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Interview with Adrienne Jackson, May 18, 2005 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Adrienne Jackson, May 18, 2005
May 18, 2005
In this interview, Adrienne Jackson discusses the development of the nursing school at UNCW. She also touches on the general history of and changes in nursing programs, as well as her own career as a nurse and educator.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Jackson, Adrienne Interviewer:  Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Jerry Date of Interview:  5/18/2005 Series:  Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length:


Mims: Today is May the eighteenth, two thousand and five. I am LuAnn Mims I with Jerry Parnell and we are continuing our series on health services of southeastern North Carolina. We have with us today Mrs. Adrienne Jackson who was a nurse educator here at UNCW. We would like to begin by asking you a little bit about your personal history, where you were born and raised. Can you fill us in on that?

Jackson: I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. However I was raised in Wilmington. We moved here after the end of World War II. My father was responsible for five hundred ships...mothball ships that were in the Brunswick River and were part of the Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Fleet...

Mims: Hum.

Jackson: ...program.

Mims: See we always get a little bit of Wilmington history because we have...we have found a lot of the ties...what brings people into town. So did you attend local schools then?

Jackson: I did indeed. Um hum.

Mims: What high school did you go to?

Jackson: I went to New Hanover High School, however we left Wilmington when I was fifteen and a half and went to New Jersey. Again, my father was...became the purchaser property and supply officer for the eastern gulf coast of the Maritime Administration, and that office was in New York. And so I actually graduated from high school in Westfield, New Jersey.

Mims: What did you do after graduation? High school graduation.

Jackson: After high school graduation I spent a year in college and married and worked in Philadelphia while my husband was a student in the law school at Penn. We then moved to California and at that point, or some point along the line, we got divorced and I had to begin to think about what I was going to do to survive. And I had always told my family that I thought I'd be a teacher and that was I originally had in mind when I went to college. My mother had been a nurse so I was pretty sure I didn't want to do that.

And eventually during my escapades, my parents called and said, "We're getting ready to put our house in Wilmington on the market and we realize that you lead a somewhat unsettled life and we wanted to be sure that you weren't likely to want to come home before we sold the house. Because if you are interested in that, we won't sell it"...which was pretty gracious of them but at that point I assured them that I was too worldly and sophisticated ever to return to Wilmington, North Carolina.

The shortened version is that I am just sometimes amazed that I have very happily lived my life in Wilmington, raised my family, and practiced my profession here. It was not anything my little fancy sophisticated brain could conceive of when I was in my twenties.

Mims: So you came back to took them up on their offer for the house?

Jackson: No, some years later.

Mims: Oh, okay.

Jackson: I returned to Wilmington. I was here on vacation...actually, while I was busy trying to sort out what I might want to do, I took a one-year practical nursing program in a community college in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. And my notion was that if this nursing thing was something I could tolerate, maybe I could find that out pretty quickly. Well, I found it out pretty quickly. I went to work following that in an office of a physician in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

It was during the period of the Cuban migration...Castro was in charge in Cuba and many, many, many of the professionals and certainly the health care professionals left Cuba and one of the areas they settled in was northern New Jersey as well in Florida. And I had an unusual experience working with this physician. The physician that I worked with had been a German-Jewish refugee during World War II.

Actually, his family managed to escape in the late '30s. And so he was very conscious of what happens to refugees and we worked out a system in which I practiced certainly at the edge of what an LPN can do, but under his total supervision. And he would see patients in the community in the morning while I did things in the office. And then he would come in and hold office hours, and he held office hours from ten until seven at night. I left at five and then went back into the community to double check on the families that he had seen in the morning.

And none of this ever showed up billed to anybody because it was his belief that we could not have hundreds of folks with no medical care just because their life had become intolerable and they needed to escape. So it was a very, very interesting experience working with him. And I got a mini lesson as soon as he got into the building and reviewed again with him before I went out to check on the family and that's the point at which I realized that this was exciting stuff. This was a neat role, but that it would be so much better if I knew a whole lot more.

And so my nursing education was specifically to fill the void of...of knowing the need was there and knowing that I didn't know enough information. And one of the things that excited me as...over the next when I went to school, I discovered answers to the zillions of questions that I had. One day when I was in the training program for the LPN work, I remember asking my instructor "why" something. And she looked at me and she said, "Mrs. Culver, the question is not why, it is and you do."

I thought, "Not hardly honey, but if that's what you need to believe for us to get through this, then...then that's what we'll do." So the fact that I was going to advance in the nursing profession through education was an absolute given. The how is what became more intriguing because by that time I had a two year old son and...or slightly less than two years...and I couldn't work out daycare. You know, in the late '60s, daycare was not a very well organized thing.

I found a daycare program that was new and cutting edge, unfortunately there was no way I could be in school before seven o'clock in New Brunswick. I had been admitted to the school of nursing at Rutgers through their first LPN/RN 'career ladder' program, is what they called it at that time. And it was really the LPN to BSN program. I couldn't...simply could not arrange it. And the daycare and the program were about thirty-five or forty minutes away on the freeway and the times didn't work.

And so I was vacationing in Wilmington, my parents were back in Wilmington. And generally crabby about the fact that I couldn't sort this out. And a family friend said to me, "Adrienne isn't it time for you to stop this darn fool nonsense and come home?" And this was Dr. B. Frank Hall from the Philosophy and Religion Department, and I said, "No, it really isn't. I, you know, I'm not coming home, I'm independent." And he said, "Well, let's talk a little bit about what's happened at UNCW...UNCW is a really creditable place. The nursing program coming along, and this would be a way for you to do what you want to do."

So I thanked him kindly and went back to New Jersey. And when...and I was here on vacation while my boss was on vacation. He simply closed the practice and they traveled. And I came on vacation, and he came back, and I talked with him a little bit about it. And I said, "I really want to do it. I just can't figure out how." And he said, "Well, so, go." And I called my parents and said, "Is that offer still in place?" And they said, "Yes."

And they received me back in their little rented house which they had so that they could travel. They wanted to sell the house that had room for us so that they could travel and now worry about the house and what was happening. And my patient father never said, "I wish, I wish..." or anything else. He did one day come home and say, "We're moving, we've bought a house." And I said, "Oh, how come?" And he said, "Because I will share my life with you, I will share my home with you, but I will not share my bathroom with you and your grand...and my grandson." So we did and I came to UNCW. I was admitted to the associate degree program and that was...

Mims: What year was that?

Jackson: ...actually, it has to have been 1970, but in my mind it was really '68...or '69. So I'm not sure if I was planning this in '69 and arrived in '70, which is probably the case. And I...I scrambled back over my brain and I know that I graduated in '72 and it was a two-year program. So I had to have started in '70.

Mims: Wow!

Jackson: Okay.

Mims: So, what was the program like here? The work was...

Jackson: It was an associate degree program.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: And we did take general college courses. And we took specific nursing courses at the same time. I think it helped if you had had a chance to get some of the college...the general college courses completed already. It certainly made it more tolerable. I was able to transfer in a number of basic and we did take our anatomy and physiology and our microbiology in very similar courses to the ones that students take today.

Certainly the teaching methods were a little...a little different. They are much more highly computerized now than they were, but similar to a large degree. So we had a...a course in...we had two anatomy and physiology courses, one semester a piece. We had one semester of microbiology. We had one semester of...of course it was designed specifically for nurses...that was part chemistry and part physics. And we used to joke around about how we were taking "chemical physicry".

Mims: (Laughing)

Jackson: But...and...and of course it wasn't either one thing or the other, but at least did the job so that we had some notion of the physics that's important in working with human bodies that are the ultimate mechanical machine. And also the biochemistry that's involved in the care of people.

Mims: Now, am I to understand that while you're taking these classes though, you're still doing, like, clinical work? Or is it separated?

Jackson: It is. Yes, we were still doing the clinical work.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: But the clinical work was...did not involve much independent decision making. So that we were going into clinical, and in fact, Toni Barfield and Jane Lowe had clinical teaching positions...the first year that they...they worked, was the year that I took course work under them in nineteen-seventy.

Mims: Who was Lu...Luetta?

Jackson: Luetta Booe. Luetta Booe was the director of the associate degree program during my first year and Ms. Dixon became the director during my second year. Um...I think I mentioned to you when we talked on the phone, that from my perspective, the history of the school of nursing at UNCW parallels very closely the history of nursing as a profession in the United States.

The program as I understand it was originally set up under Dr. Frank Reynolds as the Dean of Instruction, I think they called him at that point. We didn't have the levels of administrators that we do now. And, Ms. Luetta Booe had been a friend for some years of Dr. Reynold's wife, and she had been an Army nurse and was a...a fascinating woman, but a stern disciplinarian.

I think you don't come from a history in the Army and certainly the Army Nurse Corp, which also had nurses who were originally diploma nurses, but then had other degrees, or had finally bachelors degrees in nursing. But these folks had learned to practice their profession during a period of considerable rigidity. You know, it was very important that you understand the hierarchy and nursing was as hierarchical as you could get and be a dominantly female profession.

Mims: We...we've had people liken this hierarchy to almost a military hierarchy.

Jackson: Absolutely. And in fact, following World War II, the first professors in nursing were primarily folks who had been military nurses. So they brought that with them as a way of viewing the world and operating within the world.

Mims: Well in...inherently, it seems with the giving of the regalia, the cap, the bands with the...the diploma schools, it seemed very military like to get the pin, you know, all of this kind of stuff. They...they did this in the early years of the AD program here too.

Jackson: But under protest.

Mims: Under protest.

Jackson: Let me tell you.

Mims: Okay.

Jackson: Um...Luetta Booe was very conscious of the fact that we were moving into a new era of nursing. That the associate degree nurse was a different...having a different kind of education, and that ultimately would practice a different kind of nursing. That nursing would be, from her perspective, much less servile and more collaborative. That it would have a...a community component that was much stronger than it had in the past

Community health nursing was actually the province of the baccalaureate degree education for nursing. That was the biggest distinction between diploma program nursing and baccalaureate university based programs. The baccalaureate university programs saw the role of the nurse quite differently...based largely on the work of Annie W. Goodrich out of Yale University.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: And her belief was that the very best and the brightest that you could find should be your well-educated nurses. That these needed to be the people who were doing the planning, who were doing the organizing, and if we could possibly get enough of them, were doing the care. But that somebody had to know a whole lot about the world in which the nurse worked, and not just the...the patient/nurse/family/physician but how was the whole healthcare system being...being organized.

How was care going to be delivered? Did it have to be delivered in the hospital, or could it be delivered in the community? How much could be delivered in the community? And the settlement house movement, we think of social workers as being in charge of...actually settle house, settlement house movement was also heavily staffed with these community health nurses, with baccalaureate degrees in nursing. So that they were really seeing a different kind of practice than the diploma nurses were seeing.

Mims: Inherently this goes back to decision making...independent decision making then right?

Jackson: That's right. Now, by the time you work your way up to the Brown Report and the acceptance of the fact that is possible to educate nurses without seventy million hours at the bedside, and that you really can get a practice that's based on knowledge that is specific and attainable, and that you can do this in two years, cause you got a shortage of nurses, and you just don't have time to fool around unnecessarily, this was the atmosphere in which UNCW brought it's nursing program into being.

An atmosphere that things are really, really good at the bedside when the diploma nurse was doing her thing. She knew her patients. She understood their problems. She could work well with the physician. Sometimes it was totally collaborative, sometimes it was a little manipulative, but the diploma nurse could get what she wanted for her patient and what her patient...she knew her patient needed to have. And so that this...this two year notion didn't fit. It didn't take as long. It didn't, excuse me, produce the kind of in depth understanding of what's happening to the individual patient, that the diploma nurse and the proponents of diploma nursing believed they had.

So you began with a little...a rough edge there...little controversy. You come to Wilmington where we're dealing with having to close a hospital in order to open a new hospital and you add to that the fact that in fact there were two hospitals that were closed in Wilmington. And in the white community, Community Hospital was the invisible hospital, but it was right there serving people just as well and with nurses every bit as skilled with a director or nursing that had a...a reputation that far exceeded the local area.

She was highly, highly respected, and a woman who worked absolutely no nonsense [Willa Hatcher]. Again, maybe a little militaristic...whatever. But she had a hospital that worked. And on some...something of a shoestring as well. In fact, Dr. Rowe explained to me one day when I interviewed him and I've looked for the tape and have not yet found it, that I made of that interview...

Mims: That would be super if you can find that!

Jackson: said they did not know for sure what was going to happen to the black physicians at Community Hospital the night before the move to New Hanover Hospital. They literally had no idea these people were going to be allowed to go to the new hospital and practice as physicians or if their hospital doors were going to be closed and they were going to be able...unable to open them and go and care for their patients...until the night before the move. This is a terrifying time for them and a time of great anxiety. And at the same time you're closing your diploma nursing program at James Walker. You've met those women, they are deeply devoted to their hospital, to their program, to each other, and to their patients. And the feelings were heightened, they really were!

Mims: The same with Community.

Jackson: Well this is exactly what I'm gonna say...that...that the same...the same issue, if you can imagine what was happening to the physicians, was happening to the nurses! They thought that they had some clue, that Ms. Hatcher was going to be going to the new hospital, and she was going to have an administrative role from Community, and that several of the nurses hoped that they would also be involved, and may have felt a little bit more confident, in fact, than the physicians...because people had at least talked to them.

Nobody was talking to the physicians. And so it was a very unpleasant time. Now, I was not here at that time. I was living in Spokane, Washington. My mother was doing private duty nursing at James Walker and also at New Hanover at that time.

Mims: What school did she go to?

Jackson: She went to Christ Hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Mims: Was that a diploma school?

Jackson: Yes. And it's her cape that was in...

Mims: Oh, that's right, that's what you were talking about...

Jackson: ...that was in the glass case at Hoggard Hall, yes.

Mims: Oh, interesting.

Jackson: In fact, her cap was also there. So we had mother's cap and Dorothy Dixon's cap, and our cap from the associate degree program at that time.

Mims: We...we know that, you know, even though on record the move went very smooth. We know all the stuff leading up it was not smooth by any means.

Jackson: Um um, um um.

Mims: We knew it was not a smooth transition coming over here because the projection at the...the college was we're trying to get a four year status, why would we want to involve ourselves with a program that's not a four year?

Jackson: However. Let me tell you how come that happened. How come that happened was B.D. Schwartz.

Mims: Oh really?

Jackson: ...who said to them, "Now wait just one minute folks, we need a place to put that nursing program that's coming out of the hospital. And there's no reason why it should go to the community college and be an inadequate program if the real place and the real direction for nursing should be a baccalaureate program! Therefore, you put it in UNCW."

It wasn't UNCW at that point. "And you make it the kind of program it needs to be." And they said "Yes sir!" So the night that the board of trustees of U...of...I guess it was Wilmington College...

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: ...accepted the nursing program from...and that's what they did, they accepted the nursing program from James Walker. They did one other piece of business, and that was the decision to have the motto of the university be Discere Aude. And I've talked with students and anybody who will listen ever since about the fact that at that point, at that very moment, the destiny of the school of nursing was in place.

Mims: Hum. Very good.

Jackson: That we would dare to learn. (cell phone ringing) I need to turn it off.

Mims: It's okay, we're going to pick up the tape again, and we're talking about the acceptance of the motto and...

Jackson: Oh, yes...well,'s just...I think it's absolutely self evident and it's crucial for nurses to understand that it...

Mims: Also, it shows up on the nursing pin, doesn't it?

Jackson: That's correct. That's correct. It has the Discere Aude on there. So when we talk with them about the significance of the pin, we talk about that. But the first moment they walk in the door, and I have access to them, and in fact for the last couple of years, have taught the incoming students.

I'm retired but I teach one course a semester often, and that was one of the courses I taught, was a general course filled with things that are introduction to nursing in terms of history, but also the things that you need to know in order to be an effective professional nurse...that don't show up under a neat little label.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: talk always about the fact that we were challenged from the very beginning to dare to learn and that that meant there was going to be change in the program.

Mims: And that's what we were ultimately coming back to, you said that Ms. Booe had a realization that the program was changing. We know she stepped down and Ms. Dixon took over.

Jackson: And what happened was that Ms. Booe, for instance, would not allow, and made artbi...what appeared to be arbitrary decisions. You know, in an academic setting, you don't make arbitrary decisions. In a health care situation, and particularly in the sixties and seventies, you did. That was what you were supposed to do. And so our uniform was not white, it was not striped, it was pale blue with a white collar and little white bib with tucks...white tucks...vertical tucks. And we...we were to wear black shoes and street colored hose, okay, and no cap.

Mims: No cap.

Jackson: Because the cap was the symbol of the old school. That was diploma nursing. And you didn't wear white shoes and white stockings because you were going to be out in the community. And so what would you be wearing white shoes and white stockings in the community for? Okay. The only reason she had the blue uniform was that she hadn't been able to...for whatever reason and I don't think she mentions it in the materials she wrote...convince folks that we should be in navy blue suits, which is the typical public health dress.

Mims: Public health dress.

Jackson: Okay? Well, now we were just highly incensed about this. Because in the '70s, or certainly the late '60s, the students began to have rights. You may remember, you're old enough. We were fairly sure that we were entitled to things even if the institutions were not sure of it. And when we got through arguing about where they were fighting what kind of war, we got into how we were being properly educated or not properly educated, and nursing students were no different.

We knew that the real programs of tradition, because everybody told us, including all of our parents and all of our friends, and all of our parent's friends, that the quality nursing was done in the diploma programs at the hospitals. Okay? It was real hard for these folks to indoctrinate us very differently. Ms. Dixon, in fact, had been the director of the program at James Walker, so she brought that history with her.

And she was a little more cooperative than Ms. Booe was. And for whatever reason, at whatever level, the decision was made that Ms. Booe would move to the classroom and Ms. Dixon would be the director of the program. On the picture which I arranged to have hanging in the hallway of the school of nursing...I'm not sure where it is in the new building...of Ms. Booe, we did label that first director, because in fact, that's what she was.

Mims: Yea, we saw where that's how she signed her name too, is director. So, and then when they closed the James Walker school then Ms. Dixon was able to come over here full time, cause she was part time the first year I think.

Jackson: Right.

Mims: So...and then Mary Alice Whitfield was...

Jackson: And have you been able to talk to Mary Alice?

Mims: We did...did talk to

Jackson: Good. I adore Mary Alice.

Mims: Yea.

Jackson: I was always fascinated by her because she seems so gentle and so soft and so lady-like. And she worked in the STD clinic as the STD nurse at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: With all those men during the time of that heavy building and....and I just...I'm just always a little confused about how those didn't mesh, but she's a neat lady.

Mims: And again she completes the ties with Community...ah...with James Walker Hospital, because she was a graduate of that...

Jackson: Exactly.

Mims: ...diploma school before she received her BSN.

Jackson: So, you see that these folks were educated in the old way. And the first people to arrive that were not, were Toni and Jane.

Mims: And they came out of the Chapel Hill...

Jackson: And they came out of the Chapel Hill program. And the Chapel Hill program has not been there since God.

Mims: No.

Jackson: But at least it has been there twenty years longer than our program. So it's not like some of the...the nursing programs. You know, the program at Yale just fascinating because it barely resembles anything as a traditional nursing program and it was one of the first five nursing programs that was developed in the early twenties or late teens, I forget which.

Mims: Well, after you completed the AD program, what did you do?

Jackson: Okay. Um, at the time we were students, the associate degree program at James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville was being developed. And that program actually had it's first year of existence the year that we were seniors. Okay? So, I was the senior class president and president of the Student Nurse Association. And so we set up a number of social events. We invited their school, their students, and their faculty to UNCW. They met with us.

Mims: I've seen a picture of that.

Jackson: Okay. That was important to us because that was going to be the first time we would be sharing our clinical site with anybody. Now we share our clinical site with all kinds of folks.

Mims: Huh.

Jackson: But that was the first point of...of sharing. And it was really important it seemed, to us as students, that we had to get along. That we were in a program that...that sometimes our graduates didn't get along with the diploma graduates who were practicing at the hospital. But if we had another associate degree program around, we at least had to get relating to those folks.

And we did, and I knew their faculty and it was soon graduated, I worked at the hospital was not long before Andy and I got married and I had a son, I don't know, a year and a few months after we married, and he had severe vision problems. We spent a lot of time at Children's Hospital in Washington DC.

And had surgeries and all sorts of time spent there, so I was not working at all during that period. At some point when he was probably two or three, things were stable and I applied for a clinical teaching position at James Sprunt. They wanted somebody...actually it was a sim lab position. They wanted somebody to coordinate their learning lab and their simulation lab. And I went up there and did that for, all in all, I was about ten years at James Sprunt.

Mims: Really?

Jackson: It was maybe eight years that I was in that role and then other roles.

Mims: A lot of driving?

Jackson: Yea. But it was wonderful because we didn't have cell phones. So the time was absolutely mine. I would leave from chaos. I would arrive to chaos and that hour in between was pure mine. It was lovely. At any rate...

Mims: So that's how you came into nurse education?

Jackson: That's how I came into nurse education. My role shifted at Sprunt over the years. It was very interesting when I planned...when I started the retirement process...figuring out where...what kind of classification all those years at Sprunt had. And they were different every year. As a community college...typically does not like full time faculty because they can get more bang for the buck with a bunch of part time faculty...and I was perfectly delighted to do it because I had a wonderful time doing it.

I enjoyed working with students and always really found nursing students to be exciting because every one of them wants to be there. There is never one of them that doesn't want to be there. The ones that don't want to be there have either flunked out because they haven't had the courage to say "I'm not gonna do this," or some of them say, "This is clearly not for me."

I remember one student that we had here in the summer, who came to me and said, "Mrs. Jackson, this has been the most fascinating month I have spent. I've learned all sorts of really interesting things and I'm sorry that I won't be able to learn anymore of them, but you know, this nursing business is just not me! And I'm going to quit!" And I said, "Well I'm so glad that you discovered it now!"

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: "I really am." She said, "Well it's been fascinating, but uh uh, just not me."

Mims: We've had several people actually say nursing is in your blood, and it's either there or it's not. And there's like a definite personality. You wanted to be a teacher originally? You ended up being a teacher but as a nurse educator.

Jackson: Um hum. The Meyers-Briggs has been done many times with nurses. There is a typical path, actually I don't fit in it.

Mims: You don't.

Jackson: No, I don't. Um...I'm much more loose. Okay. I'm much more willing to accept people the way I find 'em. See if we can kind of shape 'em a little bit, or figure out a way that they can still be...stay in the system without having to fit in a particular mold.

Mims: Yea. Well, nursing still isn't for the rogue person...

Jackson: Oh no, no, no.

Mims: ...still today, because you're expected to take orders and deliver, and...

Jackson: And to do...

Mims: Asking questions...

Jackson: But...

Mims: ...though is not as put down as much, though...

Jackson: You better be able to ask questions now. Now my big job is to help people learn to ask questions that are not...not phrased in an offensive off putting way before they ever get the answer. You know, I taught one of the first assertiveness training programs for nurses. I absolutely taught the first course in starting IVs for nurse...for LPNs in the state of North Carolina. I was salary was paid, for a long time, by AHEC, the Area Health Education programs and I was...I was assigned some unusual sorts of roles. And part of my role was in the community college, and part of it was in the community setting.

Mims: Um hum. Well, with your experience at James Sprunt, did you know what was going on here at Cape Fear Community College...what their development...

Jackson: Nothing was happening when I was at Sprunt with Cape Fear.

Mims: Okay. Because we know the...

Jackson: That's much later.

Mims: ...LPN program starts in ''s developed. But the two-year nursing program doesn't come there until when, in the '80s?

Jackson: No, I think it's in the '90s.

Mims: Probably whenever it starts phasing out here in the mid-eighties they probably started thinking about it.

Jackson: No, no.

Mims: No?

Jackson: No, no, no.

Mims: Turn it off. So the Cape Fear came...development came a little bit later. Where you involved here at UNCW with the transition to the BSN program? The...what they called the Access program?

Jackson: Right. My role at UNCW has been strange over the years. When UNCW started doing it's transition to the baccalaureate program...

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: of the things that was necessary was to upgrade the educational credentials...

Mims: Sure.

Jackson: ...of the faculty. And most of the faculty...the administrators had masters degrees, the teaching staff had baccalaureate degrees. So when you moved to the baccalaureate program, the terminal degree had to be defined. And as they began the program, the terminal degree was defined as the masters degree for teaching faculty and the doctorate for administrators. That left us with a teeny-weeny little problem. Nobody had any.

So the Area Health Education folks at AHEC under Neil McDonald decided that it was appropriate to move their focus from medical education for a while to nursing education and acknowledge that nurses were part of the medical community. Therefore it fit. And they tried collaborative...developing collaborative relationships with nursing...with universities that had baccalaureate programs and masters programs to see what they could set up for a distance learning type of arrangement. We did not have the technology that we do today. And finally East Carolina University got aboard and I oughta be able to give you that date, I can't right now. But I can also refer you to Jeanne Kemppainen.

Mims: We have her...

Jackson: ...and Jeanne is the person that made that program work.

Mims: Really?

Jackson: She was in that first class and she's the person that got all the people gathered together and gave all the names to Dr. McDonald and who then hired a coordinator for the program and they brought courses down to Wilmington and they...from East Carolina. Also, they decided which education courses from here would transfer to there so that they had a nice balance of faculty coming and going. The ones that were coming in and the ones that were from here. And they kept us going.

Mims: How exciting for you!

Jackson: It was neat, it was really neat. Um we had a...a bizarre time getting connected with the program. If you had a baccalaureate degree from a school of nursing that was recognized, like Carolina, then you had no problem, you were admitted to the program and you began course work. If you had associate degree in nursing or a diploma in nursing and you had an advanced...had a baccalaureate degree in anything else, you could take a series of exams, which in effect, were the final exams from each of the courses that were required nursing courses...

Mims: Hum.

Jackson: East Carolina. And so some of us did that. But there was...there were some flaws in that. For instance, we had a classmate who had a degree from Columbia University and the nursing program was at Teachers College Columbia University, therefore it was not labeled a degree in nursing. And it was one of the first programs in the country. It was a very well established program, but it didn't fit in the formula.

And so this lady had to sit with us and take these exams with us and go through this as if she'd never had a baccalaureate nursing degree at all. But we...we did 'em and it was a challenge, and some folks decided the challenge wasn't worth it, and they went to the hospital to work...or they were able to work in the program with changes in roles. There was certainly another period of ill feeling.

Mims: Now are we moving into the '80s now?

Jackson: Now, yea. Now we got another whole period of upset and ill feeling. So, while in the late sixties and early seventies, and when I was involved in the early seventies as a student, our goal was when are we gonna get this program NLN accredited. Well, we're never gonna get it NL...NLN accredited...National League of Nursing...until it becomes a baccalaureate program. Only nobody really wanted to start a baccalaureate program because the associate degree program was really overwhelming enough.

Mims: Right. It also fit the need of the community.

Jackson: That's right. And so we didn't have the baccalaureate program. And we didn't have the credentialing, although the credentialing was possible, by the way...which was another thing, because the students all checked. We checked to find out what was necessary to have a program accredited. And they were lying. Well that's why there were unhappy people at the beginning of the program. They were perfectly furious! They'd been lied to! You know, that...that doesn't set well with people.

Mims: Right.

Jackson: And then you've got somebody rigidly insisting on everything exactly...exactly the right way...during an environment where students are saying, "Well excuse me."

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: And so there was the upset.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: It gets calmed down a bit, then it's time to change to a baccalaureate program, the upset starts all over again. And somehow or another the program managed to survive, and it managed to produce really good graduates that are really functional.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: And most of the faculty stayed pretty sane while they were at it.

Mims: It's wonderful that they were able to work with you guys and elevate your degrees and keep you on staff and keep the program viable at the same time. I mean that's...

Jackson: That's right.

Mims: ...that's really neat.

Jackson: That's right. It was really a remarkable thing.

Mims: Personally that would be, you know, a really good goal, you know, to meet that.

Jackson: That's right.

Mims: To keep continued growth in your profession.

Jackson: That's right.

Mims: Um, the death of Dorothy Dixon...

Jackson: At that time, by the way, I was that time I was not here on the faculty. I was still at James Sprunt.

Mims: Okay.

Jackson: Um, Toni Barfield knows more about the death of Dorothy Dixon than anybody.

Mims: She talked about it, I didn't know whether you were here.

Jackson: No, but I knew what was happening.

Mims: Okay.

Jackson: You see, my husband came to UNCW in 1974. And I graduated in '72 with the associate degree and then with my undergraduate degree in psychology in '74.

Mims: Okay.

Jackson: And so I was always here. And when I told you what roles I had had in my class...

Mims: Sure.

Jackson: ...that was significant because I committed to my classmates to try and keep a connection.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: And so one of the first things I did when Dr. Rosenketter arrived, for instance, to plan the change to the baccalaureate program, was to go and greet her on behalf of the alumni and my classmates and say, "Welcome, we're excited. We spent a lot of years hoping this was finally gonna happen and we're excited about it."

Mims: Hum.

Jackson: So from that point...and then I began classes with this faculty. And actually Dr. Rosenketter, at that time, did not have a masters in nursing. She had a doctorate. She had other degrees in nursing and other masters, but no masters in nursing. So there were a number of us that commuted up to the program in its various forms. And so I knew what was going on in the program because I was commuting with some of these folks.

Because as we broke into specialties, some...they didn't bring some of the specialty courses here. So for instance, the community mental health courses, which was my area, stayed up there because there weren't enough people here to bring them down. And we just drove up there. So it...I knew what was happening here.

Mims: Um hum. So to bring in the BSN program, of course they brought in people to help develop it. We've heard the name Joan Ketcher...

Jackson: Joan Ketcher, um hum.

Mims: help develop curriculum. But she was not brought in to lead the program?

Jackson: No.

Mims: We were a little confused on that. 'Cause she seemed like her credentials were...they weren't for...

Jackson: Well, she was brought in to help develop the program.

Mims: Right.

Jackson: She was not brought in to be the dean. And at that time there were several people that were involved, most of whom were pretty comfortable that they knew a whole lot and that they were qualified to be the dean. So Dr. Rosenketter, Dr. Gray, Dr. Ketcher...except that I don't think she finished her doctorate.

Mims: Okay.

Jackson: Okay. She was working on her doctorate, was at dissertation point.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: And so these...these are all folks who could have been dean.

Mims: So Dr. Gray was already on staff here?

Jackson: Dr. Gray was not on staff here. He was hired at that point by Dr. Rosenketter, just as she hired Joan Ketcher and um, Nancy Haddock, and...

Mims: There was another Nancy too...I don't know when she came.

Jackson: Nancy Gillilan, and she was here when we were at the associate degree program.

Mims: She was acting director after Ms. Dixon died?

Jackson: Right. And she was a Chapel Hill graduate, and actually returned to Chapel Hill to live. I haven't heard in a number of years what has happened to her. I used to know what was going on with her, but don't any more. Um, any of these folks probably could have been director, or dean, but Dr. Cahill was the person that knows who ended up dean and why and how. You know, that...that was his role. He was here and in place, and...

Mims: You know, these are unanswered questions for us. I mean, we can look at the facts and it says who was here and who was here and then our question is well it looks like they have perfectly good faculty, why did the bring other people

Jackson: Well, you need to grow.

Mims: Yea.

Jackson: And you have, you know...there may have been personality conflicts. But you can't run a program with two people. There were two doctorates and that was Dr. Rosenketter and Dr. Gray if I'm remembering correctly.

Mims: Right.

Jackson: The other folks had masters degrees.

Mims: All masters degrees.

Jackson: If you're gonna run a program, you're gonna run a program with a doctorate. Um, Dr. Rosenketter was here at the suggestion of Sister Jean Margaret McNally from...her application came to UNCW to Dr. Cahill through Dr. McNally, who was in the general administration. And she was either Sister Jean Margaret or Dr. McNally depending upon which role when. And...

Mims: Well, how did you come back here then?

Jackson: I came back here in 1990 when Dr. Rosenketter and I were doing a radio program about some health issue. And she said to me, "Adrienne, you haven't applied for the opening," and I said, "No, I'm not going to either." And she said, "Well, but you could apply. And you know, maybe it would be a part time position and that would fit with your schedule." And so a week or so later, I figured "Yea, I can do part time, but I sure can't do full time, and I'm not going to, and besides which I'm not gonna get tangled up in anything that's too complicated because life is already complicated enough."

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: Because again I had a child who needed a considerable amount of attention and who we were very fortunate learned to function very well. His apparent brain damage wasn't real and his eyes still don't see very well, but he has a PHD in epidemiology and so he functions just fine. But we put a whole lot of energy into the beginning so...that I didn't work in the kind of schedule that I might have had he not been part of our lives.

Mims: But you're saying something that rings true with a number of nurses and nurse educators, is the flexibility...

Jackson: It's crucial.

Mims: ...that is thwarted by this.

Jackson: It's crucial.

Mims: Because women you try to find something that you can balance home and work and it seems like you've really found that in this profession.

Jackson: It worked very well for me, it really did.

Mims: Why don't more people go into this? Because it seems like this seems to be where the problem lies today, is trying to find nurse educators.

Jackson: Oh, well, there are several reasons for that. One of them is that over the history of nursing, nursing tend to give...tended to give away things that were really important to it. Nursing, also in the early seventies, decided that it's salvation was in high tech. That's when intensive cares...units were being developed all around the country. You know, during the time that I...I've worked as a nurse, I've worked in a twelve bed ward and I've worked at the bedside of an individual nurse in the hospital and in...out in the community and all kinds of roles.

But this is what the profession has done. It's gone from twelve patients in one room to a patient in a bed and a nurse assigned to that specific patient. Sometimes assigned to two patients and occasionally, on rare occasions, to three. And so, in fact in the seventies as those units were being developed, it was twelve bed units, or six bed is a small ward, compared to one nurse with one patient in an intensive care unit. And that nurse was very knowledgeable about the machines and the gadgets and the high technology...

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: ...and focused on that high technology a lot. And so, we thought, oh! that's where it's at! And you have to do this all the time or you'd slip behind and you wouldn't wouldn't be up to date and up to the minute.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: So we can do a whole lot of part time nursing in intensive cares. And those were the prestige places to be. If you were in the other units there wasn't as much prestige.

Mims: So but the trade-off is, as far as nurse educators, is that to be able to help run these simulation labs with the that what you're getting to, or...?

Jackson: we can learn to do that. It's just not that complicated. You just spend a little time thinking about it and...

Mims: It seems like it's the disbalance of salary. A practical practicing nurse in a hospital environment...the salary, working even a part time, does not balance out a full time educator position with the responsibility...

Jackson: One of the things we've had trouble with as a profession in our...with our educators is actually defining what full time equivalents are and what constitutes what kinds of hours constitute an academic load.

Mims: Um hum.

Jackson: So that when we take...we teach a course that may have five hours acre...attached to it, it also has two full days in the hospital attached to it. But that doesn't figure effectively into the formula. And the fact that, if you're going to do two days in the hospital, even if it's two half days, as a faculty person, you have to go over to the hospital, you have to find out what's happening with those patients, you have to work with that staff to figure out who's suitable.

You have to, you know, you're actively involved in it. It's not like you're setting up an experiment in the lab. And when we began...that was the comparison...these were called labs, those things happening in the chemistry department were called labs, and the equivalents were the way it was set up. Doesn't work that way. Nursing is an extremely expensive kind of program to run. And's certainly going to continue to be a problem until the educators figure out how to balance it.

Mims: Um, I think we have about a minute left or so, if you could just give us...

Jackson: Haven't talked about anything you wanted to hear to begin with.

Mims: Oh no! This is great. What is your advice for the future? If you had to do it all over again, would you go into nurse education, or...?

Jackson: Yes, I would.

Mims: And what would you say to a young today in nursing? Would you tell 'em to do...?

Jackson: I would tell 'em not to do it the way I did it. Because at any turn I made the long ter...the longer more difficult time-consuming decision. What I would say to you now is go get a nursing...a nursing education and an advanced nursing education the way profe...professionals in any other discipline do. The way psychologists do. The way chemists do. The way historians do. You go to your undergraduate program, you get yourself into a graduate program. You get your education so that you start thinking at a different level from the beginning of your practice.

And as recently as four years ago when we had a student admitted to an experimental program in another part of the state, immediately after her graduation, folks were saying to her "Don't do that, you have to practice in the hospital for two years first. You have to!" Nonsense. You can do that while you're in school. You don't have to live a full life doing other things. You can be a nurse and a nursing student at the same time. You don't...can't be much else, but get on with getting an education, learning as much as you can as early as you can so that you can make the kind of differences.

We are at a crucial point in our profession. We have to have some things answered. And the people who are going to answer them are the people who come out of school, excited, and continue school excited, and then practice and think of new ways for us to do what we need to do. We have to change, society changes, therefore the profession has to change as well.

Mims: Very, very interesting.

Jackson: Thank you.

Mims: Thank you so much.

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