didn't seem logical to set up the first masters degree in nursing in the
state, there, in Tallahassee, when you had this beautiful facility with the Health
Center that was just getting off the ground in Gainesville. It had a lot of funding.
It had all kinds of impetus from everywhere. The politicians were putting money
into it; they were supporting it. That was just not happening in Tallahassee. So,
it was a very objective decision.
S: What year did you come to Gainesville?
H: 1962. That is when I finished up in New York.
S: What did you start doing, first? You had certainly done a lot of leg work ahead of
H: I admit I had done a lot in terms of meetings with all of the faculty, already. I had
already explored with them, their ideas about graduate education in nursing. I
knew the lay of the land because I had to learn all of that for the dissertation and,
don't you know, when you know you are going to have to defend it and you are
going to get asked questions, you know, everything. So, yes, you are right. I
had done a lot of the leg work. But, they had some kind of a program-and I am
not sure what it was-that combined a program with the College of Education,
through the Kellogg Foundation. I am not clear what that was but I was hired on
a Kellogg line [Kellogg Foundation Grant money].
S: Oh, really.
H: I am pretty sure that is right. The Kellogg Foundation set up a grant. Do you
know the name Mildred Montague?
H: ... who wrote the book about two-year, nursing education. Alright, Kellogg
supported a grant to develop, I think they called it, junior college or community
college, nursing programs in the state of Florida and California, and perhaps,
another state. Where I came in, was to teach faculty for those programs. That
was the rationale, or at least, a major part of the rationale, for the development of
the graduate program at the University of Florida. That, and the fact that it was a
debtor state, Florida lost faculty because they would go out of state to get their
education and then, would never come back. So, there were a lot of reasons for
the grant but that was the underpinning, financially, of the five-year Kellogg
Project. And then, the emphasis shifted, after the Kellogg funding ran out.
S: How long did you work on the preparation before you accepted students into the
H: We accepted students in 1964, I am going to say we took twenty students. Do
you have those kinds of records?
S: I don't think I have that. When the college was ten years old, they wrote that little
booklet called the Quonset Hut Dream and I think it listed the landmarks of when
the graduate Program opened and the first students graduated.
H: I have all that, if you want it. This is a report that I did in 1964 about the graduate
program. [See Information File for UFCN collection.]
S: Did you have any first impressions of meeting Dorothy?
H: No, I can't remember any. I don't even know how to describe it. She was more
well known than any of the local people. She had been active in the NLN
[National League for Nursing], as I recall. I had been on some national
committee or something with the League and had met her. I had seen her in
operation and I was very favorably impressed with her. Then, of course, when I
heard that she was going to head up the program at Gainesville, I was
impressed, because I thought that had only good things to tell about the kind of
support. I met Sam Martin [founding Provost of the Health Center] at some other
kind of health conference and I was very impressed with him. It just seemed that
they were thinking the right kinds of things as far as I was concerned, in terms of
the whole clinical emphasis and the idea of trying to articulate education and
practice so that the professions were going in the same direction. I really
believe, very strongly, in that because I had seen so much of the other kind of
evidence. You know, the way nursing was practiced had nothing to do with what
you were taught in the classroom and vice versa. So, I just bought into that
whole piece. It was just a great piece of philosophy to me because in nursing
there had always been a marked disjunction between what people talked about
in the classroom and what was actually going on in the real world.
S: Let me ask you about some of the people that were on the faculty and were
probably associates of yours--or perhaps, even been recruited by you. Willa May
Whitner? [RN, PhD who taught research and statistics in the College of Nursing,
graduate program and assisted faculty in conducting their own clinical research
projects for publication.]
H: Oh, yeah. Willa May and I were in school together.
S: So, you met her at Columbia?
H: Yes, and I brought her down here.
S: Did you do anything with the obstetric department, as far as the graduate
program? Did you work with Jennet Wilson or Betty Hilliard?
H: Oh, yes, both of them. You see, when we set up the graduate program, we had
a strong clinical component in it. So, these were the people that I met and
conference with. Jen Wilson and Betty Hilliard were OB/GYN; Polly Barton was
in pediatrics. Who was Medical Surgical nursing?
S: Was Jane Kordana there?
H: Yes, that is who it was. Remember when I told you I came down and had
meetings with the faculty? These were the people who were on the faculty. And
subsequently, when I came down and we were setting up the graduate program,
we had a thousand meetings, with this group. Virgie Pafford, in public health.
S: What about June Rumillet? Was she there?
H: Yes. What other areas? Oh, Barbara Buchanan.
S: I have heard her name in all of these interviews but I never knew her.
H: She went down to Miami but I think I heard that she died.
S: Another psych person was Gretchen LaGodna.
H: I saw Gretchen about three months ago; she came by.
S: Bobbie Dykes?
H: Yes, I am in touch with her, periodically. Gretchen taught at the University of
Kentucky and she had just recently retired. Gretchen was a graduate of our
masters program. She had gone through our masters program and I asked her
to join the faculty.
S: Was Sue Thomas-Hagyvary here? [Professor and Dean Emeritus of Washington
School of Nursing]
H: What was her area?
S: She was Med-Surg because she followed Jane Kordana as Chairman of the
Medical Surgical Department..
H: Jane Kordana was there, as far as I remember, the whole time. So, I knew Sue
S: And Carol Hayes.
H: Oh, yeah, sure. Carol was there, forever.
S: She is still in Gainesville. She is one of the people I interviewed.
H: I think she was there the whole time I was.
S: ... and Dottie Luther?
H: Oh, right, Dottie Luther.
S: And what about the faculty who were non-nurses?
H: Sid Jourard. [laughing]
S: I never knew him. It took me a long time to figure out what his role was.
H: I don't think anybody every figured out that out. That was his master plan. And
Carol Taylor. I remember one piece of information about Sid Jourard that fits this
type of discussion, I think. One of the things that you have to do when you are
setting up a new program is present it to the curriculum committee of the
university. We had to do that. Sid was on the university committee and I don't
even remember who the other people were. There was one professor who, I
think, was from the College of Education. The folks from the College of
Education had a bit of ambivalence about this because of what that would mean
to their college. So, we went in to the meeting and presented the layout of the
planning-what the program would look like-the basic concepts, philosophy, the
whole nine yards. And this one man was really picking. Dorothy, Sid and I were
there, but I don't know what Sid's capacity was. I just dealt with the questions,
answered them the best I could and then just let it go. After I had finished the
presentation, there was an open-question period. Then this man started, again.
I handled it again. I answered it about three different ways. He asked it. I
answered it. Dorothy didn't say anything. The next time, he asked the same
question in a different way. He had this attitude. He just really needed an
attitude adjustment. And Dorothy stepped in.
S: She could do it.
H: Yes, she could. And she did. And I remember Sid Jourard sitting there. He sat
back in his chair and looked at this guy. When Dorothy was finished, he said, I
told you. Don't pick on her when it is on something important. Leave her alone.
[He said it] Right there, in this graduate curriculum committee meeting. She
flattened him. So, I loved Dorothy Smith from that moment on because when
she was there and you needed her, she was there.
S: And capable at doing it.
H: She always had been supportive and I had always admired her but it is awfully
nice when you in a tight spot and it is getting hotter ....
S: And someone says, I really will support you ....
H: Yeah, and do it. And do it, so well. There is only so much you can do. You
know, I was the new kid on the campus. I had just walked into this university
two or three months ago. But, Dorothy had been around here a lot longer than
that. She had a lot of respect. I think people held her in high regard.
S: When the graduate program got under way, was your role predominantly
administrative or did you do some or all of the teaching?
H: I had to teach, but I didn't do all of it. I did do teaching. I always did at least one
class. And sometimes, I did more. I did some of the psych, at first, I think. But I
did some of the core courses in communication, leadership and that stuff.
S: I think that is what I remember. And I remember you were co-teaching with Merc
[Lucille Mercadante, Director of Nursing of Shands Teaching Hospital].
H: Oh, yeah. What did we teach?
S: When I interviewed Merc, she talked about you having asked her to do some of
the nursing administration seminar classes that involved discussion, answering
questions [for the students following the nursing administration track]. She said,
sure. But it never occurred to her that she was doing academic teaching until
you said, oh, yeah, you are. That is what this is. I may have been in a class like
that because, at that time I was not intending to, number one, teach, or number
two, go into nursing administration. I was going to be super-nurse at the
bedside. I was going to be a clinical specialist.
H: We had that as an option.
S: I believe we had management and administration as one of the core classes that
all of the specialties would take.
H: They would have a certain amount of it and crossed lines.
S: And we had these wonderful stimulating conversations. The class would be over
and my classmates and I couldn't get ourselves or our brains unwound, we were
so intellectually charged up.
H: Oh, really.
S: We would go to the coffee shop and continue talking.
H: Is that right? Well, that is good to hear because I thought it was a great graduate
program. I really did. It did have some strong philosophical points and that had
not existed in graduate programs in the country prior to that time. This was a
time in nursing when a lot of people were going on for masters degrees who
were nurses. Schools were offering them degrees but assuming there was no
nursing content, whatsoever, involved in it. That was one kind of program.
Then, when programs began to get the nursing content, it was, for the most part,
terribly specialized. It was all psych, or it was all med-surg.
S: Well, I ruled out two masters programs, for that reason. I could have been a
neurosurgical clinical specialist or I could have been a cardiovascular clinical
specialist. I thought that was too narrow.
H: It just seemed so clear to me, and it always did, that if nursing is a profession,
there are things that cut across it, all the way, no matter what the area of
specialization. And there is something to be lost if you don't include that in the
S: I refer to that year [of my graduate study] as a Camelot year for me.
H: Oh, really. That is nice.
S: It was heavenly. It opened all of the doors.
H: That is what graduate education is supposed to do and it is so exciting when it
S: It was wonderful because most of us had been out in practice and therefore, we
were not just sharing student experiences.
H: I think you had to have nursing practice, didn't you? Wasn't there a requirement
you had to have a minimum of a year out in practice. And that was exactly the
reason for it.
S: I remember the seminars with you and Merc [Mercadante]. I remember learning
about the Unit Manager System.
H: Oh, yeah, right. I think we set those seminars up with Merc and I doing it
together so that we could role model the idea of the practice and service. ..
S: It certainly worked.
H: ... because you could see issues from different perspectives. Almost any
situation that came up, she and I would have a very different perspective. At
least, that was the theory.
S: Well, seeing you two come at it from different perspectives and have this
conversation about problem-solving in front of our very eyes was wonderful.
Do you remember the era of encouraging females into the field of medicine?
Was that beginning when you were at the Health Center?
H: I don't remember much emphasis on it. There were some. They were few and
far between and usually, their father or their brother was a doctor or they had a
lot of money. It was not one of the things that just jumped into a girl's mind, as
far as a career option.
S: During this period of time, was the Health Center still racially segregated? Were
there separate drinking fountains?
H: There was, in Tallahassee at W. T. Edwards Hospital, when I first went there. I
remember because I drank at the wrong one and I didn't know what I was doing.
The first time I got reprimanded by the night supervisor for anything, it was about
race. I had attended Mr. Thompson (that wasn't the right name) but I had called
him 'Mr.' Whatever. And the supervisor said, we don't do that. I said, well, he
calls me, Miss O'Brien. She said, no. That is just the way it is. We did have a
bit of that kind of experience. That is just the way it was. It wasn't as blatant or
flagrant. I suppose, perhaps, from the other side of the view, it was. It didn't
seem as malignant at the time. I ran into that in graduate school. We were on
the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I think it was, going on a field trip. We went into a
restaurant, including the two black girls in our class and they wouldn't serve us.
And we all just walked out. It was in the context of that society.
S: I asked the question because different people encountered it in different ways
during those same years. Do you recall if there were many black RN's who
worked at Shands Hospital?
H: I don't recall any.
S: Do you remember any black students, when you were there?
H: No, but I don't remember any applications. I never, really paid that much
attention, which may say a lot about me, or nothing, or a lot of nasty things. I
don't know. I will tell you, I do think that if we had gotten an application from a
black student who was qualified in any way the same as anybody else, I don't
think I would have thought twice about it. I should have, probably, because it
would have had implications that I should have considered. I really was kind of
color-blind in those days. I remember sitting in the back of the bus because it
was an empty seat. The driver called me up to tell me I was sitting in the wrong
place. I just didn't think like that. So, I don't remember attending to that, at all.
When you ask me, I don't remember that there was anyone in the program that
S: Do you remember any males who applied to the College of Nursing?
H: I am thinking there was one, at least one, in one of the classes. I thought there
was a man who had been a corpsman in the armed services.
S: There were some males in the undergraduate program when I was there in the
early 1970s but that was just beginning to happen. Do you remember the Johns
Committee investigations? [In the era of the national McCarthy investigations into
communism and homosexuality, State Senator Charley Johns of Florida
launched his own investigation to "protect Florida's children" in 1959.]
S: Were you in Gainesville when all of that was going on?
H: I don't remember if I was in Gainesville or Tallahassee.
S: One of the interviewees said that Dorothy had to fight to retain the textbook,
Interpersonal Personal Relations in Nursing by Hildegard Peplau. [Peplau was of
Russian descent] Anyone who was suspected of being communist, gay or
different in any way was thought by Senator Johns and his committee, to be a
possible threat. Didn't we all have to sign a pledge of loyalty to the constitution
or something like that?
H: Umhum. I am remembering that somebody came and interviewed us, one time,
asking if we knew any communists or .... I have blocked it out because that is
how much I thought of it. I think I remember sitting down in that office on the first
floor on the medical science building waiting to see someone. Who in the heck
would that have been? Would it have been someone on that committee?
S: Maybe. They were trying to intimidate people, at the very least.
H: I remember that activity, going way back to when I was at FSU. I think it was
starting up, then. I remember hearing about the Johns Committee. I do
remember that it was a pretty frightening thing, not from my perspective but from
the perspective of having a couple of friends who, I know, were terrorized about
it. I don't recall that anything ever happened about it. But you are right, in that
when you keep hearing about it and there are very few facts known, it makes it
worse because the unknown is so fearsome.
S: I remember seeing and hearing the McCarthy [Senator Joe McCarthy hearings in
1954] hearings on television, really interrogating people about all kinds of things.
H: I really do not remember too much detail. Although I do think that there was a
time that I was interviewed. But that is about all I remember.
S: How long were you with the University of Florida? When did you leave?
H: 1967. That is when I got married.
S: I remember learning that you were going to leave and we all thought, what was
UF going to do, now?
H: This is really good for the ego.
S: After you left, you got married and then what?
H: My husband was teaching in New York, so we moved to New York. I was just
going to retire. I did that about two months.
S: You told us in class that you didn't think you were going to be happy. Your quote
was, and I will never forget it ....
H: What? What did I say?
S: You were standing up in front of the class, and you turned sideways. You had
spike heels on and you said, I don't think I am going to be happy dusting the
H: [Laughing.] What is she doing this for?
S: No, I thought, she is speaking to me.
H: That is right. Housework, as you can tell, is not my big thing.
S: Clean baseboards just don't do it for you?
H: It doesn't matter that much to me. I don't even notice stuff like that. I know
people who walk in a house and that is what they look at. We were living in an
apartment in Queens. I think it was just a matter of weeks before I got a phone
S: As if to say, we know you are in town.
H: Right. Well, when I was still at University of Florida, the president of the State
University of New York came down. They were going to open up a new health
center in Brooklyn, Downstate Medical Center, and he came down, recruiting.
He asked me then, if I would go up to New York and be the dean. I said, No, I
am really happy here. I have just set up this graduate program. It is just getting
off the ground. I am happy.
S: So, he came down to recruit you in Gainesville?
H: This was in Gainesville and I turned him down. Joe Hill was his name, and
president of SUNY [State University of New York].
S: So, there you are in Queens... ?
H: So, all of a sudden, here I am in Queens about eight or twelve months later,
doing housework and not liking it. I was thinking, I wonder if they have filled that
spot? I found out they had, but that they were recruiting for the psych position.
Anyway, the dean called me to head up the psych department. They were going
to set it up just like Gainesville because Joe Hill, who was the provost,
(comparable to Sam Martin's position) was enamored of that arrangement. He
wanted it set up exactly the same. And that is what they were going to do.
Would I be interested in heading up psych? I said, I would be happy to come
and talk with her. Well, I went out for the interview and Joe Hill found out I was
there since I had to also meet him. Well, to make a long story, short, he was not
happy with the current dean. She really was in the wrong spot. She was a
nursing service person who was apparently pretty well known. She had set up a
baccalaureate program; it had been reviewed by the League for Nursing and it
had been denied for accreditation on the first shot. She did not have the
credentials, which, rightly or wrongly, they were looking at that. And the program
was right there in New York where the League office is located. They know what
is going on in their own community. They knew these people very well and they
were just not happy with her. They had told Joe Hill, he had to replace her if he
ever wanted an accredited school. So, he found out I was there interviewing for
the psych position and I had to meet him, in reference to that. As soon as I
walked in the door, he started talking to me about the deanship. Anyway, I
ended up there, as the dean. He said, would I take that position? I said, Joe,
you already have a dean. He said, no, we can't go like this. He showed me the
report of the accreditation disapproval. He said, we have to have somebody in
here that can get a legitimate program set up that will be accredited. We are not
going to have a university program that doesn't have an accredited nursing
program. So, I went in after she was gone and I set up the program. It was
fascinating. It was just great, great fun.
S: How long did that take you?
H: Do you mean before we had our first accreditation visit? We did it fast.
S: Did you do it on the Florida model?
H: Yes, but it was a baccalaureate program, not a graduate program. I had to
reorient myself but it was the same process. We had to go through the
curriculum committee and all that stuff. And we got our accreditation the very
first shot out of the bag. We set the program up, very much the same way we did
in Florida. I don't think we called them Nurse II's, though. [Nurse II was a
position similar to a traditional Head Nurse who has a joint appointment with the
hospital and the academic program.] What do they call them in Gainesville? The
clinical Nurse II's? I think we called them something else. It was very similar.
S: ... with service and practice working together?
H: And I recruited Merc [Lucille Mercadante].
S: That's right.
H: I went to South America to recruit her. She was down there on a consultation. I
went down there one day. I decided I had to have help here because they did
not have a clue. The old ways were just so entrenched. The College of
Medicine was the old Long Island College of Medicine which had been in
existence a thousand years. They were kind of the ruling group. So, they had
one or two men with great vision and they needed help to get their vision to
happen. They didn't know what they were doing in relation to nursing but they
knew enough to know they had to get somebody who did. So, I went down to
Joe Hill, who was the provost, and I said, do you have any gambling money? He
said, what for? I said, I want to go to South America. He said, okay. I said, don't
you want to know why I am going? He said, I don't know. I assume it is
something legitimate. I said, I want to go recruit a nursing service person to head
up that aspect. She was down there at Cali for some kind of a consultation
S: She was in Bogota, Colombia.
H: That is right. We had done numerous consults while we were all still here in
Gainesville. We had gone down to Colombia, several times. That was another
interesting experience. Dorothy had so many visionary aspects of that program
that it was just a marvelous opportunity.
S: The idea that I always thought was so marvelous was the summer masters
S: We had everybody who was anybody on that speakers list. When was I ever
going to be knee to knee with Lulu Hassenplug [nationally known, at the time of
this program, was the Dean of Nursing at the University of California]. Pearls of
wisdom dropping all over the place.
H: I remember when we were first talking about that. We first discussed it way
back, just a germ of an idea, because it was so hard for people to do a whole
year of graduate study just on their own. It is expensive to go to school,
especially when your area is one you have not been practicing [working, in
practice of nursing] for a while. Most people who have been out a while have
been making some money, buying cars, have payments to make, and kids in
school-in our area, anyway.
S: They can't just drop their life to go back to school for a degree.
H: It is not a very easy thing to do, to just pack it in for a whole year and tell your
husband, your kids, your whatever ....
S: What year did you take the deanship at New York?
H: I went [to UF] in 1962 and I left in 1967 and I took the deanship [in New York] in
January 1968. It was real soon. Retirement didn't last.
S: You knew yourself well enough.
H: I did, I guess. I don't remember saying that to you all but .. I know very
clearly, that housework is not my forte.
S: I think you said something like, it wasn't fulfilling or words to that effect.
H: Well, you know what it is? It is so frustrating. Here is what happens. You go in;
you clean the thing, polish everything and two days later, you have to do it all
over, again. Who needs that kind of life? I mean, life is too short. It was fun. It
was a good ride.
S: When you spoke of putting the baccalaureate program together for Downstate
New York University, you used the word, "fascinating" experience.
H: It was a very fascinating experience because you went into this brand new
setting. From the nursing aspect, he just gave me carte blanche. Do whatever
you want to do.
S: Make it happen.
H: Make it happen. And what fun that is. I mean, once in your life, you should have
an opportunity where you are not worried about budget. Of course, there were
already people there and some of the cliques and that kind of stuff had already
started, so you always have a certain element of that. It was a fun thing. And it
was really interesting because, as I mentioned before, the College of Medicine,
(it was set up with the College of Medicine, College of Health Related Services
and a College of Pharmacy) which was pretty much right down the line of how
UF was organized. The prototype was real clear and it was very helpful to have
had that experience. And yet the College of Medicine had a long history and
were really entrenched. The College of Pharmacy and Health Related Services
and the College of Nursing were all new. So, you had that contrast. You could
see how differently things developed in a curriculum with people who weren't
bogged down with fifty years of tradition of "this is how we have always done it."
Of course, one of the consequences of that was that their medical students were
not about to put up with this stuff, any students, nowadays. Within a year, they
were on strike. Then, our students felt like they had to go on strike, in sympathy.
We had to deal with those sorts of things that had nothing to do with your reality.
I remember going in and talking to the student nurses, saying, Now, what are
your grievances, here? What is it, that you are finding a problem? And they
couldn't think. Because what the medical students were hollering about was that
they wanted representation on the curriculum committee, which we had. We set
it up that way. That kind of stuff, we had set up and built in but they were into
supporting their medical buddies. What do you want us to do? But, we are
already doing it. It was funny. It had a lot of very humorous aspects to it.
S: So, New York was approved for their baccalaureate program?
S: And how long were you the dean there?
H: Until I left and retired in 1972.
S: Were you still living in Queens?
H: No. That commute of driving in New York got old very quickly. There was an
apartment building right across the street that I found out was going to be for
sale. I told Joe Hill, he had to buy it for me because I had to be able to offer
housing. I needed it for recruitment purposes and he said, "OK". And he did it.
That is what I mean. To get into a situation like that, once in your life, is fun. Not
only that, but the building had a parking garage. In New York, that is a very big
thing. So, we moved there. It was old. It was one of those old rent-controlled
apartments. Do you know about rent control?
S: No, I don't think so.
H: In New York, they actually control the rents. They wouldn't let them go. I think it
started in World War II because people were gouging so badly. So, we had
these big, beautiful apartments there. Well, I mean, they were big by New York
standards. It was right across the street from the school. It was a great
recruitment tool. And it was great for me. I just fell out of bed and went to work.
And Francis [Hartigan's husband] had to take the subway whether we were in
Queens or in the apartment building.
S: Was he writing at this time?
H: He was writing but he was still teaching. He taught many years at the school for
the deaf, up there, on 47th street. It was fun being in New York because I had
met him in graduate school the first time I was up there. So, we had a lot of old
haunts-not that we dated, then-but we were in a group that ran around together.
There were a lot of Sweet's [restaurant] where we would go on Friday for fish
and to Coney Island and places like that. It was fun for five years or something
like that. Then, we got sick of New York because it had changed so much. It
was so sad because I loved it when I first went up there, after I got acclimated. It
had changed so much. I couldn't wait to get out of there when we left.
S: When you retired in 1972, did you say good-bye to nursing?
H: Well, pretty much. We came down to Florida and I did a few classes over at the
college at, what used to be, the junior college. Teaching part-time is not my cup
of tea. You don't get to know the students and that is where it is all at, for me.
With part-time, it is in and out.
S: Were you in Florida when Dorothy Smith retired and did you hear anything about
what was going on at the college at that time?
H: I went up there for her funeral. What was it, I went up for?
S: You are thinking of the memorial service in Orlando. Before she died, Bobbie
Ann [Dorothy Smith's daughter] had moved Dorothy down closer to her in
Melbourne, Florida. [National nursing organizations such as NLN, AACN, ANA
and the College of Nursing jointly planned a memorial ceremony in Orlando,
H: Actually, I had very little contact. When I first came down to St. Petersburg,
Korleen Gilles wanted me to be dean at FSU. [Florida State University] I didn't
even agree to do the interview. I went over here when they were setting up the
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. I went over just for a preliminary
interview. I wasn't ready, first of all. I was pretty burned out at the end of my
time in New York. I was ready for a rest.
S: That must have been a phenomenal amount of work.
H: It was a really big job but it turned out, well. We got our accreditation. We
parrr..tied! It really uses up a lot of energy. When we got down here, there were
people calling in the beginning. There always are. But I wasn't really ready to do
anything and I didn't do anything for a long time. I don't remember how I ended
up doing a couple of classes. I guess in a weak moment, somebody called me
and I agreed. I did that for a few years. I haven't done anything now, for five
S: Do you keep up at all?
S: Do you get the alumni newsletter?
H: Yeah, I do. I think I even get it from University of Florida. They keep calling me
an alumni of Florida, though, and I am not. I am a FSU graduate, which is really
kind of funny. Somehow, I ended up on the UF mailing list, which is fine. It is
kind of nice. But I don't keep up with what is going on in the College of Nursing
in either place.
S: Even for those of us in Gainesville, unless there is some unique way to keep up,
there is no way that I know the inner workings of what is going on in the college.
H: I have very fond memories of Gainesville. I remember we had some really great
times and I think we did some really great things. I am in another phase; it is
almost like I am in another world, now.
S: What can you think of that I might have forgotten to ask? What else can you
think should be included?
H: I have to tell you, you are really good. I haven't any ideas. I can't think of
anything we didn't touch on.
S: When you think back on your time at the University of Florida and your
colleagues, what do you think is the legacy of that era? What is the legacy of the
graduate program, or your relationship with Dorothy?
H: Working with Dorothy was a great joy. I am very glad for having had that
experience because I think she was a true visionary and passionate about things
she believed in. I like to think I am pretty much the same way. She opened
doors for me because I was associated with her. There were opportunities that
were available to me that I don't think I would have had without my association
with her. I certainly wouldn't have had the same ones. So, in that regard, it was
a great privilege and a very rewarding experience. Doing the graduate program,
itself, as far as what I did, was very rewarding, too. I believed in the program. I
had a chance to put it together, pretty much, as I believed it. I didn't have to
make too many adjustments. There were a few little things. It isn't often that you
get to do that sort of thing. I had the opportunity and privilege of doing it a couple
of times, which is nice. It is a nice thing to be able to visualize something, dream
it, and then, for the most part, bring it off. There is something kind of satisfying
about it. I think it filled a really significant need at the time because there were
just so many operant things going in nursing at that time. You know, the
transition from the diploma to the baccalaureate school, the movement toward
education-orientation, the need for faculty prepared at a level with other faculty-
all of those things. There was just a major flux in the profession at that time.
S: And the women's movement was going on at that same time. The doctor-nurse
stuff changed exponentially, I think.
H: Right. Another beauty of the Health Center concept was the training of various
professions to work together-training them together, so they can work better
together after the educational process. I think that there was a palpable result
from that in the way professions related to each other. I certainly know there
was, between nursing and medicine, for some of us. There is always going to be
some of the die-hards.
S: I can't thank you enough. I was expecting to enjoy it but it has been double my
H: Oh, good. I have enjoyed it, too. It has really been fun.
[End of the interview.]