Citation
Delores Wennlund oral history interview

Material Information

Title:
Delores Wennlund oral history interview
Creator:
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program

Subjects

Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
letter ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

General Note:
Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Unknown Unknown.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
C53-00047 ( USFLDC DOI )
c53.47 ( USFLDC Handle )

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
Florida Public Health Oral History Project

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd leader ntm 22 Ka 4500controlfield tag 008 s flunnn| ||||ineng datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a C53-000472 USFLDC DOI0 245 Delores Wennlund oral history interviewh [electronic resource] /c interviewed by Unknown Unknown.500 Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.Transcription and timecoding of this interview is underway and will be added when complete. At that time the audio link will be replaced with the OHPi player link (player supporting syncronized audio and full-text transcription).7 655 Oral history.localOnline audio.local710 University of South Florida.b Library.Special & Digital Collections.Oral History Program.1 773 t USF College of Public Health oral history project4 856 u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c53.47


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
segment
idx 0
time 00:00:0.0
text Charlton Prather (CP): Ms. Dolores Wennlund, longtime public health nurse with the Florida State Health Department and some other interesting pieces of past history and community type, general public health type nursing, not necessarily under the auspices of public health, and a longtime director of public health nursing with the Florida public health organization we have today.
1
00:00:29.2
Ms. Wennlund, it is a pleasure to have you come and to sit. And lets just talk about the fun of public health and how you have seen it come and go. Is that appropriate? How you see it come and go?
2
00:00:44.6
Dolores Wennlund (DW): Yeah. Theres a flow to it.
3
00:00:48.4
CP: How in the world did you ever get interested in public health?
4
00:00:52.1
DW: Well, actually, I was widowed very young, and I was working in a rehab hospital. And it was hard work. These were brain damaged children and a lot of heavy lifting and all this kind of thing. And this lady was about 59, and she had to retirethis was before Social Security gave you anything before 65because her back had gone out and all this.
5
00:01:15.8
And I thought, Im in my 30s and I see this happening. So I had two little kids. And I read an ad in the paper that said they were looking for public health. They only hired twice a year in Nassau County Health Department in New York. And they sent you to school, and they had a pension. I thought, a pension? I dont care what they do, Ill try it.
6
00:01:45.1
But they were a little apprehensive about taking me because I was the director of nursing of this little place, and they didnt think I could step down the ladder. Ive been on every step. Im comfortable on any and every step.
7
00:02:5.8
So I was employed, and I had already done some college. And they sent me on, then, for more and I continued. But my first day, I knew I loved it.
8
00:02:21.7
CP: Really? Why?
9
00:02:23.8
DW: Well, I really like variety. And we visited an old person who had hypertension and all this stuff. And then we visited a new baby, and then went to see a little kid who had the chicken pox or something. I thought, Wow, this is great. All in one day.
10
00:02:42.6
CP: And this was all in the home?
11
00:02:45.1
DW: Yeah, home visiting. We did mostly home visiting. Right, right.
12
00:02:50.6
CP: And this was your first day on the job or after youd gotten your training?
13
00:02:52.8
DW: No, first day.
14
00:02:54.3
CP: First day in public health?
15
00:02:55.5
DW: Well, I went out with another nurse, a monitor, and I just found it great. And we had classes every week then. We learned about TB and VD and on and on and on. So, I just loved it, yeah, and moved right along.
16
00:03:18.7
And as I said, I continued courses at the university. I got my bachelors, then I got my masters and was promoted to supervisor. And, now I had a little problem there, this was a Republican county. I was a Democrat, and they didnt fancy Democrats going too far.
17
00:03:41.2
CP: Oh, it disappoints me that politics has gotten, quote, that low down.
18
00:03:46.2
DW: Oh yeah. Even getting appointed was a problem, yes. So we had to take tests for all of these positions. I took the test for director, then, and they lost it. This was a five hour test, they lost it.
19
00:04:3.6
CP: They lost your record?
20
00:04:5.2
DW: They lost mine, yes. And when they found it, well, I had aced it. I had aced all the tests all along, but they still didnt know what to do with me. So I was offered a position at Adelphi University and I said, I guess I had better go.
21
00:04:25.4
CP: Adelphi was Democratic in orientation?
22
00:04:28.5
DW: They were neutral. They didnt care what your politics were.
23
00:04:33.4
CP: That disappoints me, that politics was involved with this professional area. It should not be involved professionally.
24
00:04:40.7
DW: No, it shouldnt, no. And that was one thing that I was really impressed when I came to Florida. And I came to Florida to teach at the college of nursing here, to chair the community nursing unit.
25
00:04:55.7
CP: Here in Tampa, at the University of South Florida?
26
00:04:59.3
DW: Thats it.
27
00:04:59.9
CP: I want you to come back to that in a minute. Go ahead with your thought now though.
28
00:05:2.8
DW: But I was just so impressed because no one asked me how I voted or registered or anything and never, ever did.
29
00:05:13.5
CP: Well, I would hope not. We are interested in your professional ability, not in your political persuasion.
30
00:05:19.3
DW: Anyones [political persuasion], right. I considered this, yeah, really weird.
31
00:05:30.2
CP: Back up to the college in New York that you left the health department, Nassau County Health Department, to go to. What were you doing there?
32
00:05:37.4
DW: I taught public health nursing. I taught ecology and the effect on whatevers
33
00:05:42.9
CP: This is at the school of nursing, in the school of nursing?
34
00:05:44.5
DW: Yeah. And various types of community nursing: occupational health, school health, all the side things. You know how universities are.
35
00:05:59.1
CP: Yeah. We need this course taught, which of you all wants to be an expert in the morning?
36
00:06:4.3
DW: Thats it, right. So I really enjoyed it. And then I got cancer. And I was pretty uncomfortable. My chest always felt like I had a tight rubber band around it. And I came down here just for a visit with someone, and I was so relaxed. It was so easy. And this was a gal I had taught with, and she was working for the division of health. And she said
37
00:06:34.2
CP: She was? What was her name?
38
00:06:36.5
DW: Ellen Cathello. And I applied here, and guess what? One of my old instructors from St. Johns University was the dean of the school of nursing. But they opened the college of medicine at the same time, and Dr. Smith was the dean. And he took every blessed faculty position for medicine and left Alice Keith, who was the nursing dean, with nothing but this very fancy chair that she had for me.
39
00:07:15.1
And so my friend said, Why dont you apply at the state office? They need consultants, and youve got the background. So I went up there and I applied, and I just never left.
40
00:07:28.3
CP: And you never went on faculty here? You never taught a course?
41
00:07:32.8
DW: Well, yes. I did some adjunct kind of stuff.
42
00:07:37.3
CP: Yeah, you did that, though, on all the way through. And you probably still are as of now.
43
00:07:43.3
DW: No, as of now, I am not.
44
00:07:45.2
CP: You are not. You are totally retired?
45
00:07:46.7
DW: I am totally retired, yes. I do other things.
46
00:07:50.2
47
00:08:1.7
DW: Okay. Well, as I say, I was
48
00:08:4.0
CP: You became a consultant and, as I recall, you were stationed in Tampa?
49
00:08:8.1
DW: I was stationed in Tampa on the advisement of my friend who said, Youre not going to want to go follow this and back by (unintelligible) up there. Tell them you have to live in Tampa. So I did, so I was sent to Tampa. And I had all the counties from Tampa to Key West.
50
00:08:27.0
CP: Oh, thats a nice territory.
51
00:08:28.2
DW: Yes, and school health.
52
00:08:31.2
CP: For all those counties?
53
00:08:32.3
DW: Yes, for all those counties. And that was something that we lost later on.
54
00:08:35.9
CP: Well, youre a big girl. You can manage it. Youre a big girl.
55
00:08:38.2
DW: Oh, I enjoyed it to no end. Yes. It was a tremendous experience. So many things, and I still feel closer to those counties after all those years. Yeah, I still get down to Fort Myers once in a while for lunch with the folks down there. And I remember in Key West, two things about Key West. I learned a valuable lesson there, two valuable lessons. One, the receptionist
56
00:09:14.7
CP: At the health department.
57
00:09:15.6
DW: At the health department. And I used to go in, they didnt know who I was, and I would just sit in the back and observe and see what was going on. This gal knew everybody by name and was so open. Oh, come in. How are you doing? Is the baby getting better? That kind of thing.
58
00:09:34.8
She knew a little history on every patient that went in there, and it was crowded. And I thought, Wow, this is a talent. Yeah, Id like to see that in every health department.
59
00:09:48.2
And the other thing I learned was they had a fund. And I guess the health department really provided the primary care, even then, the medical care. And we had all those hippies. This was in the 70s, the early 70s, with all those hippies on the beach.
60
00:10:7.1
They were spending all their money on VD and maternity. Two things that just used up all their funds. They had no more money, and the fiscal year was July 1st. This was at the end of May. And this elderly man came in, and he had this huge tumor on his arm, and they couldnt do anything until July. And I thought, Oh my.
61
00:10:45.8
Too often, when youre in a service milieu, you dont think about the money or what its going to cost or who is going to pay or any of that. And I thought, Oh dear. Yeah, somebody does have to pay and it does have to be money. And, gosh, I hope this guy doesnt lose his arm before then. So, two things from Key West that I carry with me still.
62
00:11:12.0
CP: What happened to the man? Do you know?
63
00:11:14.1
DW: I dont know. I dont know.
64
00:11:15.4
CP: Thats too bad. Do you remember his name?
65
00:11:17.5
DW: No.
66
00:11:18.1
CP: It might be fun to look it up.
67
00:11:19.7
DW: Yeah, that was a long time ago. He was elderly then. But
68
00:11:23.6
CP: Some memories. Did you manage to carry the clerks added to you to anywhere else?
69
00:11:29.3
DW: Yes, I think so. I think so. Yeah. Naturally, everybodys different, and they react differently. But bit by bit, we certainly discouraged the use of numbers instead of calling a person by name. Tried to reduce the waiting time.
70
00:11:55.5
CP: In particular, to me, it was, the clinic starts at eight oclock. Everybody be here at eight oclock. And well see patients until youre all gone. Sometimes that was midafternoon, but I arrived at eight oclock.
71
00:12:9.4
DW: Yeah, right. Thats right. Right, yeah, instead of the appointment system. And years later, Terryoh, I cant think of his last name now. One of the nurse consultants did quite a study on developing a real appointment system on a 15, 20 minute kind of basis so that you could judge. If this was a new patient, it may be 30 minutes. If this was a repeat patient, it might be only 10 minutes and that kind of thing. So we got the appointment system better under control.
72
00:12:47.8
CP: Did it get generally adapted over the state, do you think?
73
00:12:52.7
DW: Yeah. Now, there were always some exceptions. And, again, through experience of working with these folks, our clinics were air-conditioned, and some of our clients didnt have any air-conditioning. And they did not mind sitting two or three hours in an air-conditioned room, and they werent anxious to be shoveled in and out.
74
00:13:21.0
CP: I remember serving in clinics in this city where the clients would sit outside as wed call them from outside because it was cooler outside than it was in the waiting room. We didnt have air-conditioning.
75
00:13:33.3
DW: No, you had the staff outside smoking cigarettes instead.
76
00:13:36.3
CP: Too often. Cigarettes, yeah.
77
00:13:37.6
DW: Too often, yes. But yeah, that was an important part of our focus in nursing was to make it patient-oriented, not nurse-oriented, not doctor-oriented.
78
00:13:56.9
CP: Not paper-oriented.
79
00:13:58.5
DW: No.
80
00:14:0.2
CP: So much in somewhere else its so paper-oriented.
81
00:14:3.2
DW: Oh yes. Oh yes.
82
00:14:4.8
CP: Ive recently experienced some private medical care and, sitting there in the waiting room, was really impressed at how paper-oriented these very sophisticated physicians were causing their offices to operate. And I concluded that the patients were important to them, but more important was making sure all of the insurance paper had all, everything
83
00:14:30.5
DW: Every little form had to be complete.
84
00:14:31.9
CP: Every little thing filled and that was first priority. And I just sat there, Golly, where have we comeI understand. I understand guys, but its a bad testimony, it seems like.
85
00:14:45.2
DW: Well, it is. And I remember when the computers first came into popular use, the message was, Were going to get away with all this paper. We wont have all this paper. You will all have it in the computer. And instead, what happened was that the [fan-fold] paper didnt fit in our file cabinets. It was a different shape and size. Great. We had twice as much paper.
86
00:15:16.5
CP: Yeah, we did. And we still do.
87
00:15:18.1
DW: And we still do, so I dont know
88
00:15:20.5
CP: During your days as consultant from Tampa through Key West, speak to some of your other highlights. What was your programmatic focus, or did it vary over time?
89
00:15:30.0
DW: Well, no. I had the school health program.
90
00:15:33.1
CP: Yes, you mentioned that.
91
00:15:33.8
DW: And they called for awhat was itboard of education health department kind of meeting. I guess its nationwide, maybe its universal. The concept of principals and teachers is that the nurse is there for first aid. I mean, a kid gets bopped on the head, Wheres the nurse?
92
00:16:4.3
And, of course, we were public health nurses. This was not our focus. And I get up and argue this point. Probably not very successfully because I dont think a thing has changed. I think they are still thinking first aid is the nurse.
93
00:16:22.7
But I developed standards. I pulled a committee together of nurses in school health and some of the educators. And we got together, and we wrote standards for public health nursing practice in the schools, which would focus on the child at risk, the child who might be in a really impoverished home, or have some kind of sensory defect: vision, hearing, whatever, those kinds of things, or any chronic disease. And that was our focus in public health. And we would teach the teachers and those folks how to handle first aid.
94
00:17:11.0
CP: Put a Band-Aid on it.
95
00:17:12.5
DW: Right, or 9-1-1.
96
00:17:16.0
CP: But its my impression that thats still not so. The reason the principal wants a nurse there is to take care of the acute illness, whether that be an injury or the headache or what have you.
97
00:17:27.1
DW: And here they have medications that are being given out by clerks and all this. But I always felt it was insurance. If they sue us, were all in trouble.
98
00:17:39.5
CP: Yeah. We had the best.
99
00:17:43.0
DW: Yeah, but those standards were adapted to the state, and then I presented that paper at the American Public Health Association. They were very popular. Lots of states adopted them that had that kind of system.
100
00:18:4.3
So because of that, Jane Wilcox was the nursing director, and she kind of had her eye on me as her successor. And four years after I arrived, thats exactly what happened. Yeah, Jane left. And I was appointed director, and you appointed me.
101
00:18:30.5
CP: I remember. I remember.
102
00:18:33.7
DW: John McGarry and I were your first appointees.
103
00:18:38.2
CP: My right-hand people. Thats right. Yeah, you were. Well, thats fun. Thats rather quick, your three years. The school health, in developing those standards, did they get promulgated state-wide and adapted here by the school health people?
104
00:18:53.5
DW: In our counties.
105
00:18:55.3
CP: With your counties. Okay.
106
00:18:56.6
DW: In our counties, yeah.
107
00:18:58.2
CP: What did Jane do with them from a state-level point of view? And did the department of education ever react?
108
00:19:3.9
DW: Oh yeah, they came too. What I did with those standards, I must have held about 14, 15 workshops around the state and invited the educators as well as the nurses. So we had a really good discussion about how this needs to work. And even if they employed nurses by the school board, they could still use the public health nurse in this fashion, as the outreach kind of person, because thats another thing, they dont want their school nurses to ever leave the building in case somebody gets hit on the head.
109
00:19:45.9
CP: Ive been gone 10 years. Youve been gone almost 10 years, too. Whats the current status, do you know? Do you keep up with it, where is school health?
110
00:19:54.1
DW: Well, yeah, even just before I retired we had a number of initiatives going on. There was always a constant relationship between education and health, and this went on and on and on. I was on the school health medical advisory committee and the only nurse on the medical committee.
111
00:20:27.9
And we tried desperately to get some legislation through. And there were little bits of legislation, statutes, acts, here and there. And we wanted to pull that together into one. And, if you remember, you sent me over to Tallahassee to secure school health because legislators were talking about how people thought there was money with this. So other folks began to think, We can do school health too.
112
00:21:2.8
And I was sent over to secure, which I did. But unfortunately, because of the nasty head of politics again, there was no money. So we got the program without the money, which is a hollow victory to say the least.
113
00:21:32.1
CP: Yeah, thats not uncommon in Florida public health and otherwise, too. Nationally, too, recently.
114
00:21:38.3
DW: But then later, some young man came out here. He was an intern for something or other. And I didnt know he was with the legislature. And he came in and he wanted to know, Well, how would you develop a budget? Like if there was a school health bill, how would you develop a budget?
115
00:21:57.2
I said, Well, look. Say youre going to have a nurse in there, say, three hours, just as an example. And I worked through how it would cost for supervision, it would cost for mileage, and on, and on, and on. This is the way you develop a budget. Theres so many three hour sessions in a week and whatnot.
116
00:22:20.6
He brought that back, and that became that they did get that money. Just exactly what I had laid out as a rough sample.
117
00:22:28.4
CP: With no pre-thinking.
118
00:22:30.5
DW: None at all. Thats what we got. But what happened was three hours, that was it. Three hours a week, the nurse had to be there. So not everyone blessed me for that, but we did get money.
119
00:22:50.9
And then just before I retired, they had another nurse consultant who came in and was starting. And Im trying to think, I cant think, they had a special name for it, but it was like full service. And there would be a nurse practitioner in the school giving medical care to kids that need it and that kind of thing. So many of the counties are in that system now.
120
00:23:29.1
CP: Well, back to your district. Before you come to state, now, back to your district area. Other highlights of your district association. You spent four years in sharp contrast to what you were doing in Nassau and in the university setting. Did you have any adjusting to do psychologically?
121
00:23:47.1
DW: No, not really. Because a consultants role was essentially teacher, so I just went on teaching in a different format
122
00:23:55.9
CP: Your classroom was different.
123
00:23:57.2
DW: Yeah, right. And many of the nurses, they thirsted for this kind of information. They really did.
124
00:24:10.3
CP: The nurses in the health department?
125
00:24:11.9
DW: Yeah. Oh, and the other little thing, I had forgotten that we also did home health. And that nurse consultants through the state did the Medicare certification investigations.
126
00:24:25.2
CP: Thats right. I remember that, yes.
127
00:24:27.4
DW: Yeah. So like one month youd go in friendly consultant, Im going to help you with all this, and then next month, now you were their investigator and, Oh, you didnt do this right.
128
00:24:46.1
CP: Thats a bad dual role. Thats inappropriate.
129
00:24:48.1
DW: It was. Yeah, it really was because it put a strain on you. These were people that you knew and you liked and you didnt want to say, Ah, youre going to get it. But it wasnt impossible, either, because you had an opportunity to really work with them.
130
00:25:8.5
There was a lot of bookkeeping with the Medicare program. Oh my, all kinds of time charts and all that kind of stuff. And some of our nurses who are, really, not very sophisticated in this kind of thing. And I never went without a calculator. And there was many a night I spent in a hotel room working out all those figures to see if I could get them straight. So there was that too.
131
00:25:43.1
CP: What was your favorite program besides school health? What was your second favorite program as a nurse consultant?
132
00:25:49.1
DW: Well, I guess I was in public health an awfully long time before I even knew there was anything besides maternal and child health. But there was lots of emphasis, and there were lots of resources, and there were lots of people involved with that. And somewhere along the line I got concerned. We always had clinics for the elderly. You know, we had hypertension clinics and this kind of thing, but that was about it.
133
00:26:22.1
Then Darcie Glick, who was an adult health nurse consultant, she came on staff and got involved with the University of Miami. They were doing a study in home visits for chemotherapy, for cancer patients. And we got that going in the [Florida] Panhandle, but it never really got the support and just faded out.
134
00:26:52.0
But I think it wouldve really been very beneficial. Those folks living in the [Florida] Panhandle and in some of these rural areas, the way they had to travel miles and miles and miles every day. It was brutal. So that
135
00:27:10.4
CP: Why didnt it catch on?
136
00:27:12.6
DW: It just never got any money support, and I guess the hospitals and the doctors, they werent too keen on us going in and doing this. So that did fold, but it was a good demonstration, certainly, that this is something that can and should happen.
137
00:27:38.8
CP: Is it in the right hands, those data? Its been a long while since Darcie was here.
138
00:27:44.1
DW: Yeah, I have no idea.
139
00:27:44.8
CP: Some of these things that prove so good yesterday, if theyre in the proper place, like on this tape, some researcher will pick it up and say, Golly, that is specific to the pro I hope that it getsyouve made a proper note, and theres some historian thats going to find this comment.
140
00:28:2.0
DW: Yeah, and think about this because weve got a lot of rural areas in this state. These states
141
00:28:7.9
CP: Still.
142
00:28:8.7
DW: still, absolutely. I think if we had more centralized medical care. Now we have the technology to expand that electronically or however through the state. So we dont have to have an MRI machine in every hamlet, that kind of thing. So my interest in organization always wanders into that kind of area that we should indeed be doing more that way.
143
00:28:51.5
CP: And we have all the technology for it. Why do you think we dont expand to there? Why dont we utilize it?
144
00:28:58.4
DW: Oh, money, money, money. Money has been throughout the experience even with those first nurses that came in for treating the TB patients in this state, going through the swamp and fighting off the alligators and all that kind of stuff. After they did a few years of that and these tremendous gains that they made, the money got wiped out and they all got fired, this kind of thing.
145
00:29:30.1
And thats been the bumpy road for all of public health because it depends on tax money. And today, theres an even greater emphasis on no new taxes. Well, you cant do those things without money. You just cant do it. And I think that public health has always been reticent about coming forward and blowing their own horn. They work quietly
146
00:30:3.6
CP: Oh, we never have. Thats the public health nature.
147
00:30:6.6
DW: Yeah. And consequently, its not charismatic enough for the legislators to come forward. And now we have this encephalitis scare in this area, and theyre breeding the chickens and everything.
148
00:30:24.1
And I can remember before I retired, one of the legislators saying, Sentinel chickens? Thats a riot. Would they mind jumping down? And he was obviously thinking of a sentinel at a guard booth. But that was a message we had not gotten over, obviously.
149
00:30:48.8
CP: Im aware that youve written an excellent account of the history of Floridas public health nursing. Talk about that a minute. How did public nursing in Florida get started?
150
00:30:59.7
DW: Well, it got startedDr. Hanson was the health officer and there was an outbreak, or maybe it was more thanit wasnt an outbreak, there was just a very high caseload of tuberculosis patients in this state. And he felt that, perhaps, nurses could be hired to go out and teach the people, the tubercular patients, how to take care of themselves, how to control the disease, and prevent spread to family and others.
151
00:31:37.5
And it took three or four years before he finally got three nurses. And then the next year, I think there were eight or nine or something, but it progressed up to about a dozen nurses. So that by 1915, in the 1915 annual report, they all wrote in their letters and their annual reports.
152
00:32:5.7
And its a treasure, some of the problems that they had. One was a black nurse and she had more problems than the others, understandably. Doctors really resented them, and it took a long time before they realized that, Gee, theyre taking care of these people, and I dont have to. Good.
153
00:32:31.1
Many of the patients were black or Hispanic, and all were poor. And many of them were in very remote areas. Now, some of the largest cities already had programs going. So this was the state looking at the more rural areas. And the letters are absolutely a treasure. They really are.
154
00:33:5.5
CP: I think you told me you had brought copies to give to the library.
155
00:33:8.1
156
00:33:9.2
CP: Thanks.
157
00:33:11.0
DW: But one of them reported that she had a lot of trouble with the county commission, and they didnt approve this. They didnt like this, and they didnt like that. Well, she went to the womens club, where the county commissioners wives were meeting, and she got them all charged up. And the next thing you know, the county commissioners said, Well, okay. Thats fine.
158
00:33:39.9
CP: I dont have any trouble with that.
159
00:33:42.4
DW: Oh, no, no. And theyre very ingenuous
160
00:33:45.5
CP: Florida association womens clubs have been terribly influential in public health progress in this state.
161
00:33:49.6
DW: Oh yes. Oh yes. Well, theyve since been
162
00:33:52.2
CP: And it started with one of your nurses, one of the nurses, going directly down. Love it. I love it, love it, love it.
163
00:33:58.9
DW: So thats how it all started because they didnt just look at tuberculosis. I mean, one of them really got after Tampa because of their sewage running in the streets and things like that. Yeah, these people will never be healthy unless they do something about this.
164
00:34:22.7
They got involved with maternity and infant care, and that led into the next part, and that was maternity and infant care. And they developed a unit, and I forget what the name of it was, but they brought in a nurse to head it up. And then the rocky road again, you know, theyre there a couple of years and then, no money. Theyre all fired. And then a couple years later, it swings back.
165
00:34:58.1
One of the fascinating parts that the state nursing director gotwell, she had a staff of four or something with the state, and they were worried about them keeping their jobs. Now, this was during the Depression. And there was a federal program for assistance to unemployed persons, FERA or something like that. But she did a quick study: a family with 300 nurses who were unemployed in this state. She got the federal money and hired them all.
166
00:35:50.4
CP: She did?
167
00:35:51.1
DW: Yeah.
168
00:35:51.8
CP: I love it.
169
00:35:52.8
DW: And that was the first time that there was a substantial staff.
170
00:36:0.7
CP: One of those, for your interest, was named Ruth Peoples.
171
00:36:5.1
DW: Ruth Peoples, okay.
172
00:36:6.1
CP: Yeah, Ruth Peoples. Her later married name was something else, but she ended up as director of nurses for Marion County. Ruth something else. But she was hired for the Hamilton County Health Department under that program, incidentally. And she went to work there because she hadyou dont need to hold her whole story, but just forthats exciting. Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead.
173
00:36:34.5
DW: Another thread through all of that, it went with Dr. Hanson, when he hired those first three nurses. He said, Now, I want super people. And I want them well trained. And he had a little program for them before they ever went out.
174
00:36:54.1
And then later, with these FEMA nursesor FERA, whateverthey were very concerned that these were not prepared in public health in any way. So, again, they started programs, yes.
175
00:37:13.3
These two and threethe one that didnt know him decided not to attend the three month training program because they recognized that this is beyond hospital care. This involves a different kind of person. One who is more skilled in communication and teaching and those kinds of things, in addition to other nursing skills.
176
00:37:40.7
So, thats how it all started. And just, bit by bit, it grew. The counties began to get more organized. The cities had had their health departments, but then the counties got in the act. And it was interesting to see. That was the initiative, though, that really pushed it along.
177
00:38:5.6
CP: Thats marvelous. Dr. Porter, the original health officer, what was his attitude toward nurses?
178
00:38:13.5
DW: Yeah. Okay, good.
179
00:38:14.9
CP: He didnt have any nurses.
180
00:38:16.4
DW: No, he didnt have any nurses.
181
00:38:18.6
CP: How come? He didnt see the need for public health nurses, for what we now call public health nurses?
182
00:38:23.4
DW: No, I think, you know
183
00:38:26.1
CP: I know all this is before your time, now, Delores. I know this was before your time.
184
00:38:31.6
DW: It seems to me that they focused more on environmental health and communicable disease and those kinds of things.
185
00:38:40.0
CP: Yeah, they did. Right. Its just surprising because I see public health nurses as such an integral part of the public health team, and I cant imagine doing public health without a nurse oriented into public health.
186
00:38:56.5
DW: Yeah, well, I think its a team effort. Its not just the nurse. And I can remember working with the environmental health folks, the sanitarians, very closely. And the nurse might be the first one to see the problem and report it to them or vice-versa. They may see, Heres a real problem family. You better get somebody out there to look at them. That kind of thing. So weve enjoyed that kind of team sense, not
187
00:39:38.6
CP: To me, thats the strength of public health.
188
00:39:40.2
DW: Yeah, and it was never competitive.
189
00:39:43.2
CP: Yeah, and it must not be.
190
00:39:44.9
DW: No, and
191
00:39:47.1
CP: I dont see how it could be competitive, come to think of it. Its kind of like this football player saying, Im a better tennis player than you.
192
00:39:54.9
DW: It wouldnt work if it werent a real team. And I think about when we were reorganized in 75, 76. What a traumatic time that was. We know what we have to do, but we dont know how were ever going to accomplish it in this setting.
193
00:40:19.7
CP: You had administrative milieu.
194
00:40:22.0
DW: Oh yes. It was confusing, and people were really disoriented. But we had that group that got together, and it represented every one of the units. There was chronic disease, and communicable disease, and environmental health, and nursing, and nutrition, and social work.
195
00:40:44.3
Everybody sat around that table and we looked. Lets pick one service, and how can we all contribute to that service? And we picked maternal and infant care. How can we contribute to that? One of the booklets that I brought was published then as a submission under your name, and we showed how this works and how it has to work. But we convinced ourselves, but I dont think
196
00:41:22.9
CP: Did anybody ever read it besides us?
197
00:41:25.4
DW: Im not sure that they ever did.
198
00:41:28.1
CP: Yeah, thats too bad.
199
00:41:29.7
DW: Yeah. But it was a tremendous effort, in terms of real, collective thinking.
200
00:41:37.6
CP: Yes, and useful. Very useful, except for the administrative milieu under which we were operating or trying to operate. Do you have any insight into how come that remains so disjointed?
201
00:41:53.8
DW: Well, I think that we lost some key people that quit.
202
00:42:2.6
CP: Yes, we did. Because of the move to Tallahassee?
203
00:42:7.7
DW: Yeah. And, think about it. You were new. I was new. Jack McGarry was new. And here were thrown into this maelstrom.
204
00:42:19.7
CP: I thought it was a pot of hot tar.
205
00:42:23.3
DW: That, too. Yeah. But that was a very traumatic time. And even the consultants, I remember begging them, You have to let me know. I dont know if youre going to have a job or not, but I have to know if youll go anywhere.
206
00:42:43.9
If you really want the job, youll do anything, any classification, if you really want the job. I have to know these things. Are there places that you cannot go or will not go? I have to have this information so that I can represent you as well as I can. But it was a rough, rough time.
207
00:43:9.0
And even home healthand we havent addressed home healththat was another thing we got involved with. We had Sadie Reading and Dorothy Hildebrand shared a home, and then they moved to Tallahassee. But the rest of the home health though, thats when the politicians in Jacksonville realized that they were losing all these voters who were moving, and they stopped the move.
208
00:43:38.1
So the rest of the home health staff was in Jacksonville and their director was in Tallahassee. And that was exciting. But that was another area that, I guessBob Graham was a state senator at that time and Reubin Askew was the governor. And there was a push to license private home health agencies. They were not certified under Medicare unless they were licensed, and we didnt have a licensure law.
209
00:44:22.5
And we opposed it, but it passed. And they licensed these private agencies and there was chaos. They went into hospitals and fought over patients. I mean, it was really disgraceful. It was a dreadful, dreadful thing to happen.
210
00:44:45.3
And Lawton Chiles was, then, our senator. He came down and he held a hearing in Tampa. And one of these private agencies, the internal revenuers, was there too. And when Chiles went all through there, the guy was making 100,000 [dollars] a year, and his wife was the vice president, and she was making 80,000 [dollars], and his daughter was the treasurer and she was making all thisthey were arrested before they ever left that room by Internal Revenue [Service]. Oh, that was an exciting hearing.
211
00:45:26.0
And then laterand I have the letter in there of the United States Senate Special Committee on Agingthey asked for me to come up and testify there, so that was an experience I had.
212
00:45:45.2
CP: Okay. You want to talk about that?
213
00:45:46.5
DW: Yeah, sure.
214
00:45:49.1
215
00:45:50.7
DW: No, [Frank Forrester] Church.
216
00:45:52.8
CP: Okay, yeah. Church.
217
00:45:53.7
DW: Yeah, Senator Church was the chair, but, as a matter of fact, when I got there Senator Chiles was chairing. So that was very nice. And I got to talk first because he said he would take the prerogative.
218
00:46:14.6
CP: Let his own state go.
219
00:46:15.8
DW: Right, right, right.
220
00:46:16.4
CP: Good, good, good.
221
00:46:18.5
DW: So that was really a very interesting experience, and they had lots of questions. How could this be controlled? And now, just pick up the newspapers and you see they havent done a great job about controlling it. Its a real dilemma.
222
00:46:45.0
Either they need to put enough money into home health that persons who are discharged from the hospital who really need high-quality care really get it, and not saywhat happened was Medicare would certify 100 visits. You could have 100. Well, they sent everybody in but the family pet. We had the nurse, we had the aid, we had the physical therapist, we had a nutritionist, we had an occupational therapist, everybody, so theyd get their 100 visits.
223
00:47:29.1
At one of these outfits, and Im not sure that maybe a lot of them did it, had one nurse who was an excellent writer. She wrote all of them. All of the records were the same. Of course, that Medicare paid our nurses, so she met whatever Medicare wanted.
224
00:47:48.5
So and then this was at the same time that we were reorganized. We lost the unit that really certified home health because we only had the two consultants. We had hundreds of agencies. There was no way they could go out and inspect all these agencies.
225
00:48:19.6
And so we lost that, and then after Dorothy [Ebersbach] had died, and those nurse consultants, the two of them, were reassigned. And then the whole program was transferred to the nursing home licensure unit, which by that time was headed by an attorney. Who else? So we lost a lot on that reorganization.
226
00:48:50.3
CP: Yes, we did, Dolores. Public health suffered. We have not recovered yet. The people of Florida have not recovered yet.
227
00:48:59.4
DW: And the state suffered because if we had a sufficient number of folks who could go out, we couldve brought that under control because we knew where to look.
228
00:49:13.8
CP: Yes, and how to look.
229
00:49:16.4
DW: And we just lost that capacity, and that was too bad.
230
00:49:23.0
CP: Among the number of others.
231
00:49:24.0
DW: Yeah. And for all of these programs we were constantly writing rules.
232
00:49:32.5
CP: They still are. They still are.
233
00:49:33.1
DW: Rules, rules, and rules, yes. Now, because of that program with Darcie Glick and the cancer patients, kind of got me interested in the elderly. And our population was growing and growing. And I thought, Gee, if we could get a grant to do something in preventive services for the elderly, not more hypertension clinics. Lets do something to prevent
234
00:50:10.8
CP: Or diabetes monitoring.
235
00:50:11.9
DW: Yeah, right. And we got a program going with Sandy Schoenfisch. And I know you know Sandy.
236
00:50:21.1
CP: Yes.
237
00:50:23.2
DW: And I wrote up a grant and got the money for that. We studied the state and found two counties: Citrus and Hernando. Yeah, those two counties really had the greatest number of elderly, percentage-wise.
238
00:50:44.1
So we started this program. Went out to the senior centers and that kind of thing. Got the doctors involved, ophthalmologists came in and did eyes and this kind of thing, so it got to be a real community effort. We looked at good screenings. Picked up a few cases of colon cancer, and we did the screenings. We did immunizations, including pneumonia, which was a new one, and we were happy to be able to provide that.
239
00:51:22.2
We did what we call the brownbag check. Bring all of your medications in. And wed go through that and see what they were taking and clear all that confusion up. And then had regular classes in health.
240
00:51:38.5
CP: In nutrition. General nutrition.
241
00:51:41.5
DW: Oh, yeah, the nutritionists did a full nutrition survey on them too. So it was a
242
00:51:51.1
CP: Youre aware that the state health department has no nutrition focus now?
243
00:51:57.5
DW: Oh my.
244
00:51:58.3
CP: Did you know that? They dont any nutrition.
245
00:52:0.8
DW: Theyve just turned it over to the daily newspapers or the TV?
246
00:52:4.1
CP: I think so. One or the other.
247
00:52:7.0
DW: Yeah. Oh my. Thats bad news.
248
00:52:10.5
CP: Yeah, it is. Well, those were, or are, rather exciting times. And youre flipping back and forth in my time element, and thats doing okay. Thats doing okay.
249
00:52:22.4
If you highlight that 74, 76 reorg/move to Tallahassee period, what would be the outstanding events of those days, from your nursing point of view? One was the uncertainties of consultants, which you mentioned.
250
00:52:42.9
DW: Oh yes. Well, our consultants were reassigned to various districts and there was a real power struggle, then, because I wanted to keep them on the state staff for one major reason: because all of them, also, were specialists. They were generalized public health nursing consultants, but each one had a different specialty area, and they were hired for that.
251
00:53:18.3
We had an epidemiologist. We had a family planning specialist. We had a maternity specialist. We had a midwife, all this. And we used them on a statewide basis for those specialties. We were doing workshops or anything of that nature. Well, when they went to the districts we lost that. They were gophers in the districts. So, that was something that
252
00:53:47.1
CP: And there wasnt one for every district. How did you cover that?
253
00:53:50.7
DW: Well, they had
254
00:53:52.4
CP: Did the districts get all hot and bothered about that?
255
00:53:55.1
DW: Oh yeah. And ultimately they all did haveI thought it was remarkable. We had one district for one county and one consultant. Thats like having somebody come in every day, How are you doing? It was madness.
256
00:54:12.7
We tried to have collectives, if you will. Like District 8 had all of Fort Meyers and Collier County and all those little counties around there, all the way up to Sarasota, with one consultant. And then here they had a consultant for Pinellas and Hillsborough and Pope, then Pope was pulled out. So there was a lot of struggling.
257
00:54:50.6
258
00:54:54.6
DW: Well, even if they did, that didnt mean they could do it.
259
00:54:58.4
CP: Yeah, under this new scheme of things. I thought they would settle back in very quickly to what it was they were to be after.
260
00:55:7.5
DW: No, it was very difficult. And human nature, being what it is, some of the counties felt, Good, we dont have to do what you tell us.
261
00:55:21.8
CP: Well, they werent accountable to you anymore.
262
00:55:25.3
DW: Thats right. So we had some of that, too. That kind of spoiled the broth a little bit.
263
00:55:38.4
CP: All right. Well move on. We finally got reorganized and kind of got settled in. What happened then, from a nursing point of view?
264
00:55:47.1
DW: From the nursing point of view, lets see. We struggled on, and then we moved. We moved a lot. We were on the ground floor, then were on the fourth floor, then were on the third floor and the second floor, then we were in another building, then we were moved back, so
265
00:56:8.9
CP: Well, you didnt accumulate a lot of trash. You got to throw away pretty often.
266
00:56:11.5
DW: Oh, youre right. Youre right. So amidst all this moving we met lots and lots of other fellows that we learned to get along with. Then we had a different health officer. I guess Jim Howell came in next.
267
00:56:44.2
CP: He wasnt there very long, though.
268
00:56:46.1
DW: No, no. And that was fine. We had some kind of a memoyoull rememberfrom this secretary who said we were not allowed to do anything for anybody who was ill, injured, or anything else. Let them lie there and call 9-1-1 kind of a thing. And then when Jim was appointed to health officer, it was Margaret Jacks ran up three flights of stairs to a meeting and had a little angina when she got up there.
269
00:57:22.0
And Howell was there, and he was very upset. And I came up a few minutes later. And he said, Well, you can do something with her. And I went over and I said, Margaret, do you have any nitroglycerin or anything you carry? Oh yeah. Pop it under the tongue, honey. From that moment on, Jim Howell was shouting, Shes my 9-1-1, and he brought this huge, huge thing.
270
00:57:52.0
CP: Oh, that first aid/resuscitation kit?
271
00:57:55.0
DW: Yes, that I was supposed to grab and run out.
272
00:57:58.0
CP: What ever happened to that thing?
273
00:57:59.4
DW: I dont know. I hope it got lost.
274
00:58:0.9
CP: It was a joke.
275
00:58:2.4
DW: It was heavy, too.
276
00:58:4.0
CP: It was a joke.
277
00:58:5.7
278
00:58:45.5
CP: What was his business for that?
279
00:58:49.7
DW: He didnt
280
00:58:51.0
CP: He just thought it would be the thing to do?
281
00:58:53.1
DW: Yeah. So I was moved downstairs. And the nurses throughout the state were incensed. I mean, they really let him have it. But he did not back off in any way. So I also lost my secretary, so I had to share his secretary, because I was moved downstairs, and I was in the next office. And, actually, that developed into something even better.
282
00:59:29.3
CP: Oh good.
283
00:59:32.7
DW: Yes, with a little ingenuity. I said, Really, if Im going to be responsible for writing standards for nursing practice and nursing service and classification for the different nurses and that, I must have contact throughout the state. So let me have an advisory committee or something. I will appoint some nurses throughout the state. Oh, all right.
284
01:00:0.7
Well, I did appoint. I was criticized for it by some. They felt it shouldve been a more democratic thing. But I didnt want people who couldnt do the job. I wanted people who could really produce. And we had
285
01:00:16.2
CP: This is a diplomatic party were having here.
286
01:00:19.0
DW: Yeah right. So we had that advisory committee, and that was really very, very good. We represented all parts of the state. And you really get a feel [for] what are the problems thisthe whole business about standing orders and giving medications in the clinics.
287
01:00:45.0
We had a buddy. Now, we had pharmacies. Somewhere in that reorganization, we got a pharmacy group. And he went around and was signingall the health departments said that nurses were practicing medicine and pharmacy without a license, and he was going to get them.
288
01:01:10.2
Now, this came back to me through the advisory committee because, lo and behold, a couple of our nurses were married to pharmacists who said, Oh, hes out to get a nurse. So, I did a study. He wanted a pharmacist.
289
01:01:32.2
I said, It will not be enough to put a pharmacist in every county because we have over 300 clinic sites, and thats where this goes on. So we would need 360 pharmacists. And it would cost millions if standing orders arent approved.
290
01:01:56.0
He said that that was illegal. Standing orders were illegal. So we were brought up to the secretary, who listened to this, and he says, You mean were shooting ourselves in the foot? I said, No, were aiming higher.
291
01:02:19.2
CP: Not too much higher.
292
01:02:21.8
DW: So he said, Well, lets see. Weve got to do something. Then we had another committee. We had the pharmacy association, the nurses association, and all these other folks. And, of course, it was pretty wild. They would never agree to anything. So we developed some legislation that would allow the nurses to give medication under standing orders.
293
01:02:51.3
CP: Yes. They do that in hospitals all the time. They have forever.
294
01:02:55.2
DW: Well, interestingly, that helped get that through because who was the head of the committee that it went to? It was a pharmacist. I thought, Oh, we are dead in the water. And they changed the wording to read that nurses could ordernow we didnt say anything about ordercould order and dispense medications under protocols or something like that.
295
01:03:27.4
And they thought, Sure, see, that would kill it. The docs would come out and go mad. But the docs were seeing that the standing orders wouldnt work. I mean, theyd be up all day and all night, running, writing their own letters. So they went with us, and the bill passed.
296
01:03:51.5
CP: What did the pharmacists think about that?
297
01:03:53.8
DW: They were very unhappy, but all we wanted to do was, a kid comes in with lice or something, and you give them something.
298
01:04:4.3
CP: Yeah, you treat the boy.
299
01:04:6.4
DW: Yeah. So that was an exciting time.
300
01:04:14.1
CP: I sense that youve had a lot of those.
301
01:04:16.7
DW: Yes.
302
01:04:18.5
CP: Tell me about another one.
303
01:04:19.8
DW: All right. Well, entirely different, just about the time we were reorganized, the state passed a legislation to allow collective bargaining. And the AFSCME, [American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees] is it? The union that represents all the municipal employees and that, they were fighting for it. The nurses association was fighting to represent nurses. And the police benevolence association, they were fighting to represent the police.
304
01:05:1.6
So I spent a whole day in court on that one swearing that actually our supervisors in our counties did not hire anybody. They supervised the practice. They didnt supervise the person, in that sense. They did not hire. They did not fire.
305
01:05:23.3
CP: Thats correct.
306
01:05:26.1
DW: So that passed. That got through. And the nurses association, however, now was not representing just nurses. They represented doctors, nutritionists, everybody except the environmental health. And they were begging me, Please, get us in. I wrote all kinds of memos, saying, how we worked together and that. But no, no, no. The collective bargaining group, he would not approve them. They didnt lay hands on people, so.
307
01:05:59.6
But that was another exercise. And then, actually, all positions in nursingthe consultants, everybodywere in the union, except for
308
01:06:18.0
CP: You.
309
01:06:18.7
DW: Me and my assistant. I did have an assistant. I didnt have a unit, but I did have an assistant.
310
01:06:22.2
CP: As being an executive branch
311
01:06:22.6
DW: I didnt have a unit, but I did have an assistant.
312
01:06:27.2
CP: And no secretary, you shared the secretary, still.
313
01:06:29.7
DW: Right. And then we had AIDS come along.
314
01:06:35.4
CP: AIDS.
315
01:06:36.0
DW: AIDS. That was anotherlets see, [Dr. Stephen H.] King was the health officer when we really first started getting reports on AIDS and problems with getting these people admitted to hospitals and to nursing homes. Nobody wanted to touch them. So, that he gave to me. Sitting down the hall, You do something with this.
316
01:07:4.6
So we wrote a control program. What they could use to clean up and disinfect and all this kind of stuff. But it was an interesting kind of thing because we were denied the classical public health approach to a communicable disease.
317
01:07:31.6
No, no, no, no, no. Dont do that. Oh, you cant report it. Well, how are we going to know it if we dont report it? That kind of thing. It was a mess is what it was.
318
01:07:47.0
CP: Keep talking. Work through some of the original decision processes.
319
01:07:51.3
DW: Well, we met with some of the folks who were dealing with AIDS patients, and they needed counseling and support as much as the patient did. Absolutely, they were scared. Absolutely.
320
01:08:7.3
And so there was a lot of that. And wed go around to nursing homes, try to show them if youre wearing gloves, youll be all right. But it was tragic. And, as I say, without the customary kind of reporting system, we could not develop a system to deal with it.
321
01:08:40.1
CP: That continues to be a problem.
322
01:08:42.0
DW: Oh yes. Oh yeah. Right. Right. Well, now you have the at-risk group for telling you what to do instead of vice-versa.
323
01:08:55.3
CP: That seems to be the way it is.
324
01:08:57.2
DW: Yes, yes.
325
01:09:0.9
CP: How long did it take you to settle in to some corner of AIDS acceptableness or programming routine?
326
01:09:7.7
DW: I guess it was about a year before, then we had an AIDS office and had some people assigned to it.
327
01:09:20.5
CP: Did nursing stay very involved?
328
01:09:22.8
DW: Oh yeah. We had a nurse in that office. And then, later, Sandy Schoenfisch, I think she headed up that office. Shes a talented, talented gal. And then the other big thing we had was midwives.
329
01:09:44.1
CP: You hadnt mentioned midwives. Are you talking nurse or lay or both?
330
01:09:49.1
DW: Well, to begin with, we had thousands of midwives in this state. And Ive got a couple of reports there that I wrote.
331
01:09:58.0
CP: Okay. That youre going to leave with us?
332
01:10:0.7
DW: Absolutely. They were written for the legislature to understand the problem. They did not understand the problem.
333
01:10:9.4
CP: Even after you wrote.
334
01:10:12.7
DW: Well, we had all these granny midwives, and they were well intentioned. And theyd get some kind of licensure in the early days, way before my time, but after they put through the licensure law, they dropped from, like 6,000 to 100 or 500 or something like that. They just evaporated.
335
01:10:43.3
CP: Is that because of the strictness of the licensure law?
336
01:10:46.2
DW: Yeah, right. It said they had to have a little training, is what it said. Very strict. So then they started training programs in the counties, and thats how the counties got to be so involved with midwifery because they would issue the license.
337
01:11:8.5
CP: Give me an approximate year when this started.
338
01:11:12.3
DW: Lets see. That must have been in the 30s when that all started. But these people, they were the same people now in the 70s, and theyre old now. I mean theyre real old.
339
01:11:30.2
CP: All the same granny midwives.
340
01:11:31.8
DW: Right, right. We didnt have any new granny midwives, just the same old ones. So we had started a program to ease them out, essentially. And we gave them a certificate, like this big, with all kinds of stuff around it, thanking them for the service that they had rendered to the state. And they did, I mean there were no other folks around to deliver babies. So, bit by bit, as they got older we would
341
01:12:9.8
CP: Give them their plaque.
342
01:12:11.0
DW: Give them their plaque and wish them well. And then we start getting these other reports about lay midwives, and this was at the beginning of the 60s with the hippie movement and that
343
01:12:26.2
CP: Yes, yeah, back to nature.
344
01:12:28.9
DW: Yeah, back to nature. So, we had, then, these lay midwives who were delivering babies who were outside the loop. I mean, they had no backup in terms of a physician. What happened was that if they started to run into problems with the patient, they would delay bringing them to the hospital because they didnt want to get in trouble.
345
01:12:57.6
And we had some really gory, gory episodes. We really did. Dreadful. But the first case we had that went to court was over in St. Augustine and the doctor, this gal had worked for an obstetrician. She was a clerk.
346
01:13:22.1
CP: Was that a receptionist or something?
347
01:13:23.4
DW: Yeah. Well, she opened her own business and started to deliver babies, and he charged her with practicing medicine without a license. So, that was my first court case on midwifery. And Ill never forget it because I went in thereher attorneys were from the college of law at the University of Florida and one from Chicago. She had about three attorneys. I met our attorney two seconds before we went in. He says, Whats this about? Whats this about?
348
01:14:3.9
CP: He was asking you. Youre his
349
01:14:5.3
DW: Well, I saw his office. He had a stack of cases to the ceiling. So, of course, we lost that case. And the law was declared unconstitutional. Well, this just opened up everything.
350
01:14:21.5
CP: Pandoras box.
351
01:14:23.4
DW: So thats when we began to get reports from all over. It was dreadful. We went to court down here in Tampa. One woman, she had partially delivered the baby, and it was dead. After three days, they left her screaming. And it was the people across the street who finally called the cops and said, Youve got to go. Theres something wrong in there.
352
01:14:54.2
CP: What? The lay midwife?
353
01:14:57.7
DW: Yeah. I mean really gory stuff. We lost that case, too, because the father said, This was my fault.
354
01:15:10.0
CP: Yeah, for not calling a doc. It was his fault, wasnt it?
355
01:15:13.5
DW: Oh yeah. But then they didnt prosecute the midwife. Yeah, we had some really, really dreadful
356
01:15:21.3
CP: This was a non-trained midwife. These are in contrast to the grannies, they at least had some tutelage.
357
01:15:27.2
DW: Yeah, right, right. So, they were all over the place. They were just running from one to the other. Finally, we got the law reestablished. Got a new law in, new rules. We had to set up a school, then.
358
01:15:52.0
So it was Dr. Day who served on the committee. And we had a nurse midwife from FSU, and we had our own midwife come in. And they gave the tests. They wrote up the questions and decided whether these people could practice or not.
359
01:16:19.5
So then we had to write rules for the law. And thats when we had this committee of many midwives and, I dont know, we had none of the unlicensed ones. We had nurse midwives, obstetricianswe had an obstetrician from here, from Tampa. Nice young man, he didnt know what he was getting into. This was absolutely gory.
360
01:16:51.4
We had some wild, wild meetings. And I can remember one of the meetings we held in Gainesville. And Dr. Mahan and another obstetrician was sitting with him, who finally said, I have to get out of here. Im getting sick to my stomach.
361
01:17:18.9
CP: Where did you school? Tell me about the school, too. Did you license this school? Did you put out competitions
362
01:17:21.1
DW: Well, a freewheeling outfit developed the school, and we developed a curriculum for them and this kind of thing. And then that unit in the department of education, the
363
01:17:48.0
CP: Junior college?
364
01:17:49.1
DW: No, its the one thatthere are independent colleges in that.
365
01:17:55.6
CP: Yeah, yeah. I cant give the details, but I know what youre talking about.
366
01:17:57.8
DW: They went in and certified them when we didnt want them certified. Oh, we were
367
01:18:7.9
CP: Failure to communicate again.
368
01:18:9.6
DW: Oh my. Yes. But that was the midwifery business. And we had nurse midwives and some very fine ones. And then we got into the birth center business.
369
01:18:29.5
CP: Thats a separate ripple issue? The birth center?
370
01:18:32.5
DW: Yeah, yeah.
371
01:18:34.7
372
01:18:38.1
DW: Well, really, either would be a license. Most of them are nurses. Most of them are nurse midwives.
373
01:18:43.7
CP: Okay, good. Yeah, keep talking.
374
01:18:45.0
DW: Yeah, and we wrote up the legislation because some of these midwives, they were delivering in their own homes, not necessarily the patients home, but in their homes.
375
01:18:56.8
CP: Again, were talking about nurse or lay?
376
01:18:58.6
DW: No, the lay ones. And that was even more alarming.
377
01:19:5.7
CP: They were operating in the hospital now, but also home.
378
01:19:11.1
DW: I dont know.
379
01:19:11.7
CP: Thats just tongue-in-cheek.
380
01:19:13.1
DW: Yeah. They might be, for all we know. But then we decided, wed better do something about having some kind of control over these birththey would call them birth centers, and develop the proposal for legislation, which was passed. And then we had to write the rules for that.
381
01:19:36.9
So now they have birthing centers, which is fine. And it was interesting. The nurse midwives, most of them, had, really, a partnership with a physician and the patient could select whom they wanted, but the difference being, they were really in the loop.
382
01:20:1.3
If something was wrong, as soon as they recognized it they could get to the physician or they could get to the hospital. And that was it. With the lay midwives, they were outside the loop. They were afraid or didnt recognize, in many instances. And some of them had these really bizarre recommendations like jump up and down 50 times, this nonsense kind of stuff.
383
01:20:30.1
CP: Boy, oh boy. What time period are you talking about?
384
01:20:34.7
DW: This started in the 70s and went on through the 80s. It was a tortured route all the way. Oh yes. Well, so that was lay midwifery. And the legislators, of course, they didnt
385
01:20:56.0
CP: They didnt understand what the issue was.
386
01:20:57.3
DW: No, no. And I remember sitting in the back one time, listening to this. And we had our spokesman, and one of the legislators said, Well, whats the difference between a lay midwife and a nurse midwife? And our departmental spokesman said, Well, the nurse midwife has to work under the doctor and the other ones dont.
387
01:21:32.8
CP: Very good answer.
388
01:21:33.9
DW: Very good answer.
389
01:21:35.0
CP: You lost again, didnt you?
390
01:21:36.1
DW: No, we didnt lose because Senator [Kenneth] Jenne was there. He said, Is Dolores Wennlund in this room? Yes. Will you come up and tell us whats going on with this midwifery? So I did have an opportunity. But this was a time when we dare not speak.
391
01:22:1.7
CP: I remember. I remember. But lay midwifery, now, and nursing centers, and also nurse midwifery, as I read in the papers and get the sense, has really come into its own. We now have a state organization of nurse midwifery, which is quasi-related to the department of health but an independent. And one of your nurse midwives is the executive director. And theyre office [is] across the street from Limewood. I cant remember her name. Give me a name.
392
01:22:38.1
DW: I dont know. Theres too many of them.
393
01:22:40.8
CP: I bring it up because I wanted you to speak to it. And this is nurse midwifery.
394
01:22:45.9
DW: One of the interesting things about the
395
01:22:48.9
CP: Reichert. Reichert? A nurse, Reichert?
396
01:22:52.2
DW: Oh, yes, yes, yes. I know her.
397
01:22:54.5
CP: Okay, shes a nurse midwife?
398
01:22:56.1
DW: Yes. She had been on our staff.
399
01:22:58.5
CP: Thats right. Shes executive director of the Florida Nurse Midwifery Association.
400
01:23:7.4
DW: Good, good.
401
01:23:8.1
CP: Go ahead, sorry.
402
01:23:10.1
DW: No, thats all right. When they first passed the licensure law, way back in the 30s, or whenever, that included the nurse midwives. So we were one of the few states where a nurse midwife could deliver a baby because we had a licensure law. And consequently, we tended to attract nurse midwives.
403
01:23:40.3
CP: Im sitting here remembering all of the stuff in Sarasota or Fort Meyers over some sort of federal project, migrant oriented, having to do with nurse midwifery operating in the hospitals?
404
01:23:51.6
DW: Yes, yes. And then the first hospital that hired a nurse midwife was over near Fort Pierce or in that area. And I can remember some really bitter exchanges like, I dont want second-rate medicine for my patients, kind of comments and that, but it took off. They did a fine job.
405
01:24:26.0
CP: And University of Miami opened a nurse midwifery school. You could graduate a nurse midwife. As far as I know, they still are.
406
01:24:34.5
DW: Yeah, right. And I guess Florida does, too. But anyway, that was interesting. And it was a thread that ran through.
407
01:24:50.0
CP: It begins even sooner than that.
408
01:24:52.7
DW: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
409
01:24:54.0
CP: And I think that Joyce Ely
410
01:24:56.0
DW: Joyce Ely. She was assigned when they first got into this whole question of maternal and infant care and the high mortality rates. The infant mortality rate was terribly high, but so was the maternal.
411
01:25:16.4
CP: I remember, when I first got involved, maternal [death] rates of 17 to 20 per 1,000 births, maternal deaths20 maternal deaths per 1,000 births.
412
01:25:28.3
DW: So Joyce was assigned to do something about this. Maybe get a training program going. Ultimately, she went back to school and became a nurse midwife. So it really took off.
413
01:25:46.1
CP: Well, in your relatively short tenure you have had some exciting times. Are you aware of that?
414
01:25:55.9
DW: Oh, I am. I am. Thats why I really welcomed retirement. It seemed a little less exciting.
415
01:26:6.2
CP: If you were to speak to the highlights of your total public health nursing career, what would they be?
416
01:26:14.1
DW: Oh, let me see. Total highlights? Well
417
01:26:20.8
CP: To judge the question, let me give you my next two questions. Your highlights, the things of the most personally satisfyingand I separate those twoand then the third, the most disappointing piece of your career. If you could address those three questions.
418
01:26:43.7
DW: Well, I think because there was simply so much going on all the time, we had lots of highlights. And, certainly, one was the midwifery, and finally getting some legislation through, and finally getting that system under control and protecting the health of so many of these mothers.
419
01:27:9.5
CP: It had been out of control so long.
420
01:27:11.7
DW: Oh yes. Oh my. And that was certainly one of the highlights.
421
01:27:19.7
CP: For the record, I think we need to note that Florida enjoyed the second highest infant mortality rate in the nation for many, many, many years.
422
01:27:31.2
DW: Right, right. Absolutely.
423
01:27:32.7
CP: Thats for the record.
424
01:27:34.2
DW: Absolutely. That, and another, I guess, testifying before the United States Senate [Special Committee] on Aging on home health services and bringing the story of what was going on in Florida, what the problems were. And that was surely, that was a highlight for me.
425
01:27:58.4
CP: Great, great, great. Over your professional career. Okay, those two are notable. Whats your personally most satisfying piece of your career?
426
01:28:9.4
DW: Well, much of it was very satisfying. I suppose, working with that nursing committee, that advisory committee, might have been the most satisfying.
427
01:28:22.3
CP: Professionally satisfying experience.
428
01:28:23.5
DW: Yes, yes. Right.
429
01:28:24.9
CP: That would be fun.
430
01:28:25.9
DW: Yeah, because we couldthere were no holds barred. You think this is a good idea? Nobody was bounded to say, Oh yes, maam. None of that.
431
01:28:37.0
CP: Oh, thats marvelous. Yes, yes. Okay.
432
01:28:39.8
DW: Yeah. A real open idea exchange and some very fine material came out of that group.
433
01:28:50.8
CP: For the record, would it be inappropriate for me to ask you to name that committee, as many of them as you can remember?
434
01:28:58.9
DW: Oh, the people on the committee?
435
01:29:0.5
CP: Yeah.
436
01:29:0.9
437
01:29:24.4
CP: This is embarrassing. Ill tell you in a moment.
438
01:29:34.0
DW: There are a few. A gal from Orlando, who has since died, she was on that committee. She was very helpful. Its hard to pull up all those names.
439
01:29:50.1
CP: Yeah, thats good, thats good. Mrs. Martin was from Gadsden County.
440
01:29:54.1
DW: Oh yeah, Meredith Martin. Right, right. Thats right.
441
01:29:58.6
CP: Well, those are the kind of kingpins of Florida nursing, public health nursing. You had them.
442
01:30:4.3
DW: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And they were folks like even before primary care got into the act and people didnt quite know what to do with that. In Orange County they had been doing that forever because they said, Well, in order to prevent something, we had to get them in and treat them first, and then we start preventing.
443
01:30:30.0
CP: When I was a public health resident here in Hillsborough County, many thousand years ago, we had acute disease clinics, formally, and positions were assigned, and anybody who had a sickness, for any reason, presented themselves and would be diagnosed and treated. And, it was Dr. Neal who was the health officer then, allowed the same thing. Its the index. And these folks are uncared for and we can prevent so much by opening to
444
01:31:4.9
DW: Oh sure. What you have to do is get them in. Thats your first step.
445
01:31:9.5
CP: Thats right. So primary care has really been delivered by the public health organizations and their many vises. Was there a problem with becoming so formal with the legislature?
446
01:31:22.6
DW: Yes, of course, because that got funded and nothing else did. And we had all these district administrators who were not even helped, never mind public health. So they didnt think anything else was important. The primary care, that was important.
447
01:31:45.1
CP: And you public health folks had the doctors and nurses. So theres a cost avoidance in assigning medical care to the health department by the legislation. It was a cost avoidance procedure, was it not?
448
01:31:59.0
DW: Well, really. Yes. Yes.
449
01:32:1.0
CP: I dont even know if were funding what needs to be done.
450
01:32:3.7
DW: Yeah, right. Right. So, I was
451
01:32:8.3
CP: And you left before it fell into disrepute. Health departments are largely out of it now. Theres one great advantage though, of course, of the health departments venture into primary care. Virtually everyone doubled their floor space with nice tiles.
452
01:32:27.3
DW: Oh yes, yes. Right. Oh, and I certainly hopewhere was that? In Madison we were down in the basement, and you had to climb over these live wires and everything
453
01:32:40.5
CP: Was it Lake City?
454
01:32:41.6
DW: Yeah. Lake City.
455
01:32:42.8
CP: That was in Lake City.
456
01:32:45.0
DW: Dreadful.
457
01:32:46.2
CP: Yeah, it was. And then your most disappointing piece of your career.
458
01:32:53.2
DW: Well, lets see.
459
01:32:54.5
CP: That may be a very personal question, but phrase it a way we can tape it.
460
01:33:0.8
DW: Oh yeah, well, certainly one disappointment was in the reorganization to lose the nursing presence at the state office. That would be the most disappointing. Now its quality control or something of this nature, which is one thing, but to miss that identification with the nurse, with a nurse leader. I think that is disappointing.
461
01:33:41.3
And Ill tell you, quite frankly, one of the reasons that I have not gone back to some of the case conferences in the past few years because every time I go, they say, Oh, its not the same. And I cant do anything about that. And well, Im told, You had to go with the flow.
462
01:34:5.1
CP: Yeah, you do. Yeah, you do. But I always want the bosses to listen to us. I want them to hear our plays. Im afraid me and you had some bosses could care less about our professional opinions and didnt ask for a lot of them, and if we gave them we were threatened.
463
01:34:22.6
DW: Yes, yes, yes. Very true.
464
01:34:26.0
CP: Ill identify with that sad moment of yours.
465
01:34:29.9
DW: So I would say thats the most disappointing.
466
01:34:35.4
CP: What have we left out?
467
01:34:37.6
DW: Well, just a little point of information. The first secretary who came in after the reorganization, Mr. Paigeremember Pete Paigeand then after he left, he taught at FSU. And I took courses there
468
01:34:56.7
CP: From him?
469
01:34:57.7
DW: Yes.
470
01:34:58.9
DW: And I got all A-pluses.
471
01:35:2.7
CP: You did? Now is this because of your grade or your graciousness? I mean, because of your intellect or your graciousness?
472
01:35:11.9
DW: Well, he really liked my papers, and I didnt hold anything back.
473
01:35:21.7
CP: She and I have had some very candid discussions, and I like Mr. Paige. I liked him as a personal friend.
474
01:35:30.1
DW: Oh yes. Oh yes. Yeah, I did too. And I know when I first appeared in his class, he said, How comeyou already have a masters. Why are you back? And I said, Well, you know, my masters is almost 20 years old. It needs to be recycled, honey.
475
01:35:53.3
CP: What was your masters in?
476
01:35:55.9
DW: My first one was in public health nursing, the second one in public administration.
477
01:36:6.2
CP: Youre a glutton for punishment. Well, okay, thats one subtle thing we left out. What else have we left out?
478
01:36:14.4
DW: I cant think of anything that needs to be passed on to our grandchildren or great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
479
01:36:26.3
CP: Yeah. Someone else said, If your great-grandchildren are watching this tapeand theyll be able to, by the way, watch this tapewhats your message to them?
480
01:36:40.0
DW: Well, I guess my message would be do something that you really enjoy and do it well. And just be persistent. Just keep at it.
481
01:36:55.3
CP: Persistence. Keep on at keeping on. And choose your field.
482
01:36:59.6
DW: And you cant lose your sense of humor because the world doesnt stop because youre
483
01:37:8.6
CP: Just because Im mad, it doesnt stop.
484
01:37:11.4
DW: Right, right. So you have to be able to
485
01:37:17.5
CP: Go with the flow. Got to be able to swim. Keep your head up. And you cant swim upstream, but you can sure swim across the stream.
486
01:37:29.6
DW: Oh, you can, yes. Right. Right.
487
01:37:33.5
CP: Well, on behalf of the library system of University of South Florida, Ms. Dolores Wennlund, we thank you sincerely for coming by, sharing yourself and your work with us. And for our audience, Id want them to know that youve brought at least 10 inches high of paper to be a part of your contribution and your shelving to the history of Floridas public health. And we thank you for those.
488
01:38:1.6
And that includes an excellent report book that Ms. Wennlund has written on the history of public health nursing in Florida. And its the only effort in such that Im conscious of, and I think it is superb and excellent. And I thank you for taking the time to do that. And now making it available for permanent recall for anybody who wishes to look.
489
01:38:26.3
DW: Absolutely.
490
01:38:28.4
CP: Dolores, thank you very much.
491
01:38:30.4
DW: Oh, youre very welcome. Glad to be here.



PAGE 1

COPYR I GHT NOTI CE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 19952016, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.