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Interview with Jane Lowe, November 1, 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Jane Lowe, November 1, 2006
November 1, 2006
Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Jane Lowe graduated from the Chapel Hill School of Nursing in 1959. In 1964, she moved to Wilmington with her husband, a German professor at UNCW. She began working part-time in the associate degree program for nursing as a clinical instructor at James Walker Hospital. When she was urged to become full-time faculty, she taught in the classroom as well, where she was known as a tough but dedicated educator. In her time at UNCW, Lowe witnessed the closing of James Walker Hospital and the addition of a baccalaureate degree program. She retired in 1999.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Lowe, Jane Interviewer:  Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Jerry Date of Interview:  11/1/2006 Series:  SENC Health Services Length:  58 minutes


[audio begins abruptly]

Mims: Today is November the first, 2006. I'm Luann Mims with Jerry Parnell with UNCW's Randall Library, continuing our interviews with nurses of the area, and today we have benefit to speak with Mrs. Jane Lowe, who was an instructor at the Wil - UNCW School of Nursing when it was an associate degree program. Thank you so much for talking to us.

Jane Lowe: Why, thank you.

Mims: I know that you have talked to another representative from the university but you're very kind to consent to do this again. If you could give us a little bit of personal background, where you were born and raised?

Jane Lowe: I was born in Greensboro. And I went - I really didn't go to nursing school right away. I wanted to, but my mother said, "Oh no, you don't want to be a nurse. You want to be a teacher." And so I went to Women's College, which is now UNCG, in 1954 to '55, then I transferred to Chapel Hill to their School of Nursing and graduated in 1959. I worked the first year out of school, well, we were still at Chapel Hill because my husband was in graduate school. So I worked for the only practice of physicians in Chapel Hill. There were three physicians and we saw 200 patients a day. From - no, they used to do OB, but they stopped doing that when the medical school opened up. So we saw from infants through the geriatric. We gave immunizations, we sutured up, we did everything all in one day and I was the one RN in that practice. It was challenging and exhausting needless to say, but then I went to work at Memorial in Chapel Hill and worked private medicine there and then we were married. I did work a year at Moses Cone in Greensboro, too.

Mims: Oh, really?

Jane Lowe: Uh-huh. My first year there I think I worked all nights and it was not pleasant. But anyway, then we moved to Mississippi, where my husband taught at Millsaps College, which is a private Methodist college in Jackson, and I worked at the medical center there part-time, if you want to call it part-time. PRN, and that means every day you worked a different unit. So I worked there and then we moved here and inadvertently one day in the grocery store I ran into Luetta Booe, who at that point was developing the nursing program at the university. Well, she had been one of my clinical faculty members at Chapel Hill. So she said, "Are you interested in coming to work?" and I said, "No, I have two small children." "Well, we desperately need clinical instructors." So I went to work half-time in 1967 and worked half-time as, I think, the only clinical instructor. I ran over the whole hospital at James Walker. We'd have people and students in intensive care, in pediatrics and med-surg. So I did it all and just ran from one place to the other. Then the state board came in relation to accreditation and licensing and recommended, at that point Tony Garfield had joined as half-time too, that we be taken on as three-quarter time. So we moved to three-quarter time and we began teaching in the classroom at that point. That was their suggestion. I think it was in '76 or '77 that I went full-time and coordinated the beginning course, which was the Fundamentals course, the first semester, and then I moved. I did some med-surg until they got far enough along that they said, "We need somebody to do OB and pediatrics." So I did some med-surg. I worked intensive care and I worked neuro - neurology and urology and medicine with the students. Then we went to where I was just going to coordinate the pediatric part of the last semester. So that's -

Mims: Let me take just a minute and back up just a minute. You chose to transfer into a four-year bachelor program.

Jane Lowe: Right. Right.

Mims: Did you consider a diploma school?

Jane Lowe: No.

Mims: No. What to you was the issue?

Jane Lowe: I don't really know. I don't think it ever crossed my mind to think of a diploma program. I did have, my roommate at nursing school for three years was also a classmate of mine at the high school in Greensboro, and she had gone to right off Macon and was transferring in and I said, "Well, you know what, maybe we could just go down there together for an interview." So that's what I did and we both got it. There were five of us who had had previous college work and so we kind of palled around. We got exempt from a few of the courses, but not too many. I would not have probably even thought of a nurse hospital program.

Mims: Because the time that you're talking about here, the bachelor program is not very well developed in other schools. It's strictly in Chapel Hill.

Jane Lowe: But it, Chapel Hill at that point, I believe, was one of the top five baccalaureate programs in the nation. And they had, of course, great pressure on students as we took our boards that the previous classes have all passed and so will you. So we went with fear and trepidation through that. I don't think I would have thought of just a hospital program.

Mims: Then you said you did a little bit of work at Moses Cone.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Mims: What year was that?

Jane Lowe: My husband was in Germany in the service, so I graduated and worked that year and lived with my mother, and Cone was about three blocks from where I lived. So I worked a huge medical unit for a year, from '59 to '60. Then he came back and we were married and we went up to Chapel Hill.

Mims: Was Moses Cone a segregated hospital at the time?

Jane Lowe: I don't remember. I do certainly remember that Memorial was.

Mims: The reason I ask is because there was a very large article that we read about Moses Cone and some of the students, about the African-American physicians trying to get credentialed and (inaudible).

Jane Lowe: I don't remember that piece, but I will tell you I remember when I was working that we had a ward and there was a flu epidemic going on and there were all these elderly gentlemen in their eighties with pneumonia and a premature baby in a (inaudible). Because it was such an overflow we had to put them someplace. I don't remember the segregation per se. I don't think that was an issue. I will tell you that when I worked the University of Mississippi.

Mims: I imagine so.

Jane Lowe: Well, I can tell you, I mean, 'cause we were in Mississippi during the time of the race riots, and I worked the ER one day. And they said - I went around to set up all the recovery room. I mean, their recovering was attached to the ER and so I remember that I didn't have enough oxygen and suction equipment and they said to me, "Only White patients will get that. If there are no others that are available then you will, you know, you will have to determine who gets the oxygen and suction equipment at the bed. So in Mississippi it was very definitely segregated.

Mims: We're also interested in some of the historical aspects of what you may be able to bring up. Another thing you talk about is when you came into the UNCW, you did do some work at James Walker. So this was the last year?

Jane Lowe: That's the last year because '67, I'm not sure, it was nearer than the last year.

Mims: They opened New Hanover in '67.

Jane Lowe: Right. And so we made the move. I taught that year and we had students at James Walker, and I do mean all over James Walker. I needed a skateboard. It worked out really very well. Then we moved into the new hospital. It's hard to believe they're adding to it now.

Mims: Were you involved with any of the transfer of patients from the hospital?

Jane Lowe: Hmm-mm, no. No. We did not participate. I think probably legally that would've been difficult with liability insurance if anything had gone wrong. I do remember the funny time, and maybe you don't have this in your records, of when the queen from the gypsy tribe came to James Walker, and I don't know what was wrong with her but the whole tribe came and camped behind the hospital and they would allow a few of them in at a time. You can imagine what it - it caused quite a roar, an uproar.

Mims: I imagine so.

Jane Lowe: But I can remember that time when she was there and they were all camped outside cooking, doing everything, right in their little tents.

Mims: Very interesting. James Walker had a diploma school and--

Jane Lowe: They did.

Mims: - that last class graduated in '66.

Jane Lowe: And then I - then community college, and I don't know when that last graduating class -

Mims: - community was the same year.

Jane Lowe: Was it the same year?

Mims: Yep, it's the exact same year.

Jane Lowe: Well, did you talk to Willa Hatcher?

Mims: She has passed.

Jane Lowe: I did not know that.

Mims: Yeah, because her name comes up time and time again and, unfortunately, we were too late to get to her.

Jane Lowe: Yeah.

Mims: Did you know her?

Jane Lowe: Yes, I did. She was a delightful - she was a lot like the Luetta Booe in that she wore starch. She must have worked in the service.

Mims: Or military. We've heard she had a military -

Jane Lowe: Military. Very starched. She wore a starched uniform and white shoes that had heels on them and her cap. Now none of the other staff were dressed like that but she certainly, and she was impeccable and she came on to the units. There wasn't a spot of dirt or any - or a stain on a uniform, so.

Mims: Yeah, we've heard she was a very, very -

Jane Lowe: Yeah.

Mims: Matter of fact, we have a physician that said how lucky Community Hospital was to get her.

Jane Lowe: Absolutely.

Mims: And then she made the transfer to New Hanover -

Jane Lowe: To New Hanover -

Mims: You know, there was a lot of memories that have come out from there but no, unfortunately, we missed talking to her. Well, we want to talk a little bit about, you're brought into this program, the two-year program. We have a listing of students, of seven names.

Jane Lowe: Well, I can give you thirty to forty more.

Mims: But this was that first year that they brought seven in and then they brought seven more in.

Jane Lowe: I've got six of them and I couldn't remember the seventh name.

Mims: What were they expecting to happen? They could foresee that this program was going to grow so exponentially?

Jane Lowe: From what I understood, it evolved from the medical society in the, in Wilmington going to the University and asking them to set up a program because at that point you had community and you had James Walker, both of which were probably beginning to phase out, and from what I remember it was at the behest of the medical society and the physicians that the associate degree program was started. I don't remember because Ms. Boone was so funny, you know. She insisted that they would do anything if I'd just do clinical because they were writing the courses and designing principles and practice and so forth, so I said, "Well, I'd do that," and I think I went to work at 6:00 o'clock in the morning and worked half a day, two days a week or something like two or three days a week. I don't remember too much because I wasn't teaching. I was only doing the clinical piece of it, and I think that's where the state board in '74 said they really do need to be more involved in the day-to-day (inaudible).

Mims: Why don't you explain to us what the clinical part that you were doing.

Jane Lowe: Clinical means that I would go to the hospital, make assignments, take them back to the students at the university, and then they would study up the night before and come prepared to take care of this patient. I would give them all the orders and the medicines and they would come and be prepared to care for that patient. And so it changed a little bit. In those early days, I don't remember a whole lot about it, but that I did make the assignments and I would work sometimes in critical care, sometimes in coronary care, sometimes mid-surg. They did not have a psych department but they had padded rooms that they put their psych patients in and they were locked. I didn't assign many of those because I didn't have access to be there with a student if they needed me when I was everywhere else. Pediatrics was over in another building to the far end and that was always full too. As far as doing clinical, you supervise what they do, you make rounds, you answer questions, you have them pour medicines, you help them give medicines. You are responsible. The terminology is "they're practicing on my license."

Mims: So the staff nurses on the, in the facility are not responsible for the student.

Jane Lowe: They are, they may help if we're tied up with some other thing. They may help, but again for liability purposes the faculty member is totally responsible for what goes on with those patients and a student. So I will tell the funniest tale of - I was going on to the surgical unit one morning and Dr. Coddington, and he's deceased of course, and he came up to me and he said, "Jane, did you know that I just went in and checked on such a patient," and he had done surgery on him, the man had a Levine tube which goes into the stomach, "and your student has just given him his antibiotic and I observed the pill coming back through the Levine tube. Isn't it supposed to be in another route?" So that's where you're responsible for anything that's wrong or indifferent and you have to stay one step ahead of them.

Mims: So how did you correct that?

Jane Lowe: We - oh, quickly corrected the order. And then, you see, you have to write incident reports for liability and anything like that and how it could have been prevented. So she just had misread and thought it was oral and didn't realize. She just didn't think.

Mims: Well, the reason I ask is we've talked to so many of the old nurses that talked about as a student, if you made an error, there was a repercussion. Now I'm talking about mainly diploma schools, so I was looking -

Jane Lowe: In associate degree programs, if you made an error, an incident report was always written up. The student would write it up, the staff member would co-sign it and I would have to sign it and a copy of that would go into their academic file. We never had an incident, knock on wood, that led to a demise of a patient but, but you know, you had to be very, very alert and astute and you never wasted time. You were always - once you finished with one student there were always three more waiting for you.

Mims: What was your capacity? How many students would you manage?

Jane Lowe: The state board licensed that you may have only ten per faculty member, and in that first class there were only seven, and I can give you those names if you want them. But generally, in most of the situations they would have one patient apiece. So as we moved on to pediatrics, you realized that in seven weeks they had to learn everything about sick children. The first week was orientation and two weeks out into the kindergartens or juvenile court. So that meant in four weeks they had to learn everything they could about the care of the sick child. So what I generally did, because they were to graduate in May, this was the last semester, would assign at least two patients, and we kept a flowchart so that we were certain that each student had every age group because I made them do intensive, thick care plans which they probably will tell you about. But in pediatrics you have to not only know what's wrong with the child but you have to know normal birth and development, play, play therapy, the dietary needs of that age group, and compare the sick child to the normal child and tell me, is your patient meeting the standards or are they behind and why? So it was an intense thing and that's where they had more than one patient normally. Then you not only had the patient, you had the mother, the father, and the grandparents. So I always said I had ten students and twenty patients at least.

Mims: Was it easy to work with the professional staff?

Jane Lowe: Oh, yes.

Mims: Did you view students as a nuisance or as a (inaudible)?

Jane Lowe: I found if the faculty member is willing to really work hard and participate in the care with the patie - with the student, if they ask questions and they come to the staff and rely on the staff for advice about situations, that they respect you and they think you know what you're doing. If you sit in an office and grade papers while the students are on the unit, you, how can you be - how do you know that you've proven your knowledge? You don't, and so I've had no problem whatsoever with any staff member. Neurology, and I always gave them the most difficult patients because they were freshmen, they knew how to give bed baths and the stroke patients and the paralyzed patients were the patients who needed that care.

Mims: Sure. Was it - were you teaching total patient care?

Jane Lowe: Absolutely. Whatever they had in class they did in clinic, and that's the way. We used to have a book of skills and you would sign it and date it when they had done it satisfactorily. So there were standards and principles and protocols and guidelines that you followed to know that they were proficient.

Mims: Before arriving in the clinical situation, were there in-classroom models that the students worked with?

Jane Lowe: When we first began the associate degree program we had a very limited, we call it clinical lab. Many times, as I recall, they had each other as patients and we also - they also gave each other injections, which we don't do and they haven't done for years because of the AIDS problem and hepatitis C, you know. But they practiced a lot on each other and it worked well because their fellow classmates could certainly tell me if they weren't doing it right. But - we used oranges for injections, it was just - so we really didn't have a huge, we call it simulation lab.

Mims: Right. Now you talk to Dean Adams and -

Jane Lowe: Right. That's right.

Mims: - a new building that's coming up. How many simulations did she say there was? Like -

Parnell: Seventy-eight.

Mims: Yeah (inaudible).

Jane Lowe: Oh, I just read the Chapel Hill alumni news and they just opened their new building with all their new stuff in it and it sounds phenomenal. We really talked after we started writing the curriculum for the baccalaureate program. We talked about wanting to purchase critical care simulation and units but they were so vastly, I mean, it's just so expensive and we didn't have - there wasn't that money. So we did the utmost that we could do with what we had and the most important thing, I think, is for the faculty member to know what's going on. I don't care if the patient's difficult. I mean, one of my students said to me one day, "That was the most boring clinical situation I've ever had." So the next time they got one that couldn't hear and couldn't talk and one of the students said, "Don't ever tell her that again." But it, you have to be aware of where they are in their knowledge base and their learning of what's going on in the clinical in the classroom go along together.

Mims: Well, historically we're also looking at the changes in the role of the nurse equals the changes in the education of a nurse. We spent a lot of time talking to diploma nurses taught bedside nursing and now what you're talking about with the clinical environment and learning more of the technical aspects of this and projecting it now into where the students are with having to learn all the different machinery that goes on.

Jane Lowe: Well, see, I think this, for some reason we found that many of our graduates, when we put the peds OB component in the last - really, so many of them went to work in pediatrics and OB and, of course, I think OB has gotten very, very technical. But today in the baccalaureate program, so many of them want to do the emergency room high tech ER/EMS thing and I look at them because my last role in the school of nursing was to remediate people who were failing who took National League for Nursing tests and made it a zero percentile. Well, we knew they weren't going to pass boards, so my job was to remediate them and test them and tell them what they needed to do to improve their knowledge base and most all of them said they wanted to work EMS and emergency room and I thought to myself, whew.

Mims: That's really quick thinking and it's a lot of -

Jane Lowe: It requires - now, some of our associate degree students went on worked critical care, then went to anesthesia school, or - and that's what Charles Smith, that you're going to talk to, and several of them have worked where they could get a clinical situation where they had to think and use their heads. I worry about students who aren't challenged to think and know. I always have, we call it a pre-conference, so that although I might have assigned them a patient and they studied from 7:30 until 8:00 o'clock, we sat in a group and I quizzed them constantly about what are you anticipating, what if this happens, what can you do, what would you do, what else could have happened. And they hated it, but I then knew that I felt safe they're going out and caring for the, for the child. We never let them pour medicines alone. They didn't like it but one day I walked up and a student had poured their cortisone syrup and they had poured one ounce and I said to them, "What is the order?" They said, "It's an ounce." I said, "You just would have killed your patient because you're giving them eight times too much." So it was a dram. So we always, even when they were gonna graduate, we always checked their medicines before they gave them. It's not that we doubted them, it's just that this was all new to them. So in children, it's - and that kind of seems to be where I ended up because nobody else wanted to do it. But in children, you know, it does make a lot of difference in how you prepare and study, and - you're not only thinking about the patient and his surgery, you've got a two-year-old.

Mims: Who's not cooperative, right.

Jane Lowe: Who is restrained. Who, you know -

Mims: And sick.

Jane Lowe: - and sick and throwing up, and we had the cutest little ones one time. A pair of twin girls and they were in with flu and I had said to them, "No matter what, don't you dare let their IV get out." Because they have stuck now about six times to get it started. So we had them up in the chair. They were eating Jell-O with their hands, you know, and I heard this page for me and I knew where to go but the IV had come undone and the blood was just all over but she was just happy as could be eating her Jell-O with her hands. So that's where you don't - you're caring for the whole patient. You are not caring for somebody that's sick that has a disease. I don't know if nursing is like that anymore.

Mims: It seems, it seems a little different. It seems like it's changing.

Jane Lowe: It's very technical. I love the patient contact. I love the interaction. I did not like the operating room, even when I was in school because I - that's not where I wanted to deal with patients. So they got to learn to talk with the patient, cry with the patient, you know. Talk with the parents, teach the parents. Teaching is another big thing today. And so I see this as taking care of your patients. Today I don't know how much of that is done.

Mims: It seems like they're spread so thin these days, too (inaudible).

Jane Lowe: Well, it's paperwork, paperwork, computer work, computer work, and -

Mims: And supervision of, like, nurses assistants and everybody else on the floor.

Jane Lowe: Everybody. Because the assistants are doing the patient care and sometimes they don't even know. I mean, my husband had had a slight stroke and the man who came to get him from x-ray said, "Now get up, man, and get on this stretcher." I said, "This man is on bedrest." "Well, there ain't nothing wrong with his legs, is it?" I said, "No, but he shouldn't be getting up." So that's the kind of people you are dealing with and your knowledge base and your ability to problem solve has got to be very, very good.

Mims: Now another thing that you're talking about during this period of time is that nursing students are readily identified by their uniform and their caps.

Jane Lowe: That's right.

Mims: So the patients understood -

Jane Lowe: They knew who you were.

Mims: Yes, and that nurse meant certain things were going to happen.

Jane Lowe: That's right.

Mims: So were you in this transition where we started losing some of this?

Jane Lowe: Well, I - yes I will say I was, toward the last few years when I taught peds. And peds is a place that, you know, starched white uniforms and hats don't work. Try to get in a (inaudible) with the oxygen going and your hat's flying off and they're just screaming at me 'cause they've got to wear the hat. As it happened, the staff and the nursing staff were beginning to wear the tops with Mickey Mouse on them and no hats and so that the children felt more comfortable with them. I don't think adults feel that. Adults don't know whether you're a CNA, an LPN, or a baccalaureate or a masters-prepared nurse. I mean, you've got a big nametag hanging around your neck, but who can see that? You know, maybe turned the wrong way and you may have geriatric or elderly patients that can't read it. And the number of Spanish, Mexican patients that we have. Ms. Barfield was working a maternal child and they had translators, you know, that have to go in with the mothers during delivery and to send the baby home in order to give instructions. So I just think that a lot of that has led to, I don't know whether it's watered down, but again the CNAs are doing the patient care. It's the dollar bill.

Mims: The roles aren't as distinguished as what they were in the past.

Jane Lowe: They're not.

Mims: Responsibilities have maybe changed a little bit.

Jane Lowe: I think they probably have and I don't know that it's good or bad.

Mims: We have attended meetings before when we bring this up and most everybody says they wish that the hats and uniforms would come back just to -

Jane Lowe: Well, I could do away with that. If - I mean, that's okay if you have defined roles and the patient knows who you are. I find people who want to do nothing but run technology, with and so forth. That's just not patient care and many of my graduates have left nursing for that very reason, that they were so bent to the paperwork and the technology that they couldn't give the patient care they wanted to give and they've gone into real estate. Three or four that have gone into real estate.

Mims: I think I heard one nurse say that, like, her mother was a nurse and she had a bad back, but she's a nurse now and she had bad wrists from all the -

Jane Lowe: I'm sure.

Mims: - typing she has to do.

Jane Lowe: I'm sure she's got carpal tunnel from the computer. When I was in New Hanover, right before I went back to the university, I left there in '93, went to New Hanover and oriented all the new nursing staff.

Mims: Okay, so you were employed by New Hanover.

Jane Lowe: By New Hanover, an employ - or did all the orientation for all levels of nursing. When they opened Coastal Rehab, we had to train the whole staff so that when I went there I went hoping that I could do this job. It's the first non-teaching job I had done but it's still teaching. But it was a big adjustment for me but many of the people who were coming in weren't students that I had been an advisor to here. So it was at all levels but you have to ascertain the competency of every level when you hire them, and doesn't mean because they can pass the math test that they're not going to make mistakes.

Mims: Are the nurses mentored at all their first year?

Jane Lowe: What I worked out, I don't think it's that way any more, but we were doing two orientations a month and we finally, I said, "This is just ridiculous because your, it's back-to-back running into each other." So we ended up with one orientation a month for RNs and one for CNAs, and then that meant that the educator on the unit would take that student over at the end of that first week. They would be assigned to one RN and work 4-5 weeks with that one RN, which gives them some feeling of competency. And I don't think that's what they're able to do now.

Mims: I wondered about that.

Jane Lowe: When I left in '96 and I went back to the university, my supervisor didn't understand why I had to meet with everybody once a month. I said, "You don't understand that orientation to a hospital is never the same from one month to the next. You have new computer programs, a new pharmacy policy." So I met with each one of these every month to see what was going on, they - to tell them how many were going to be there, what the levels were. So they could talk to them personally. But she felt that that was not necessary, that they were going to go back to twice a month. So that's maybe what they do. I don't know what they do now.

Mims: What, how is the term "preceptor" (inaudible)?

Jane Lowe: Preceptor is that person, it's the RN who has worked on the unit and knows the unit, and they have preceptor classes to teach them how to be a role model. That's the nurse on the unit that this new person was assigned to before - at least four weeks. They are called preceptors and they did have classes for them. I did not ever attend any of them because I was busy doing something else. But they did, you know, where they could talk about how to be a role model and how to be a preceptor. I - they may still have that, I don't know. Sometimes, and I'm not sure about this either, I think they were paid a small amount to do that and most of the time the educator, I would talk with the educator on the unit and the educator would talk to the preceptor to determine special needs of that individual if I've observed, so that we made that transition for them if we could.

Mims: It seems like it's good policy for the hospital to, with liability.

Jane Lowe: Well, Nancy went from being associate degree director of that program to New Hanover, and then she was the Vice President of Nursing. So Nancy felt that the value of keeping a new employee there maintaining their satisfaction was as important. She said it cost $10,000 to orient one new staff person, and that was back in the '90s. So to have them feel comfortable and do good patient care is very important. Turnover just costs money, and I don't think they want that to happen.

Mims: Let's go back and talk about the development of the program at UNCW. You came on board, it was an associate degree program, but they started talking at the very beginning about developing into a four-year.

Jane Lowe: I wasn't privy to that. I felt like the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees at this university probably felt it would be advisable to have a baccalaureate program. I was there when the feasibility study was done.

Mims: Right. Do you remember what year that was?

Jane Lowe: No.

Mims: Late '70s?

Jane Lowe: But it had to have been, well, we were in this house because we had them to dinner at that very -

Mims: I think we'd have to copy it but we could get the date that -

Jane Lowe: She, and I wish I could remember her name, her comment was, "I see the value of a baccalaureate program." What she recommended was a two-on-two. She said, "You are giving the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree to these students in this associate degree program and I recommend that you keep the associate degree program, do what you're doing, and then build two years of baccalaureate education on top of it." They did not follow that road.

Mims: Really?

Jane Lowe: No, they didn't. Cost them a lot of thousands of dollars for it, too. That's what she told us she recommended. We never saw the paperwork, but -

Mims: Because I wondered how that transition went because it seems like--

Jane Lowe: We taught both. We had both. In fact, the medical community gently demanded that there not be a year without graduates.

Mims: Well, we talked to, I think, one of the last graduates from the AD program and then one of the first graduates from the four-year program. So it's just that kind of middle--

Jane Lowe: I'm trying to think that we had '95, I'm not sure if that's right, '95, maybe it wasn't, it was the last year of the AD. No, it couldn't have been.

Mims: (inaudible)

Jane Lowe: Maybe it was '85.

Parnell: '87.

Jane Lowe: '87.

Mims: '87, because Marlene -

Parnell: Yes, (inaudible) Marlene -

Jane Lowe: Was the last year that we graduated degree of ADN, but you had both schools -

Mims: Programs simul -

Parnell: (inaudible)

Jane Lowe: - being taught at the same time and then we had the first graduating class of the baccalaureate program that next year. So there was no, I mean, it just wasn't flow constant.

Mims: It had to have been a huge strain on the staff.

Jane Lowe: It was very, very, I mean, I can remember helping, sitting in the sim-lab, simulation lab, designing curriculum for the baccalaureate program and then teaching and doing clinical for the associate degree at the same time.

Parnell: When the AVN program started, was there any talk then of starting a BA program other than AVN?

Jane Lowe: I never heard of it, 'course I was just doing clinical at that point. So I really do not know. I know that the demand was that we need bedside nurses. So then, of course, in that, coupled in that somewhere, and I don't know how you can define how it happened, with the community college opening its ADN program, so, you know, you needed to pha - and maybe that happened because we were phasing to a baccalaureate. I don't know.

Mims: I believe that's how we put it on the timetable (inaudible).

Jane Lowe: It might have been. I'm not real sure at all, but I know that those first years were very, very strenuous on the faculty, to be doing both things and trying to design curriculum. One course a semester, and we were one semester ahead in designing curriculum as that curriculum was written and still upgrading the ADN program curriculum and tweaking it here and there, you know. So it was very demanding.

Mims: What about the leadership at the time? We know that Ms. Dixon came on board.

Jane Lowe: And she had -

Mims: She came after Ms. Booe.

Jane Lowe: That's right. Luetta left and Dorothy came. Dorothy, I'm not sure how long she was director, but she developed a tumor of the heart and then she had a malignancy and then she fell and broke her hip and it just went downward spiral.

Mims: We heard she was very sickly.

Jane Lowe: Very, very, very ill, and then, I'm trying to think whether Nancy Gittleman [ph?] stepped in and then Nancy Haddock was the last one. The two Nancys might have been flip-flopped, but I'm almost sure that it was Nancy Gittleman who left and Nancy Haddock took the last two couple of years.

Mims: But they knew they were interim.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Mims: They were searching for somebody to take over a deanship.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Mims: Were you part of any of that search or knew anything of what was going on?

Jane Lowe: I'm trying to remember. I don't think I was part at all of Marlene's hiring. I was at New Hanover at the time Virginia was brought in, and the educators and staff at New Hanover did participate in interviews with those applicants. I remember that part but I don't remember being a part of Marlene's application process.

Mims: We have talked to people who felt that when Marlene came that she kind of put her back on the AD program and just put all of her - you know -

Jane Lowe: Well, it's just that -

Mims: Which is understandable because that's the new thing but -

Jane Lowe: But you will hear the AD graduates, if you talk to any of them about--

Mims: Right, and which we have talked to them.

Jane Lowe: Many of them will tell you, and I've heard her do it, stood in their classroom teaching certain things, how fast she could speed-read ten pages a minute and all this stuff, and that her nurses, they were not any longer the kind of nurses that she was going to educate, and they would be buying their hats in the bookstore.

Mims: And not hat?

Jane Lowe: She cut that out. I mean, she gained, or whatever you want to call it, the animosity of a good number of those grads to this day, and I think since I've left I'm sure a lot of them had gone back and gotten their baccalaureate. None of them chose to go elsewhere, and they just didn't like being talked down to. You can buy your pin and your cap in the bookstore and -

Mims: So she's the one that got rid of the pinning and the capping ceremonies?

Jane Lowe: As I remember.

Mims: Which is a big part of the history of nursing is -

Jane Lowe: Right.

Mims: - is ceremony.

Jane Lowe: I know, I think what eventually happened is she said, "If you're going to have it, you'll have to do it yourself." And that's what they tried to do and we tried to find a church in town or wherever to have it in the evening for their families. And - it was really very sad because what she maybe didn't realize is that she - these were going to be her future students, you know, and to this day they still talk about it.

Mims: Yeah, we've heard some of that. That's why I brought it up, thinking maybe as a staff at the time you could offer a different perspective.

Jane Lowe: No, I, well I'll tell you what, and I shouldn't say this, but she also told us at her meeting with us that her faculty needed to be bilingual because we would have to deal with linguistics in the clinical area, that we would need to speak another language besides English. Well, I mean, so she turned her faculty off, too. We were really knocking ourselves out at that point.

Mims: Sure, you're doing the work of ten people.

Jane Lowe: Right. And so she didn't gain much appreciation from the faculty then. I will say though, as I know Allen Gray has said to me many times, "Marlene could really turn out the work." When we went for our first NLN accreditation, she said, "You will know this curriculum backwards and forward and if you can't answer a question you will turn it over to a person who can and you know who that person is. You must be able to answer anything they ask you." So we did. We knew that curriculum back and forth because we had all written it. I mean, we're eating it is the way we felt. But, you know, she ran a tight ship. She just alienated a lot of people along the way.

Mims: Now she had a big military background, too.

Jane Lowe: I don't even know that.

Mims: Well, I've seen a picture of her suited up in her reserve -

Jane Lowe: Oh, really?

Mims: (inaudible). Yeah.

Jane Lowe: She never mentioned that to us.

Mims: Really?

Jane Lowe: Hmm-mm. Not that I know of.

Mims: Mm-hmm. And Allen Gray, was he there when you were there?

Jane Lowe: Mm-hmm. Allen was a bright light, a wonderful person. He helped take that baccalaureate program and design it for RN Access program. Then he put it online.

Mims: Now wait, RN Access?

Jane Lowe: Uh-huh.

Mims: That's the two-year going to the four-year?

Jane Lowe: That's the RN coming in to get a baccalaureate but it was, at that time, called RN Access because they were already licensed -

Mims: Oh, all right.

Jane Lowe: - and he was in charge of that curriculum. It's different from the - although they take some places together, the community class which you don't get in ADN programs or diploma programs, the research class. There were some that they took together, but Allen basically designed and taught that program.

Mims: Okay. I thought that but wasn't sure.

Jane Lowe: Mm-hmm.

Mims: So that sounds like a very nice program, too.

Jane Lowe: Oh, I will say that one of the graduates, I think it was at a nurses - no, Sigma Theta Tau, which is the nurses honor society meeting - one of the RN graduates came up to me and she had a very responsible job somewhere in Brunswick county and she said, "Ms. Lowe? I never thought I would say this and I'm going to kill myself after I say it," but she said, "I didn't think that RN Access program had anything to offer me that I didn't already know." And she said, "I could not be doing the job I'm doing today if I had not had every minute of the curriculum that was given to me, and I appreciate it. So I know how much I learned." So that's what it gave to the associate degree student, which if Marlene had just realized it, this is your supply and I don't know when the RN Access was thought of. Allen was there in place teaching the baccalaureate program. As for Jenny Payne, now Jenny's deceased, but she wrote a great deal of the curriculum. She was Associate Dean under Marlene for a while after Joan left. Allen and Jenny, and I can see this person but I cannot recall her name. Pittman. Cathy Pittman, who lives in Greenville now, and is teaching. She's got several masters but she teaches in East Carolina and I think, I'm not sure what it is, it's not in the nurse, she did do some nursing piece but she's gotten another degree in something else so she's working in something else but she's still active in teaching.

Mims: Now were you involved at all with any of the development of masters programs?

Jane Lowe: No.

Mims: No? That all came under Dean Adams.

Jane Lowe: Right. I came back to the university in '96, I guess, and my job was to work with students who were in the zero percentiles.

Mims: Oh, the remediation part?

Jane Lowe: Uh huh. So I worked several days a week with these students and administered the test and analyzed them and so forth.

Mims: When did you formally retire?

Jane Lowe: I think it was '99. (laughing) I think it was. My husband and I retired. He taught German at the university and I think we retired the same time. I often thought it was '98. (laughing) I mean, it was so painful but I wanted to (inaudible). But I think it was '99.

Mims: Mm-hmm...and Dean Adams came, and -

Jane Lowe: In the year -

Parnell: '94.

Jane Lowe: '94, okay.

Parnell: We came the same year.

Mims: Well, she certainly supported our endeavors.

Jane Lowe: Good.

Mims: You know, we interviewed her and got information from her extracted. Matter of fact, she insisted that we talk to you. We're down to just the last few minutes. Jerry, is there anything we're overlooking here?

Parnell: Hmm-mm.

Jane Lowe: I can give you six names of the first class. Connie Roderick -

Mims: Which lives here in town.

Jane Lowe: Her daughter, Whitney, was my advisee because she was going into nursing, so that's really bad -

Mims: Oh, we've got to talk to her.

Jane Lowe: -- when you're teaching. But she eventually changed her major but Connie lives in town. I don't think any of the rest of them do. Cynthia Buie. B-U-I-E. Mary Bland. B-L-A-N-D. Bonnie Savage. S-A-V-A-G-E. Nancy Hazel. H-A-Z-E-L, and she is in Raleigh. She, at - the last time I saw her - her mother was a James Walker graduate. Nancy went through the associate program, then went to Raleigh and was working in student health at State last time I talked to her. Pauline Roseberry. R-O-S-E-B-E-R-R-Y. And Pauline, I believe now, the last time I saw her was, she was in Virginia and she was teaching. She had gone back and gotten another degree and was teaching. There's the seventh one and I cannot remember who it is. I have a picture around her somewhere of Ms. Booe, the class, and myself and Mary Adams, but I don't know where it is. So that seventh person is the unknown entity.

Parnell: I have a list.

Mims: We have a list because it was printed in the student paper.

Jane Lowe: Okay.

Mims: The next group of students that came in, there was a girl named Berta. Berta, she was, Berta Stich - now she -

Jane Lowe: I did not teach her.

Mims: Did not.

Jane Lowe: Tony knows her, I think.

Mims: So you guys took half the class?

Jane Lowe: Probably, see - probably working different times. I'll tell you about Bruce. Now there are three Smith boys.

Mims: Okay, Michael we're talking to Friday and then Charles--

Jane Lowe: Charles has a Ph.D. and I believe he is working at the School of Nursing at UVA.

Mims: Wow. You said he was out of state.

Jane Lowe: Uh-huh. I think that's what he told me when he was here. And then there's Chuck Smith.

Mims: Not to be confused with Charles.

Jane Lowe: Right. And Chuck, as the last time I heard of it, Chuck, he was working on a cruise ship as a nurse.

Mims: Oh, that's cool!

Parnell: (inaudible)

Jane Lowe: (laughing) (inaudible) Now there's Harvey Waite. W-A-I-T-E. He has retired. His picture was in the paper not too long ago. It may have been his obituary but his daughter, his daughter works in the ER. No, ambula-- no. What do you call that center where you go in and have your mammograms and your CAT scans?

Mims: Yeah, for radiation.

Jane Lowe: No, it's -

Mims: Image center.

Jane Lowe: No, it's not that. It's the separate one where they'll do pre-op teaching and all that and you have -

Mims: Right. Well, there's Delaney Radiology, but there's the other one on 17th Street.

Jane Lowe: On 17th Street.

Mims: With the big circular -

Jane Lowe: Uh huh.

Mims: Yeah.

Jane Lowe: She works in there because she told me that. She told me that Harvey was her daddy. Joe George is another one, and Joe was a stitch. He looked like he'd stuck his finger in, you know, Dr. Zorba that used to be on - well, he looked like he had stuck his finger in a socket and his hair just stuck out all over, every way, and Joe had a degree in anthropology and came back and did nursing. I don't know where he is. There's James Brown, who I really would like for you to talk to. He's retired. (inaudible) He was nighttime supervisor at New Hanover up until about six months ago.

Mims: Oh, so we - how would we know which one he is?

Jane Lowe: I will give you his phone number.

Parnell: When did he graduate from Wilmington College?

Jane Lowe: I don't know, but he retired. So. I can - you can tell that it was a good while ago.

Mims: If Michael was the first male, he graduated in '72.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Mims: So it would have to be after '72.

Jane Lowe: Right. I would say it was in the '80s but who knows? I mean, he worked however many. James' phone number, and don't you dare tell him I gave it to you -

Parnell: (inaudible)

Jane Lowe: But - now let me think if there are any other boy - men. I'm just thinking of men.

Mims: Well, we find it very interesting that in this age of civil rights and women's lib that men started entering into a predominately female field.

Jane Lowe: But you know every one I had, except for Joe. Joe really, I don't know that Joe wanted to be a nurse or an anthropologist. (laughing) I'm not quite sure but all of them were superb nurses. James did not particularly care for caring for children. James ended up, before he became my supervisor, he was the director of one of the intensive care units at New Hanover and he said to his nurses, "I'll take every patient in this intensive care if you will take those two children." So he - but to tell you how diligent they were in their study, he and his wife borrowed a friend's baby. The week - remember we said we gave them all age groups? He knew it was his. I said, "We'll start you with a teen and move down." So he knew it was his infant week or toddler week, so they borrowed a friend's baby for the weekend so he would learn how to change diapers and feed children. So they were very diligent in doing good jobs of what they were asked to do and were always well prepared, really.

Mims: It was very, very interesting. You certainly have given us a lot of information.

Jane Lowe: Well, I've taught many years and I recognize faces. Somebody I would recommend, we have two sisters and one of the sisters married a husband and they all three graduated from the ADN program.

Mims: Oh, really?

Jane Lowe: One is Teresa Bartelette and Barry Bartelette. Barry is the one that came back and got his baccalaureate, and Karen Trobough. T-R-O-B-O-U-G-H, I think, was Teresa's sister. So I think that's kind of an unusual -

Mims: It is. And what was Mr. Bartelette?

Jane Lowe: Barry.

Mims: Barry.

Jane Lowe: Barry Bartelette. Nancy Wovine is another of our graduates and she was doing patient management of some sort. She was around the corner down here. I don't know if Nancy's still working. I don't know if you're interested in anybody who did public health.

Mims: Okay, we're just gonna cut the tape but we can talk off camera.

[gap in audio]

Jane Lowe: -- and I said, "James, you can be a youth group director the rest of your life if you don't pass state boards, and you need to make - determine what's the priority for you."

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