After earning an RN, from Abington Hospital, and working in Emergency nursing I immediately began studies for a BSN from the University of Pennsylvania. Later I moved to Heidelberg Germany with my husband, worked for the Army hospital there has a civilian, and completed the last credits for my Penn BSN in History of the Civil War class taught by a doctoral student studying in Heidelberg. I had not appreciated history before then, but this teacher made it come alive, and I was hooked, thus completing my degree.

On returning to the States, I worked as a part-time school nurse, part-time general duty at Bryn Mawr Hospital and while there morphed into a weekend supervisory position. I also then enrolled at Villanova University earning a master’s in nursing administration. While there, Dr. Janie Brown, Museum president (post Louise Fitzpatrick and Dr. Large) invited me to a museum dinner-program at Pennsylvania Hospital. The Museum’s collections were housed in the historic Pine building.

The presentation that evening was given by a nurse historian about her doctoral and post-doctoral research. The historic nursing landscape she presented reinforced in my mind the influence of nursing’s history on contemporary nursing. I volunteered to join the board of the Museum then and to became Program chairman. It was my delight and joy over those years to invite and schedule many nurse historians /scholars for the programs, including Dr. Elizabeth Carnegie and Dr. Hildegard Peplau. NOTE: A few of those programs are in our visual collections.

Then I enrolled in Teachers College at Columbia University to earn an Ed.D.  I stayed overnight in the same building that Adelaide Nutting lived, and read her papers in the Milbank Library, which fueled the strength of my conviction as to the importance of the preservation of nursing’s history. And fueled my dissertation’s research. My dissertation is entitled “The Evolution of the American Nursing Text” from the first by Nutting and Dock (the bibles) to the last by Roberts.  Each edition documented the changes in nursing practice.

After graduation I worked in course construction and teaching for the Penn State campus in Lima at the time. One of my classmates at T.C. was on the faculty at La Salle University School of Nursing and was involved with the Museum of Nursing History as a member and urged me to apply at La Salle.

A few years later, in conjunction with the Villanova School of Nursing, the University of Pennsylvania nursing history center (Pre-Bates) the Museum initiated and sponsored the Invitational Nursing History Conference, (a Nursing History Think Tank) to be held at Pennsylvania Hospital. Credentialed nurse historians from the Midwest and east coast attended. Several published articles resulted from the Conference as well as A Curriculum Guide for the teaching of Nursing History which found its way as far as Japan, India and Africa.

The Invitational met over 11 years until Nursing schools veered away from teaching Nursing History in their curriculum. The influence of evolving social forces on nursing practice and education emphasizes the importance of preserving and disseminating the reality of nursing’s heroic history, the foundation on which Nursing, as it evolves, becomes one of the strongest and most valuables pillars in today’s health care.