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Title:
Interview with Doretha Stone, June 14, 2006
Date:
June 14, 2006
Description:
Doretha Stone was born in South Carolina and moved to Wilmington at age six. She graduated from Williston High School in 1959, going on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing at Winston-Salem State University and UNC Greensboro, respectively. Stone worked briefly as a nurse at Meharry Medical College in Tennessee before returning to Wilmington, where she taught pediatrics at Community Hospital. After a time at the National Institute of Health, Babies Hospital, and New Hanover Hospital, she began teaching in the associate degree program at UNCW. She retired in 2002, but continues managing a home health agency in the Cape Fear area. In this interview, Stone discusses the development of the bachelor's program in nursing and the clinicals she implemented for students. She also recalls her experiences outside academics.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Stone, Doretha Interviewer: Riggins, Adina Date of Interview: 6/13/2006 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 74 minutes

Riggins: This is Adina Riggins. I'm the university archivist. I'm here today as part of the university archives visual oral history program called Voices of UNCW. We have a big section of this program devoted to retired faculty and staff as well as former faculty and staff. I have today a very special guest, a former faculty member here at UNCW. Please, would you state your name for the tape?

Doretha Stone: My name is Doretha McKnight Stone.

Riggins: Thank you very much for being here, Ms. Stone. Today is June 13, 2006. We're at Randall Library in the conference room. Ms. Stone, would you please tell our future viewers and researchers where you were born and where you grew up?

Doretha Stone: I was born in Rimini, South Carolina. I stayed there until I was six years old. I attended the 1st grade in a school that my family built in Rimini and it was a little- and my aunt was the teacher.

Riggins: Really?

Doretha Stone: Yes, and I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina and attended uh.. New Hanover County Public Schools.

Riggins: And you finished there..

Doretha Stone: And I finished in '59. Then I went to Winston-Salem State University and received a degree in nursing. Later, I went to UNCG and received a Master's uh.. in nursing.

Riggins: Okay. Let's back up for a moment. When you were at New Hanover County Schools, what school did you finish at?

Doretha Stone: Williston.

Riggins: Williston?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: We have a group of interviews of Williston alumni.

Doretha Stone: Okay.

Riggins: Yeah, so we've interviewed people who have been in the alumni association. Have you been involved with the alumni association?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. yes, and I guess two years ago I attended uh.. my reunion. And that was a nice experience. It was all the persons uh.. I had gone to school with uhm.. Catherine Moore and Jo Jo McNeil and those persons were a part of that reunion because we all graduated from Williston at the same time.

Riggins: Yeah, and Joyce Johnston, who works in the library, has been active in that group, so that's a really exciting historic group. We're pleased to have that collection of interviews as well. So from New Hanover County, you went to Winston-Salem State University and was it a Bachelor of Science in Nursing?

Doretha Stone: It was a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Riggins: Okay. That must have been one of the early bachelor's degrees, BSNs.

Doretha Stone: Yes, it was. Uhm.. and I didn't realize it was that uncommon until after I graduated and went to Meharry Medical College to work. And they said, "Oh, you're one of those uh.. few persons we've gotten with a BSN in nursing." And that was an exciting experience because Meharry is uh.. a teaching institution and they had lots of interns and I was a new graduate and they were eager to learn as I and so we did lots of things together.

Riggins: Where was Meharry?

Doretha Stone: Meharry is in Tennessee.

Riggins: Oh, okay. So they were excited. "Oh, you're one of those new BSN people."

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: So what department did you work in?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. maternal child.

Riggins: Okay. All right. What were some of the things going on in the early '60s in that field?

Doretha Stone: Well, uh.. some of the new drugs were being used for uhm.. infection. Uhm..

Riggins: Well, I remember hearing that when John F. Kennedy's child died in the early '60s that there was a lot of research and attention that started with neonatal and NICU.

Doretha Stone: Yes, it did.

Riggins: Well, do you remember hearing about- I don't know if you remember that specific incident.

Doretha Stone: I didn't really work in NICU as such. I worked with mothers who had just delivered. I worked with the newborn and I worked with uh.. persons who were waiting to deliver so I really didn't do a whole lot with NICU.

Riggins: NICU is..

Doretha Stone: Is a specialty area.

Riggins: At the time was it with OB?

Doretha Stone: Yes. Yes, it became a specialty area.

Riggins: So you were more with the maternal child health?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Okay. Well, how long did you stay at Meharry?

Doretha Stone: I stayed at Meharry for a year and I guess I got lonesome for my family, so I came back to Wilmington. And when I came back to Wilmington, I taught pediatrics at Community Hospital School of Nursing which was uh.. an interesting experience. While in school, I realized that pediatrics was something that I was really interested in and I did well in pediatrics and came here and worked with kids who had sickle cell anemia. Uh.. prior to coming to Wilmington, I did- I wasn't exposed to people with sickle cell until I got here. I had read about it, but did not uhm.. have clients who had sickle cell. And so since that time, I have stayed pretty much connected with the Sickle Cell Association in Wilmington and have done all that I could to aid those persons with sickle cell.

Riggins: Oh, okay. So that became another sort of sub-specialty or specialty.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: How did you like teaching?

Doretha Stone: Well, I enjoy teaching. I love sharing whatever I know with uh.. anyone else. Uh.. I believe that I'm more of a clinician than a teacher and I get excited in doing clinical stuff. Uh.. did a lot of additional training as far as uh.. critical care is concerned and so I shared what I knew and uh.. the students seemed to enjoy it. Now, there were times when they thought- they said, "She's crazy. How can she be enthusiastic about what's going on in the- that individual?" But I was looking at it from a physiological standpoint and a cellular standpoint and said, "If this is going on, what can we do to uh.. possibly correct what's going on in this individual?" And it was exciting to me to see the changes and pretty much the students eventually got to the point that they would develop some enthusiasm for whatever it is they were doing.

Riggins: Interesting. The enthusiasm I guess, you know, they were young and just trying to learn it all and here you are being enthusiastic about the learning. Perhaps it was contagious.

Doretha Stone: Yes, I hope so.

Riggins: What did you do after that? You said you found your way to UNCG later on?

Doretha Stone: Oh, you see. After uh.. Community Hospital, I went to the National Institute of Health and worked. Now for me, that was at that point the highlight of my career because many people had applied and some of the physicians said that once they entered the medical field, they would apply to the National Institute of Health 'cause that's how long it took you to be accepted, you know, they go through the applications. And so after a year, they called and said, "We'd love to have you as a staff nurse," so I went and that was an opportunity to work in a research arena. And while I was there, the boy in the bubble, and I'm sure that's a long time ago, but the beginning of oncology. And they would decrease his immune and he was in a bubble and we would work through portholes, as we do with uhm.. neonatal infants today and actually provide his care- care. So that was uh.. that was..

Riggins: I was very young, but I do remember hearing about this.

Doretha Stone: Yes. It was real exciting to be a part of that. And so it was..

Riggins: What happened with him?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. he eventually s- got out of the bubble and then later on, I never kept a- up with him after that point, but he eventually got out of the bubble.

Riggins: And survived?

Doretha Stone: And so- yeah. But to decrease one's immunity that low uh.. was at forefront of uh.. medical uh.. technology at that time.

Riggins: And that was for oncology?

Doretha Stone: That was on- for oncology.

Riggins: Did you work with children a great deal at NIH?

Doretha Stone: Yes. Uh.. well remember, pediatrics was my passion so I just sort of moved from one arena- one institution to the other uhm.. and worked in uhm.. with children.

Riggins: Right. Right. How did you develop this interest or specialty in pediatrics?

Doretha Stone: Well, in college I did pediatrics. You could have extra clinical in pediatrics. The faculty that I had uh.. was most encouraging and she made it fun and I enjoyed uh.. learning. And we worked with kids with h- heart conditions and so I did s- lots of cardiology un- in undergraduate, came and taught at Community in pediatrics, then went to the National Institute of Health, and then worked with uhm.. kids. At that point, I found that children were different as far as illness was concerned. They were not always sad. They uh.. when they weren't uh.. in real pain, they were happy. You could play with them. But adults, on the other hand, generally were sad most of the time and I uhm.. that made a difference. And- and since I thought I was a happy-go-lucky person, it was always nice to be around children and help them feel better.

Riggins: Right. If they weren't in pain, then they wanted to play and be like a regular kid.

Doretha Stone: Yeah. Yeah, and it really is amazing to watch them as they uh.. you can always tell when they feel better.

Riggins: Yeah. I suppose it would be hard in a lot of ways because you would want so much for them.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: But their attitude, I suppose, makes a difference.

Doretha Stone: Very honest people.

Riggins: The children. Well, that's interesting and that brings me to an interesting question. You mentioned that some doctors had told you that, "We apply early on in our careers for NIH because it takes so long to get accepted." What doctors did you come to know in those early days in Wilmington at Community Hospital or elsewhere? Did you come to work with certain doctors?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. I knew Dr. Wheeler. He uh.. again was a very vibrant man and he shared uhm.. information with me. I knew Dr. Eaton, but it wasn't a very uh.. close relationship uh.. with him. Uh.. Dr. Eaton Junior was at Meharry the same time I was at Meharry so that was uh.. a nice uh.. relationship. And when we got back to Wilmington, uh.. we saw each other because I had gone in one place and he in another and then we met again in uh.. Wilmington.

Riggins: Someone from home.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: That's good. That's good. So you enjoyed the time up in NIH. Did you live in Bethesda?

Doretha Stone: I lived in Washington but drove to Bethesda and uh.. would go back and forth each day.

Riggins: How did you like living up there?

Doretha Stone: Well, I really did. I truly would tell my husband if I had my rathers, I'd rather be there than here. But after a period of time, he called Wilmington home and gradually uhm.. it became my home and I'd rather not be anyplace else other than Wilmington because I'm an avid gardener. I have enough space that I like to do flowers and vegetables and those kinds of things. Limited space and you're right next to someone else.

Riggins: Oh, yeah. But what did you like about it?

Doretha Stone: I liked all the cultural uh.. things that you could do. You never did have to figure out, "What am I gonna do today for entertainment or next week?" And- but in Wilmington, uh.. you did when we first moved back to Wilmington.

Riggins: Well, let's talk about that. How long did you spend at NIH? What did you do afterwards?

Doretha Stone: I spent a year at NIH and Dr. Singletary had Babies Hospital. So my mother was here in Wilmington so I wanted to be close to my mother. And my husband was w- willing to transfer to this area and so I came and worked at Babies Hospital for a year and again, it's with pediatrics, and then from pediatrics to New Hanover Hospital as their pediatric manager. And I did that for a very long time seemingly, and then- [laughs] but always loving it because it was to me exciting to help children and help families.

Riggins: Yeah. I'm sure that's busy and that's how Ms. Lowe said she came to know you.

Doretha Stone: Yes. I was manager of pedes and always running around with students and saying, "Come on. Let me show you and explain to you." And so Jane said to me one day, "Would- would you like to come to UNCW and work?" And I'd say, "Uh.. I'm not sure that that's something I'd like to do." So I went home and talked it over with my husband and thought that the hours and having the weekends and the holidays would be ideal for my family.

Riggins: A nice change.

Doretha Stone: Yes. And so that's- uh.. based on those reasons I came and applied for a position at UNCW.

Riggins: And did you have your Master's degree at this time?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. no. I was enrolled in UNCG in the Master's program.

Riggins: So you were doing that as well.

Doretha Stone: Yes. Uh.. that was interesting because I taught a forty-hour week. I would leave and drive to UNCW- uhm.. UNCG, I would take classes, and then I'd come back at ten o'clock at night so that I could do uh.. what I needed to do at UNCW. So I did that until I got to the last semester and they informed me that I had to live on campus for my last semester so I took a leave of absence and went and worked and completed all the requirements on campus.

Riggins: Well, Ms. Stone, this must have been before I-40 was built, right?

Doretha Stone: It sure was. You know, I-40- part of I-40, I think it was maybe two- a little past Goldsboro. And when I got to Goldsboro, I had to ge- get on either 64 and do some funny things and go to Raleigh and then get to uh.. Greensboro.

Riggins: That's tiring. I just went to Greensboro last week for a meeting and to go there, back and forth in one day is tiring.

Doretha Stone: Well, I guess if you're unaccustomed to it, it is uh.. because I would go early in the morning and come back late at night. And occasionally, because I'm on Winston-Salem's alumni association board of directors, I'd go early in the morning and I'd come back late at night. And my husband would say, "Are you going to stay?" And I was like, "No, I'd rather sleep in my own bed. I'll just come back home."

Riggins: So you were kind of in a system, and you had positive attitude. What made you want to pursue the graduate degree? At this time, was the graduate degree encouraged for management and in hospitals?

Doretha Stone: Well, I had- when I was in Washington, I started at Catholic U and had an ectopic pregnancy and then had to drop out. So then when I moved back to Wilmington, I wanted to look at environments that I thought were supportive. And I know that they- all schools are great, but for my personality, UNCG uhm.. was the school for me so I enrolled in UNCG and t- and tried to continue. My husband thought it was a little late because I did have two children and he said, "You should have finished when you were at Catholic uhm.. U," but, you know, you don't always do things when you're s- when others think you're supposed to do them.

Riggins: When it's convenient, right. And that's interesting. You felt that that school philosophy went along with your philosophy?

Doretha Stone: Yes, I had been to UNCG when I was at Winston-Salem and never realized it was UNCG. It used to be UNC Wilmington.

Riggins: Right, or the Women's College.

Doretha Stone: Women's College. And I was in a Young Women Christian Association and we had a convention at UNCG, then Women's College. And so it was always so interesting to say, "Oh, okay. I've been in this building before and this is where we went."

Riggins: What is it that you liked about the program there?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. the faculty was receptive to everybody. They look at your special situation and your needs and they try to help you in those areas. I was a mother with two children, I had a job, and I had limited funds and could only come once uh.. a week. And so as a result, uh.. we played with my schedule so that I could get those things that I need on the day that I came.

Riggins: Right, they worked with you. That's a good sign that they were flexible. How young were your children at this time?

Doretha Stone: I had a son in the 2nd grade and I had a daughter in 6th grade.

Riggins: All right, so they were in school. And they understood that you were in school as well as working. So that worked out. I was doing some calculations and I saw- is it correct that you retired in 2002 from UNCW?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: After twenty-six years of service? So did you start around 1976?

Doretha Stone: Six, yes.

Riggins: 1976 and Jane Lowe said, "Well, I think you'd be great at UNCW." And had you thought about that before?

Doretha Stone: Not really. I had never thought about teaching at UNCW. I thought I would just do uhm.. clinical nursing for the rest of my life.

Riggins: That's interesting how opportunities come up.

Doretha Stone: It does.

Riggins: And so you came down and applied and met with the dean probably and all that.

Doretha Stone: Yes. Her name was Dorothy Dixon at that time.

Riggins: Dorothy Dixon. I've heard of that name.

Doretha Stone: Yes. I think she was one of the original James Walker uh.. person.

Riggins: And at this time, they were teaching obviously in the AD program.

Doretha Stone: The ADN program, yes. And we taught all summer. No, we taught the first session of summer school, we would have the second session off and then we would start again. But for me, that was great because I had never had six weeks off at any given time uh.. in nursing in the beginning, so- so that was nice.

Riggins: So that was a great change, yeah. Did you start in the summer? Was that when you started?

Doretha Stone: No, I started in the fall. And Jane was my mentor, an excellent mentor. And she is still highly favored by me because of all the things she shared. She was one of those persons who did not mind sharing her resources and telling you uh.. or suggesting uh.. ways of doing things to make it easier.

Riggins: That's valuable when you have someone who's really willing, wants to help and really wants to teach. How did that start off? What did you start teaching?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. pediatrics. And then I did uh.. the clinical for pediatrics and I did adult health which was a little different uh.. for me because adult health was not my primary focus, but in graduate school I did- started doing adult health. And so after I received my Master's, I was told that I was no longer qualified to- really to do pedes and that my uh.. Master's was in adult health. My area of concentration was adult health.

Riggins: Oh, it was? Did you do that so you could round out your background?

Doretha Stone: No, because remember I did oncology and at the time, I could do a clinical in oncology uh.. concentration. They did not have a pediatric oncology unit at Moses Cone, so I did uh.. adult oncology and so that's how I eventually got over to adult health.

Riggins: Okay. When you finished your Master's, they said, "Well, you're.." What are you qualified for now?

Doretha Stone: To do uh.. adult health. Came back, did oncology there and cardiovascular nursing is primarily what I did in clinical. And so that took a lot of time because by the time you do the theory and then you go to the hospital two days a week for clinical, it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for uh.. other things.

Riggins: Right. Oh, so when you were in your graduate program, you were also doing these rotations?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. when I was in my graduate program I was doing rotations at UNCW. And so remember, if you teach one day, uhm.. teach two days and you have clinical two days, that one day I traveled to Greensboro. So that rounded out to five days in a week.

Riggins: Lots of traveling.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: What did you like about teaching in the ADN program? Was it a lot of time in the clinicals working with the students?

Doretha Stone: It was a lot of time in the clinicals. Uh.. I guess the focus was more clinical than theory in the ADN program. Now, certainly they had uh.. a lot of theory because uh.. we gave them a lot of theory. I'm not sure- I sometimes thought that we gave them more theory uh.. than was needed for an ADN person, but we tried to give them everything that we thought they would need in order to be uh.. ready for clinical. Now, I was proud because the ADN program was the best in the state of North Carolina. We had a hundred percent all the time and I think it was because sometime you did overkill. You gave [laughs] a lot more than what they uh.. needed. But uh.. I enjoyed it and I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the students. Uh.. they were there for a short time, they knew they were there for a short time, and they needed to get what they could while we were going through it.

Riggins: Right. Well, they were perhaps grateful that it was a short time, they could get their degree and move on and work hard, but there would be a reward or end in sight in the form of a degree.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Well, when you got on board, did you jump into committee work and all that or did that come a little bit later?

Doretha Stone: Well, the university was small. The School of Nursing faculty was small and so you eventually got to committees. I started with the Curriculum Committee in the ADN program and so when it was time for the BSN program, I was now chairing the Curriculum Committee because we did the uh.. gradual transition. So in '8- I think it's '84 or '85, I taught part in the ADN program and part in the BSN program. And then in '85 they started developing uhm.. courses and clinicals for BSN.

Riggins: Right. So you taught in both for a while.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: So you started developing classes for the BSN.

Doretha Stone: Yes, I did.

Riggins: What was your work with Jane Lowe in developing the pediatrics program for the ADN? Did you all do that?

Doretha Stone: Yes. She primarily did much of the theory and I did most of the clinical and then finally we ended up with sharing equal theory and clinical. Uhm.. and then we did the simulation lab. Jane and I went to Louisiana to- I've forgotten the name of the institution, but just- they had a state of the art sim lab. So Jane was gonna become the sim lab and resource center director so we went to see all the new technology they had so that we could uh.. hopefully implement some of that uhm.. at UNCW.

Riggins: What did you think of it?

Doretha Stone: It was- it really was exciting. I've never seen another sim lab or resource center like this one. And they had received a huge grant and it was uh.. students could go in and work at their own pace and this was years ago. And they did well. And so we thought that we could do this at uhm.. UNCW and we did. Jane came and they had cubicles, they had uhm.. viewing stations for individual students so that they could again work at their own pace at uh.. UNCW.

Riggins: Was this something that Jane developed in the Learning Resource Center?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Right. She did tell us about that. So starting probably in the mid to late '80s, you started teaching in the BSN program.

Doretha Stone: Well, I really star- started in '85.

Riggins: Yeah, '85 it was all in the BSN.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Yeah. Who were some of the faculty that you got to know either in the nursing school or outside of the nursing school? Did you start to work with any of the social work faculty, for example?

Doretha Stone: Well, uh.. Ellie Covan and myself developed a geriatric course. Uh.. and so I saw Ellie on Monday at the Cape Fear Elderly Abuse Network Conference. And she said, "Do you know, I wish we had that course again." Be- but uh.. I enjoyed that. And she taught the theory and I took them to some of the extended care facilities uh.. like Liberty Common and did the clinical, only because nursing students liked high-tech. They like young people, but we were trying to get them interested in caring for the elderly because that was not a popular area and so uhm.. it was nice to have- we had about eight students per clinical who would take the course. And Ellie was such a dynamic person that it was uh.. nice and refreshing to have someone to say, "I really care about this little old lady sitting over in this chair."

Riggins: Yeah, she is. You are too. You're dynamic too. So you liked to work with dynamic people as well. That only makes sense. With the emergence of the BSN program, did it start to get lots of students? Was it growing pretty quickly?

Doretha Stone: Well, it grew quickly, but we had a cap and I'm not sure whether uhm.. most people realize we could only accept a certain amount of students. And one reason was because you had to have the faculty and you had to have the facility to accommodate the needs of the uh.. students. Uh.. and not only classroom space, but clinical space and uhm.. clinicals that was uh.. would meet their needs in the future. And so we had some creative uhm.. clinicals uh.. we thought and our students enjoyed them. We actually started an honors program and the honors program actually gave students their senior year the choice of selecting a clinical area and actually working for a semester in that clinical area to see if this is something that you'd like to do uh.. later on, so it worked out well for them.

Riggins: Yeah. Well, that sounds busy. You're full-time then?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: So did this seem like it was less hectic after your previous times being at several hospitals plus UNCW? When you were a grad student and doing a lot of other things?

Doretha Stone: Uh huh. I never s- noticed a decrease in workload. Because it was a new school, uh.. a new program and you had to always come up with new clinicals, that increased the amount of time I placed in clinical. So we had uhm.. school health uh.. clinical, uh.. we did uh.. critical care and critical care was becoming a commonplace. In the ADN program, students weren't required to do uhm.. critical care, but critical care was an expectation in the BSN program and so some of the clinicals were different. Yeah.

Riggins: So always challenges.

Doretha Stone: Yeah.

Riggins: Well, I had a question in here about some of the original people from the early schools. You mentioned already Jane Lowe. She was one of their..?

Doretha Stone: ADN.

Riggins: Yeah, she was one of the original, or one of the early faculty members. Who else do you remember?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. Mary Alice Whitfield, yeah.

Riggins: My colleagues interviewed her.

Doretha Stone: And Toni Barfield.

Riggins: They were exclusively in the ADN, taught in the ADN program?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Okay. Was there anyone else like yourself who kind of bridged the two?

Doretha Stone: No. [laughs]. Well, I guess the idea of teaching uh.. BSN students may not have appealed to- now Jane did because Jane was the sim lab person so she also uh.. taught uh.. BSN, yeah.

Riggins: Right. Well, what have you heard from the alumni over the years? Or perhaps as they were getting close to graduating or trying to get licensure? What did they mention about their training and how great it was and all that?

Doretha Stone: Well, they felt excited because we had uh.. a leadership course and they were expected to go on a unit and manage the unit. And so they would have students from other uh.. programs and they would have some of the nurses and so they would care for ten clients. And as they went through this process, they realized that they had acquired much more than they thought they had and they were actually able to uh.. manage the units. The one thing that they thought they needed more of was clinical. And my belief is that because of the critical thinking process that they used in solving their problems and the people around them, they were better off once they got to a situation and they could stop for a few minutes and figure out, "Now what do I need to do? What's the process? Uh.. what is the problem and how can I s- uhm.. get the best for this client?" And I think they did that very well. Uhm.. even after they had been out for three months, they realized that the clinical portion you can always get, but you truly do need to kn- know the knowledge in all that you provide, uh.. good service to your clients.

Riggins: It sounds like a teacher there because, yeah, they always I guess will tell you, "Oh, we want more experience."

Doretha Stone: Yeah, hands-on, yeah. You really do have to have the theory.

Riggins: The theory and, like you said, the critical thinking skills.

Doretha Stone: Yes. Yeah, in order to do this.

Riggins: What were some of the other projects that you remember from over the years that students really benefited from, some of the clinicals? You've mentioned a couple, but any clinicals that stand out?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. we did oncology clinicals. And for a very long time, the students didn't do oncology clinicals because in an emerging uhm.. specialty area, everybody wants to be very careful that uh.. there's little chance for mistakes. And so because I was certified as an oncology nurse, I was able to get some of the oncologists to allow UNCW students to come and do uh.. oncology clinical. And for me, that was exciting really to do that. And for a very long time, until I retired, two years before I retired, we pretty much were the only schools doing oncology clinicals at New Hanover Regional Medical Center because you had to have a certified- or you were supposed to have a certified oncology nurse uhm.. doing this.

Riggins: Supervising.

Doretha Stone: Yeah.

Riggins: Kudos to UNCW and to you for doing that. Were students doing clinicals outside of Wilmington?

Doretha Stone: We did uhm.. critical care in Burgaw in their IC unit and we did ER uh.. rotations. And I took them there. We did critical care at Cape Fear Hospital in their ICU uh.. unit. And so those were some of the areas that we uh..

Riggins: My not having gone through a healthcare professional training program: When the students came, they would have designated roles as students working with nurses on the unit?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. we would get an orientation and ideally the faculty was responsible for theory and uh.. techniques. And so after the orientation, I would take them to do the theory, I mean and we would do the technique. What I did do on uhm.. ICU was I would pair the students up because I knew ICU is very threatening to students and so one day one would be the lead person and the next day the other- they would s- switch roles. But they are learning from each other because if I taught you how to do it the day before, then that person who is a secondary nurse uh.. was learning also, so it was easier for her the second day to do that. So- so that's what we did in ICU. And I specifically did that because I knew it was very traumatic for them to see persons with all the bells and whistles and technology.

Riggins: Oh, yeah, right. Had some of your students been CNAs, some gone through that before?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. pretty much, but i- as a CNA, you wouldn't necessarily uh.. do anything other than do vital signs. Uhm.. you would not do any of the complicated treatments that the clients had.

Riggins: Right. Wow. What about psych? Was this a new field that came up?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. it was. I did psych in the summer in the ADN program, but when I went to the BSN program, I did not do uh.. psych.

Riggins: Did they have someone else?

Doretha Stone: Uh.. at that time, uh.. remember, I had changed to adult health and in order for the School of Nursing to be accredited by the state, you taught in your area of expertise and psych was not my area of expertise so they hired persons. Uh.. and Ginny Payne was one of those persons that they hired and she was from East Carolina. Uh.. she was this very special lady and she assisted them in developing the curriculum for the BSN program.

Riggins: Okay. What about the emergence of the graduate program? Were you involved with that?

Doretha Stone: I was- yes. I was uh.. there at the inception. Uhm.. didn't do a whole lot other than I did teach a course in I guess it's business management for the graduate program. At that time, I had my own business and shared with them things that I thought a-a good uhm.. nurse should have. And I believe that she should have some business skills and they should take business courses uh.. because nursing truly is a business and if you leave the hospital arena, then you go out into the community, you really are an entrepreneur.

Riggins: More on your own.

Doretha Stone: Yes, yes. And so..

Riggins: What was the business that you started?

Doretha Stone: I started a home health agency and it came about because I was a consultant for Lower Cape Fear Hospice. Uh.. I worked with them in- with clients who had AIDS primarily and that was the period when it was difficult for persons with AIDS to get healthcare, someone to come in their home and help them. I found much of my time was spent trying to identify nurses or nursing assistants who would be willing to go in the client's home and help them and understand. You know, I could be doing this uh.. for myself. And so I started a home health agency. And..

Riggins: And specialized in that.

Doretha Stone: Yes. And now I'm doing it and loving it.

Riggins: You still have the same agency?

Doretha Stone: Oh, yes. Yes.

Riggins: What is it called?

Doretha Stone: It's DMS Services Incorporated. And I've gradually migrated to uhm.. elderly adults.

Riggins: How many nurses do you employ?

Doretha Stone: I have uhm.. a staff of thirty-two.

Riggins: Thirty-two nurses?

Doretha Stone: No, staff meaning uhm.. I have four nurses and myself make five, uhm.. one person who does the finance and the rest are s- uh.. nursing assistants. And so we manage- we can manage two hundred persons fairly comfortably uhm.. and that's different from a hospital in that you don't go necessarily to see them all every day, but uhm.. you try to assist them in meeting their daily needs.

Riggins: How has that been as a business? Has it been stressful?

Doretha Stone: Well, uh.. at first, it was stressful, uhm.. but of cou- as with anything, you learn as you go along and you figure out how to acquire the things that you need for your clients. The longer you are in business, uh.. you become better known by the community and so lots of materials my clients need have been donated by our companies in the community saying that, "I think uh.. you may be able to use these," or "I've heard that you have indivent- indigent clients who cannot afford this and so we are going to share this with you and then you can in turn uh.. share it with your clients." And so that's been beneficial, particularly to my clients because they are so excited when they get these things from some of the businesses in the community.

Riggins: Do you get referrals from physicians?

Doretha Stone: I get referrals from physicians, uh.. Department of Aging. Uh.. I received uh.. I'm on a grant program for the State of North Carolina for elderly persons. So a lady from London went on the internet and found our company and she was coming with her daughter to Wilmington. And so when I got this call, I couldn't figure out how she got the information on DMS and so uhm.. she called and we provided service. So yes, it's a referral from people in the community, Department of Aging, physicians, other nurses..

Riggins: Health Department?

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. not necessarily- from Social Services. We get lots of referrals from Social Services. And so..

Riggins: How long have you had your company?

Doretha Stone: About fifteen years.

Riggins: Oh, really?

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: So it's 2006, so you had it while you were teaching.

Doretha Stone: Yes, yes. Now that was- that's why I told you my workload never really uh.. changed. My husband always said I was a workaholic. But on the weekends, I would do uh.. paperwork for uh.. DMS. Know that Jane Lowe taught me well because there was such a volume of paperwork in the ADN program that my- generally my Sunday afternoons I was grading papers or correcting papers or doing lectures and so I just went- continued that same process [laughs].

Riggins: Right. So once you weren't doing that for the ADN program, you just were doing other paperwork.

Doretha Stone: Yes, and I just continued to uh.. do that.

Riggins: Oh, wow. It's interesting. All of the professors I've talked to, how many of them say they've been told they're workaholics.

Doretha Stone: Oh, really?

Riggins: Well, you know, it's a labor of love. You know, you're doing it, you like education, you like..

Doretha Stone: Helping people. Yeah.

Riggins: Yes. So you've had this company for a good long time. And I noticed in 1996 you got the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Doretha Stone: Well, I think it's- it- for me, it was exciting. For the students, it was uh.. exciting and they'd say, "Well, you know, she always pushed, pushed." But what I'm pushing for was the best that they had to give and I gave them my best and I believe in sharing information and that in- in turn helped them later uh.. in life. And so that's what I've always done and I'm still sharing information and I do workshops and uh.. do committees and I do projects still in the community.

Riggins: What are some of the other things? We talked a little bit about before the interview some of the things you've been doing. Obviously, you're involved with DMS Services Incorporated. You're involved with a clinic.

Doretha Stone: Uh.. Fourth Street Community Health Clinic, uh.. Wilmington Downtown Incorporated, uh.. the sickle cell area, and uh.. the Department of Aging uhm.. with Elderly Abuse uh.. in the Cape Fear area. So to me, that's a lot.

Riggins: Oh, it's plenty. It's plenty, that's for sure. Well, I know we're kind of skipping around, which is fine; you spent twenty-six years at the University working with students. What have you remarked about the students? What have you noticed about the students over the years?

Doretha Stone: Well, I noticed that when I first started, they were commuters. They were uh.. generally mothers and fathers and they drove back and forth to campus every day and they had a family to go to. Uh.. as we progressed, the persons were younger, not quite as mature. They lived on campus and they were very versatile. Now, elderly persons have a fixed goal and they are not very flexible, but the uh.. as the years went on, students would be uh.. were much more flexible uhm.. innovative. They came with ideas and we actually learned from each other because they were not necessarily from this l- area. They were from all over and we shared things.

Riggins: The same I guess could be said about the faculty because the faculty were from all over at this point.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Virginia Adams, you were here when she came.

Doretha Stone: Yes. I was on the uhm.. search committee for uh.. a new dean uh.. when she- Virginia came.

Riggins: And she's from somewhere else.

Doretha Stone: Uhm.. the Durham area I think, yes.

Riggins: Okay, right. And then of course Perry Bomar, who is just going into phased retirement, is from up north from Ohio.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: What about the Bolton Clinic? Were you involved with that or was that after?

Doretha Stone: No, no. I was here when they started work with the Bolton Clinic, but I didn't have any part in the- I didn't participate in it in- in any way.

Riggins: What about the nursing shortage nationwide? Is this an ongoing problem that you've observed? And since you're a professional in the field, what are some ways to remedy this?

Doretha Stone: Well, it's- it's an ongoing problem. From my perspective, I believe that schools of nursing should accept all students who have an interest in nursing. Uh.. I know all of the criteria that they use for accepting people and academics is one of those. [laughs] I believe that if the person is truly interested, they may not be an A student, but they can make a very good nurse and it may take them a little longer to graduate than other persons, but I think that uh.. that's one way of meeting uh.. the nursing shortage, uhm.. having an open door policy. Now, I know the University and the School of Nursing say they have an open- open door policy, but it's open with certain stipulations. And so I think if you took all the barriers a- away, then it- it could very well uh.. work. Now, I remember a student who came to UNCW and based on all the things that we said, she said to me, "I am going to become a nurse. No matter what you all tell me, I am going to become a nurse." So she took courses for years. She went to East Carolina and she graduated. And when she graduated, she sent me a picture and a copy of her diploma. Now, I'll grant you it was about ten years it took her to do this, but she is a nurse and she's working at Cape Fear Hospital at this point. And so I do believe that an open door policy would..

Riggins: So she had trouble getting into UNCW? Is that what you're saying?

Doretha Stone: Well, I- I think- yes. Now, I met a young lady uh.. Wednesday night at Winston-Salem who said she w- was a bioly ma- biology major at UNCW and happened to take a course, anatomy and physiology, with nursing students and said, "I could barely pass that course." And uh.. and so we smiled because of the rigorousness of the course and that uh.. we felt that they need to have uhm.. certain uh.. materials and so that they would be better nurses.

Riggins: Yeah. I see. Well, it's good to be rigorous, but like you said, you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot by being so rigorous that it's harder to get a nursing degree than any other degree on campus. That would be a problem too. Well, those are some interesting reflections. I just know because I ask professors from the School of Ed the same thing, about teachers who are- what are their perceptions on what to do about it. Well, what did you like about being on campus? It sounds like in the nursing faculty, you're so busy with the community and going out and about that there is a different dynamic than if you're a professor of philosophy or German or something like that where you have so much business right on campus. But was there a certain involvement in the campus activities? Did you serve on Faculty Senate?

Doretha Stone: Well, I did. Advisory Committee. I did many committees. Uh.. I did Minority Affair, uhm.. Athletic Committee, Teaching Excellence, Promotion and Tenure, Curriculum, you know, [laughs] all those kinds of things, those committees I uhm.. functioned on. And so..

Riggins: Lots of work.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: So you're quite involved. So you're on an advisory committee for Minority Affairs?

Doretha Stone: Yes, Minority Affairs and we went out and actually tried to recruit minorities to uhm.. UNCW. And because having gone to a school and I saw very few people who looked like me uhm.. who are students in nursing, uhm.. I would have lunches with minority students, Indians, uhm.. African-Americans to talk about how they could get the best from the system. I went to Winston-Salem and I was a shy person and I didn't necessarily know how to always tap into the system and get everything that I need. And so my thing to them was always try to get the very best you can from what UNCW has to offer. UNCW had a lot to offer, but if someone didn't sort of guide you and share with you, "Have you tried this or have you tried that?" you would just go through two years, four years and not necessarily get all that you could out of the system, yeah.

Riggins: You'd have no way of knowing. So that was part of this recruitment and retaining. Did you get to know Dr. Leutze?

Doretha Stone: Yes, I was on uhm.. his committee and uhm.. I was on the Human- I think it's the Human- Human Resource Committee at the end and uh.. his Advisory Committee. And so he was an interesting person because he brought lots of life and energy to the campus. Yeah.

Riggins: Right. Well, we have a few more minutes. You could sense a real difference when he came on board?

Doretha Stone: Oh, certainly you could. Yes, uhm.. in the behavior of the faculty and in the concerns for faculty welfare. And he was sensitive to this. If you suggest things to him, he would try to follow up on what you had suggest.

Riggins: Well, actually, do you mind if we switch tapes just for a little bit?

Doretha Stone: Sure.

Riggins: I have a few more questions. I don't want to cut us off too early.

Riggins: This is Adina Riggins, university archivist; take two with Ms. Doretha M. Stone. I just didn't want to cut off what we were discussing in our first tape and I want to continue with more of our conversation. We were talking about the arrival of Dr. Leutze in 1991, how it was an exciting time. You said he brought a lot of energy and he was a good leader.

Doretha Stone: Yes, he was.

Riggins: Receptive, open to faculty more so. Well, you didn't say more so, but..

Doretha Stone: Well, he really was. I uh.. developed a relationship with him and then there was an opportunity for him to recommend someone for Leadership North Carolina uh.. from this campus. And so I was recommended to Leadership North Carolina and there were three people from New Hanover County and one was Hugh McManus and I just noticed that he retired from Topsail School and is gonna now teach at uh.. Cape Fear Academy. But it was an interesting experience to uh.. be nominated for that uhm.. fellowship. And I did that and it was exciting.

Riggins: For the benefit of our viewers, can you explain what that is, Leadership North Carolina?

Doretha Stone: Leadership North Carolina actually look at persons who uh.. rising leaders or leaders uhm.. so that they can enhance their skills for the betterment of the State of North Carolina. And so what we did, we did a six-month uhm.. period. We went all over North Carolina, we learned about North Carolina. We talked about ways to improve environment, finance, uh.. the political arena. And so it- for me it was uh.. nice to meet other persons from all over uh.. North Carolina. There were thirty-two members in the class and so we would go and come up with possible solutions. I was on the environmental committee, had never thought about the environment really, and as a result, started looking at New Hanover County environment, state's environment, some of the things that New Hanover County could do possibly to enhance the environment. Never thought about uhm.. the drainage system in New Hanover County. And now it's fascinating that we're having a sewage spill and so there's all things that are affecting our environment, but before that time had not uh.. really uh.. thought about it as uh.. an issue.

Riggins: What did you bring to it? The idea of health? The health of the community?

Doretha Stone: Oh yes. Uhm.. the hazard of some of the issues that we were having. Uh.. we also looked at the insects in the community, mosquitoes and ticks and those kinds of things and what New Hanover County was doing to uhm.. alleviate uhm.. some of those issues and uh.. talk about recommendations.

Riggins: And then with this information, did you write up reports or present back to..?

Doretha Stone: I- I did a presentation. Did work with the Health Department and talk about uhm.. health relative to some of the things that we were discussing.

Riggins: On that same note, with public health and other issues, I know nurses have gone into research big time, especially some of the huge research universities. With you, was there time for research?

Doretha Stone: Well, when I was at National Institute of Health that was all research. For me, it wasn't very stimulating uh.. and I know for some other people it is. To me, it was too confining. Uhm.. you had to weigh clients three times a day, you had to test urine, you had to test excreta, you had to do all these things because of the drugs they were getting. Remember, I was on oncology, in order to uh.. maintain the data. And so for me, it was very repetitious. [laughs]

Riggins: That's I guess the nature of research.

Doretha Stone: And- yes, and not very stimulating. And so after a period of time, I knew that was not something that I really wanted to do and clinical was certainly uh.. what I wanted to do. And we did some grants looking at students' perception of their education at UNCW. Worked with Dr. Maxwell in clients who had had endarterectomies, uhm.. their life patterns and how that had influenced uh.. their outcome. Uhm.. so I did more uhm.. surveys uh.. and looking at attitudes.

Riggins: What did you think? Did you like that?

Doretha Stone: I liked that uh.. much better. And- and actually, it helped me in a sense uh.. do some introspection in my health pattern. I ended up in 1995 with cancer and so I always thought from my early days in oncology at National Institute of Health, I heard that persons who worked in the research and handled the drugs were- may develop skin cancer, but then I developed breast cancer and that was totally different from what I had heard. So uhm.. I tried to look at my health behavior ha- uh.. patterns to see how that had influenced uh.. my outcome as far as uh.. the cancer was concerned.

Riggins: Well, that must have been a challenge. And I've heard that nurses are difficult patients because you want to get out. I don't know if that applies to you.

Doretha Stone: Well, I uhm.. may have been a difficult patient, but I thought as I shared with my students that I- if I had to do it all over again, I wish it had happened earlier in my life because it changed my perspective on life and..

Riggins: Really?

Doretha Stone: Yes. Uhm.. it was more sharing, more giving. Uhm.. what was important before cancer was not necessarily important after cancer. And so it was..

Riggins: It totally changes your perspective.

Doretha Stone: Yes, and so it was..

Riggins: What became important after?

Doretha Stone: Well, uh.. doing the very best I could each day, sharing what I had each day, and at the end of the day, knowing that I had done my very best. And so that's what that was about.

Riggins: And not getting too negative or anything.

Doretha Stone: No, no.

Riggins: Yeah, I can imagine that would be a huge challenge. Let's talk a little bit more about what you've been doing since retirement with the sickle cell community. You've been involved with the association?

Doretha Stone: Well, I've been on- I've been on their board for a very long time. Uhm.. they recently received a grant in that they are going uhm.. in the community trying to share that information- share information about sickle cell and the fact that it's not uh.. predominantly a disease of African-Americans, but it affects all races. And uhm.. early detection, the treatment, and then the dreaded pain that- that you used to hear about is not necessarily something that one would have to go through if you are treated on a regular basis.

Riggins: Really?

Doretha Stone: Yeah.

Riggins: And is that due to the technology also?

Doretha Stone: It's due to the technology and again, the way the person uh.. their health habits. Uhm.. they need a lot of fluids, they- there are certain things that they need in order uh.. to maintain uhm.. a pain-free- fairly pain-free existence.

Riggins: Well, I'm sure that could be extremely helpful to people facing these challenges in that disease. What do you hear from alumni? Do you continue to see your students around town? Hopefully, you don't have to go to the hospital much.

Doretha Stone: Well, I don't- I am currently in a uhm.. group that walks three times a week and one of the persons in that group is a UNCW graduate, a nursing uh.. graduate. And we talk about lots of stuff, uhm.. students..

Riggins: Was she your student?

Doretha Stone: She was a student in the ADN program. Uhm.. and when I'm out in the community, I see UNCW graduates. Uhm.. when I'm at the Department of Aging on their committee, there is a UNCW graduate on that committee and so I really do uh.. see them when- whenever I'm out.

Riggins: They're active, they're leaders.

Doretha Stone: Yes, yes.

Riggins: Yeah, they're busy. In your work with aging, have you gotten to know Delilah Blanks?

Doretha Stone: Yes. She was on- she was on campus when I was on campus. But again, I was uh.. very busy over at the School of Nursing. I knew that she was the- here and we would talk occasionally, uh.. but it- a very nice lady.

Riggins: Yeah. She was here probably around the same time.

Doretha Stone: She was.

Riggins: I think she came in '77 or so and retired maybe '99; yeah, sometime close to 2000. So I have an interview with her in a couple of weeks. She was a social work professor and now she's very involved with aging.

Doretha Stone: Yes. I met a young man two weeks ago who has started an assisted living uhm.. facility in uh.. Brunswick County and it's called the Corinthian. He said that she was his uh.. professor and his mentor and I'm sure that if she had seen that facility, she would be very proud of this young man.

Riggins: Oh, assisted living. So he wasn't a nursing student?

Doretha Stone: No, he was a sociology person who has developed an assisted living facility in uhm.. Brunswick County.

Riggins: And that brings me to another question about men in the profession. Did you start to see more men involved in the BSN program than in the ADN program or did you see men in both programs?

Doretha Stone: Well, I saw men in both programs, but in the BSN program, I received a grant to develop a brochure to recruit males to uh.. nursing because there were times when there were only two nurses- two male nurses and the clients uh.. of about forty people and uh.. so we were trying to encourage uh.. males to come into nursing.

Riggins: What's the advantage of encouraging males? For diversity or for opening the profession up to more people?

Doretha Stone: Well, again, as sometimes I can meet your needs better than a male, and a male can meet another male's need better than a female. Uhm.. they I think think differently, approach problems differently, and it's always nice to have a different uh.. perspective on what you are doing. And uh.. they seemed to be- have better math skills than some nursing st- females and so I thought it was an advantage to have uh.. males in uh.. nursing.

Riggins: In the program and in the profession.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: How did it work? Were you able to recruit more?

Doretha Stone: Well, we were- gradually recruited uh.. more nursing students, uh.. male nursing students and it was exciting to work with them. Uhm.. they tend to always be ahead of uh.. the group of students that you're working with. And I found that to be uhm.. interesting.

Riggins: Well, maybe because they are different. They feel like charging ahead.

Doretha Stone: That was always. Yes.

Riggins: Yeah, that's great. Well, we certainly appreciate everything you've done for the community and for UNCW. I've learned a lot talking from you. And do you have any other thoughts or things I haven't asked you about, either about UNCW or the profession of nursing, any closing thoughts?

Doretha Stone: No, I still work with young people in that I work with YWCA. Uhm.. did some entering for them and Girls Incorporated. They're- they're still my passion. Even though uh.. I do a lot of work with the elderly persons, uh.. I'm always drawn to uh.. young people.

Riggins: You've remained true to your foundation, your base in pediatrics and young people. And I certainly have learned, yeah, that your career has expanded a good breadth because there was the pediatrics and the oncology and adults, elderly, critical care. So that's good that you can always come back to the children. I don't always ask people about their family, but if you'd like to say anything about them, do you have grandchildren?

Doretha Stone: I don't have any grandchildren. I have one son and a daughter. And we are close. We're not as close like other folk, but we're close because a friend of my daughter's says, "I call my mother every day," and Yolanda says, "I don't necessarily have to call her every day." And so we call when we need to or we visit when we need to and it's an understanding that we have. We're not necessarily clinging people, but we're loving people.

Riggins: Yeah. Did any of them go into healthcare?

Doretha Stone: No, my daughter says she didn't like blood. My son is [laughs] a graphic designer and my daughter is a business major and she is the financial person for uh.. DMS. Now she's in Greensboro and she manages the Paul Robeson Theatre on A and T's campus, but does the financial part of DMS. And we do this by uh.. e-mail..

Riggins: Electronic.

Doretha Stone: Yeah, electronically.

Riggins: Right. So she has the business and the arts.

Doretha Stone: Yes.

Riggins: Healthcare is certainly not for everyone. I know I certainly don't feel like I could have done it myself. And it's a true calling, as is education. And I thank you very much for coming here. We do offer a copy of the tape to all of our interviewees, so I'll talk to you when we turn off the tape about mailing that copy to you.

Doretha Stone: Okay.

Riggins: Thank you very much.

Doretha Stone: And thank you.

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