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Interview with Jane Lowe, May 31, 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Jane Lowe, May 31, 2006
May 31, 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: Riggins, Adina Date of Interview: 5/31/2006 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 84 minutes

Riggins: Morning! Today is May 31st, 2006. My name is Adina Riggins, I'm the university archivist. I'm very pleased today to have the opportunity to do a visual oral history interview. Please introduce yourself, ma'am, for the camera.

Jane Lowe: Uh.. I'm Jane Lowe. Uhm.. I taught here for thirty years, in- in a variety of uh.. positions we'll say, uh.. which gave me a-- I did some clinical, I did some library work, I did classroom teaching, and coordinated, each semester, the- the courses in the School of Nursing.

Riggins: Thank you very much for being here and for participating in our oral history program. And, if you don't mind, I'm just going to take a short break right at the very beginning to prepare something for the equipment. One moment. Thank you, I'm back. I was just checking something with the sound and it all sounds good. Mrs. Lowe, before we get into your academic career here, can you tell us where you were born and where did you grow up?

Jane Lowe: Well I was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, and really grew up there. Uhm... graduated from high school in '54 and uhm.. spent one year at Woman's College, my mother said "You do not want to be a nurse, you really don't want to be a nurse," and so I said "Well okay, you wanna be a teacher," so I went to Woman's College which is now UNCG, for a year and then transferred to Chapel Hill School of Nursing, and graduated there in '59. We then went to Jackson, Mississippi, my husband taught German here, so we- he taught German at a private Methodist college there for three years, and I worked part-time in the medical center, uhm... which is the- the one big medical center beside the VA hospital, uh.. in Jackson. So I worked PRN, and which meant floating anywhere and everywhere two or three places a day. And then we moved h- here, and uhm... and I was a mother for a while, then began to teach here in '67.

Riggins: And actually back up for a second to your biography, was your mother a nurse?

Jane Lowe: No.

Riggins: But she really just didn't feel like you would like it?

Jane Lowe: She just felt that she- that I wouldn't- wouldn't want- really want it after I got it, so, but I did [laughs].

Riggins: Yeah, you did. Did UNC-G have a good education school?

Jane Lowe: Oh yes, very- very good. But the irony of it as far as I can see it, is that not only was I a nurse but I became a teacher, so it worked out in both ways, ah-huh.

Riggins: You did a good amount of clinical work down in Mississippi.

Jane Lowe: I did, I worked at Moses Cone in Greensboro, my- my first year after I graduated, for a year, then I went to Chapel Hill, worked at Memorial, the big hospital there, on private medicine, and also worked in the only doctor's office in Chapel Hill, so that we saw uhm.. every age patient, they had ceased to do obstetrics at that point, but we saw newborn babies to geriatrics, you know, a hundred years old, we sutured up, we gave immunizations, we did everything. So I worked there for a few months, then we went to Mississippi.

Riggins: That was family medicine.

Jane Lowe: Oh, absolutely family medicine [laughs].

Riggins: What was that doctor's name?

Jane Lowe: It was Jones, Joyner and Patterson. It was a big practice, they were the only private physicians.

Riggins: Everyone else was with--

Jane Lowe: And worked with- with Memorial, right, so.

Riggins: They were busy.

Jane Lowe: Very, very, we saw two hundred patients a day, and I was the one RN in the office, so.

Riggins: At this time were there aides, nurses' aides?

Jane Lowe: Not in that practice.

Riggins: Medical technicians?

Jane Lowe: No, not in that practice. I gave all the injections and did everything.

Riggins: Well I have to say I have a almost two-year-old and I always feel like the people who give shots, that must be your least favorite part of the job?

Jane Lowe: Well, you know what, I taught pediatrics, and- and it really- it's not a favorite part, but I used to say to my students "I know you don't like to inject pain, inflict pain upon someone, but consider it you're helping them get well, and go back out and play and have fun, and therefore it's not as painful as it could be." I think the suctioning children and holding 'em down and wrapping them up is e- is more traumatic than giving an injection. So there- there are other things that I think are maybe more traumatizing to the child, and the practitioner.

Riggins: What about the little baby who doesn't understand?

Jane Lowe: But, you know, you can pick a baby up after you give him an injection and hug him and rock him and he calms right down.

Riggins: And sometimes I would think in pediatrics it's difficult dealing with the parents as much.

Jane Lowe: It is, well you-- I- I used to ride down 16th Street going to New Hanover, and uhm.. and say I have not just the student who-- but you have their patient and their parents and their grandparents and anybody else who's in the room. So you don't just have ten students and ten patients, you probably have ten students and twenty to thirty patients [laughs] to take care of.

Riggins: Everyone has their support network.

Jane Lowe: Yeah.

Riggins: Which is good in some ways.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Riggins: It's the challenge that makes things interesting. Did you have a favorite type of work during this time, pediatrics?

Jane Lowe: Well, you know, I never really thought I would teach and I don't know whether you wanna- I wouldn't say become an authority, but I was probably the only one who would- who wanted to do pediatrics, they all preferred Med/Surg. But I really loved it and uhm.. I ended up teaching the content and designing the course and testing and everything for it. So it really became quite challenging, and- and I loved it, but I also loved neurology and urology which I did a good bit of work in too.

Riggins: It does take a certain person.

Jane Lowe: Well, it gets in your blood, it's- it's just something, it's like eating one peanut, or one potato chip, you like it and you love it and- and you wanna-- because it's challenging, and working with the students is just phenomenal.

Riggins: Let's talk about that, you met and married your husband, who was a German professor, he was a German professor here for thirty-five years. I interviewed him, that was a great pleasure, last week. Does he have a medical background at all?

Jane Lowe: Not at all, he- he uh.. he's always referred to me and say "Please stop talking medicalese." So he has no- no medical background, o- only what's rubbed off from his b- being around me I guess, yeah.

Riggins: Perhaps you learned some German words over the years.

Jane Lowe: Not a whole lot. I have an ear for uhm.. dialects unfortunately, and I will tell the funny story of some friends that he had met when he was in the service in Germany, came to visit us, and uhm.. I don't speak any language but English, and- but my ear is so attuned that sitting and talking to this- there were four people I began to develop a German accent. And- and my husband had told the couple this, and he said "Be prepared, [laughs] because she's gonna start talking like you do." So he said "I really cannot understand a word you're saying Jane, just go back and talk English." I didn't even know I was doing it.

Riggins: Interesting, you could build my interest.

Jane Lowe: Well I might be able to.

Riggins: So you were in the service for a while, or your husband was.

Jane Lowe: He- he was, yes.

Riggins: Did you have children at this time?

Jane Lowe: No, he was in the service while I was in nursing, at the School of Nursing. Uhm.. when I think about my junior year he went into the service and then came back, the year I was working at Cone the year after I graduated. So, we weren't married at that time.

Riggins: You weren't over in Germany?

Jane Lowe: No, no.

Riggins: You missed that.

Jane Lowe: I did. I had to get a piece of paper [laughs].

Riggins: Get a what?

Jane Lowe: A piece-- a degree [laughs].

Riggins: Oh right, from Chapel Hill.

Jane Lowe: Yeah.

Riggins: So you got your Bachelor of Science?

Jane Lowe: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, right.

Riggins: Was that not so common back then?

Jane Lowe: I was in the fifth, I think it was the fifth graduating class, but that was uh.. the newest baccalaureate program and it was very new, and of course the pressure on us was severe, because the first graduating class and the other four had all graduated and passed boards which, you know, you can get a piece of paper but if you don't pass the national boards you don't practice. So they put a huge amount of pressure on us in '59 there, I think the first graduating class was in '55. So it was high pressure to do well and succeed.

Riggins: Definitely. That was you said the newest baccalaureate program in the country?

Jane Lowe: And- and today, you know, it's very highly ranked, uh.. in- in the nation, and it's one of the top five nursing schools in the nation. And the research grants that they received just blew my mind, 'cause I get the- the journal from them telling me about-- it's amazing what they're doing.

Riggins: The alumni.

Jane Lowe: Yeah.

Riggins: The research grants for?

Jane Lowe: Millions and millions of dollars.

Riggins: And they study everything.

Jane Lowe: Oh they do, they do.

Riggins: They're quite investigative. So you knew you wanted a baccalaureate degree, and it would take you places.

Jane Lowe: Right, right.

Riggins: You came to Wilmington College, or it would've been UNCW?

Jane Lowe: No it was Wilmington College, there were- there's three buildings only, and in fact he had just moved from downtown, near the high school, at the time that Bill and I uhm.. moved here in s- we moved here in '64. So it had- they'd just moved here and developed those three major front buildings, and that was it.

Riggins: What was your impression of it? Being from North Carolina, had you heard of Wilmington College?

Jane Lowe: No I had-- no, but we were thrilled to- for Bill to get a job teaching German so, and I had no idea. I had just had a new baby and uhm.. So I c- we came here and I didn't intend to work, but one day I was in the grocery store and I ran into a woman who had been one of my clinical instructors at Chapel Hill, and she said "I am heading up the Associate Degree program at the university, won't you come and work for me? I need people, you can work part-time." So I hemmed and hummed about it and then I did it, so I began working half-time, only clinic-- only clinically. I- I worked, but see we were at James Walker.

Riggins: So she needed people not to teach but to work.

Jane Lowe: To work in the clinical area, and that's still teaching really. You take what they learn in the classroom and help them to use it clinically and competently, and you stand right over 'em. But [clears throat] Old James Walker was the hospital that was here before New Hanover. Old James Walker is on Red Cross Street, and it is old and dilapidated but I was the clinical instructor for every student within the whole hospital, which meant I went from critical care, to Med/Surg, to pediatrics. I didn't do any OB, I just had my babies there [laughs]. But I worked every-- and I- I was the clinical instructor for Med/Surg and critical care and pediatrics. So it meant that you did a lot o' running [laughs].

Riggins: And this was part-time?

Jane Lowe: Half-time, half-time, ah-huh. And then in about-- the State Board began to visit, of course, for accreditation, and they felt that they needed more clinical expertise, more hours, so then I went to three-quarter time. And there was another young woman who taught with me and she did some of the OB and stuff, but she was three-quarter and I was three-quarters, so we were one and a half together. But we did all the clinical at that point. Then I don't remember what year, I would say in '74, 'cause I started in '67, '74 they recommended that we go full-time. And that was by a State Board mandate, and of course the school has to be accredited and approved by the State Board, by legislature, and so we- I went full-time at that point. And from that point on began teaching in the classroom, and doing the clinical, and uhm.. began by teaching Med/Surg and the beginning course.

Riggins: So you began going full-time in '74?

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh, about '74, -- it might've been '76, but I think it was '74.

Riggins: Would you have liked to have stayed part-time if you could've?

Jane Lowe: Well my children were probably two and four at that point, and uh.. Bill and I worked out our childcare based on his schedule and my schedule. So many times he would be at home and I would go, leave and go to the hospital at six o'clock, and then he would get 'em dressed and- and the lady who took care of 'em, or either they went to kindergarten. And then I would pick 'em up and take 'em home, and feed 'em lunch and do this, put 'em down for a nap, and then he would come back home and I would go to the office, or something on that order. But it- it was a hectic schedule.

Riggins: Hectic but it sounds very modern, sounds like what happens today, probably not so much then.

Jane Lowe: [laughs] No, I- I'd probably have to have a housekeeper or a nanny today, so. But they both got chickenpox and pneumonia at the same time, I do remember that, and I kept 'em in one room with two vaporizers and the lady that stayed with 'em was Josephine. And I said "Josephine, I can't see the children in there there's so much mist and fog in the room," and it was the truth but that was the only way to get 'em over the pneumonia. So we went through some crises by my working and--

Riggins: Those children.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh.

Riggins: Children's illnesses.

Jane Lowe: Oh yes.

Riggins: And they would ask-- well, you're taking care of sick kids also.

Jane Lowe: I am, and I was just so worried I'd bring somethin' home to 'em, so I didn't. So it was all right.

Riggins: Somehow, they were tough and they got through it. So what did you start teaching in the classroom, the component?

Jane Lowe: I'm trying to remember, uh.. because of the way the curriculum was set up in the Associate Degree program, we did a semester of-- one thing a semester, so it built, the program built. So I think I m- I- I must've taught pediatrics, as I said, nobody else wanted to, and--

Riggins: Why is that?

Jane Lowe: Oh, because most people have a hard time dealing with sick children. And uhm.. I- I must've taught some neuro also because I worked the neurology unit and I loved that, and nobody liked that either, so and then urology I loved. And so I taught partly some Med/Surg and then some pediatrics, and then we called it Fundamentals at the time, uhm.. which was the beginning class where you teach 'em how to take blood pressures and so forth. So uhm.. sometimes, you know, you would teach a Fundamental course but you'd take 'em on a neurology unit with paralyzed patients, because those are the patients who need the extra wonderful nursing care. So it worked out very well.

Riggins: So it was very hands-on.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh.

Riggins: You had courses here but there was always time scheduled to go over to the hospital.

Jane Lowe: You know, I- I said to-- my student one day said to me "H- how can you expect me to know all that you assigned me to do this morning?" and I said "You've had it in class and you've been tested on it, and therefore I do expect you to know it, and to use it, and to remember it." And uh... she was somewhat befuddled by that, but your test comes with your patient primarily. A pencil and a paper test is one thing, but uhm.. the test comes when you recognize somethin' going on with your patient, and do somethin' about it.

Riggins: That is the ultimate test. What was it like here teaching the Associate's Degree program? The rest of the college had four-year degree programs for a long time. Were there rumblings about how a baccalaureate program would be starting?

Jane Lowe: Well I- I was here, uhm.. I thought I pr- I- I will say that our Associate De- Department, I think, probably was one of the best programs in the university. Uh.. we prepared uhm... people who were technically competent, able to make decisions, problem-solve. Certainly a baccalaureate program, it would have been wonderful, but the community needs at that time were not for baccalaureate prepared nurses. Uhm.. I think that grew as the university grew, and the medical field began to realize the need for-- we needed bedside practitioners, uhm.. then maybe they wanted more, maybe the physicians, you know, you have to pay baccalaureate prepared nurses probably a little more or you should on a scale. But uhm.. that was another piece, you know, they d- at that point they didn't wanna have to pay high salaries for office nurses, bedside nurses, so forth. Uhm.. So I think the need grew out, for the baccalaureate program, another later request by the medical- by the medical community, realizing that that would be the place to go because then the community college had developed here. And they started an associate degree program that was- that the problem that really drove the need for nurses was that there weren't any. And uh.. there was a program at the hospital when they finally built the new hospital, New Hanover, they paid the students to come and work in the summer, and then guaranteed them a job, or the student guaranteed they would work for 'em. So there was a severe uh.. need for bedside nurses, and as the associate degrees within the area filled in that need, then the medical community began to realize let's train them a little differently so that they can do public health, do some other. They think differently.

Riggins: And for a while there was both the associates and the baccalaureate.

Jane Lowe: Absolutely.

Riggins: For quite a long time wasn't it?

Jane Lowe: Uh.. I'd say probably two to three years it overlapped, in the-- I'm trying to remember the-- I don't know the exact years. Uh.. while they were- the baccalaureate students were taking their first two-year courses, English, Psych, Soc, Imagine the Family, and so forth. Uhm... we had to still conti- the community I would say demanded that the supply of nurses not drop off. So it meant that the university ran both programs, and we graduated c-- during those interim years we still graduated associate degree programs- nurses. I will say too that--

Riggins: It was that way for a few years.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh, and I will say I- I defend the associate degree graduates because I know they're phenomenal nurses. We uh.. gave them national accreditation tests, uh.. to prepare them to go and take State Boards. Uhm.. and they scored in the 99th percentile, the 98th percentile, which to me was pretty phenomenal. I was not smart enough to realize that at the time, but I think it proved that they could think on their feet and problem-solve and do well. And so there- that gave them confidence to go and take the State Boards and- and probably they-- our passing rate was very high, it was in the 98th percentile, 96th, for the State Board. So I think our grads were wonderful, wonderful bedside nurses. Many of them are still working, in fact some of them are retiring this year, which is kind of amazing.

Riggins: Your students?

Jane Lowe: One of my male graduates, uhm.. has retired. He was the night supervisor at New Hanover, and he has just retired. Uh.. I had a male graduate who went on to become a practitioner and works at the Black River Clinic, and he's the only n- full-time nurse as far as I know that's up there. So lots of wonderful things came from our graduates I think. One graduate who went on to Chapel Hill, and I advised her, uh.. she and her roommate, and she is one of the vice presidents at New Hanover now. So lots of good things came from our nurses. In fact, I'll tell you the feasibility study which was done to determine do we have the right setting for a baccalaureate program, do we have the numbers, is- are the demographics correct, and all of that stuff that costs thirty thousand dollars to do. And the- the woman who did the study c- from her report, came "You are already giving a baccalaureate degree, they just don't get the paper."

Riggins: You didn't want to tell the students that did you?

Jane Lowe: No they knew, 'cause they- [laughs] they knew how hard it was. Uhm.. but- but they decided-- she recommended uh.. 2 + 2, in other words to keep the associate degree program, and build two more years for the baccalaureate, on top of it, because she felt that the associate degree program was that good and that strong, and that we could build two more years of education to help them get the baccalaureate degree. But that's not what the state elected to do. So then we kept on graduating associate degree students until the students actually probably, they had to do their first two years, then they had to do their nursing two years, then they could graduate. So there was a period of three years when we had both schools running.

Riggins: I remember seeing an article in the archives in "UNCW Today." Do you remember that publication, about the last associate student in the class and I think it was '86?

Jane Lowe: That's about right I think, uh..

Riggins: Where they were offering the last associate student.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Riggins: That's quite a turning point, after this long history of a program, coming out of James Walker. When you started working, the school had been transferred over to the university from being a hospital school.

Jane Lowe: No actually it wasn't. James Walker is this- was a separate program. There were uh.. there were two other nursing programs, James Walker had one, and I don't remember this, but there was a Community Hospital that graduated nurses also, uhm.. I've met a few of them. I don't know how many of them are still living, uhm.. but they worked at New Hanover when I-- In fact, the Assistant Director of Nursing was a graduate of Community, and the Director of Nursing was a graduate of James Walker. But James Walker uhm.. Hospital-based nursing programs fell out of fashion, uhm... and the associate degrees re- you know, s- what- was what came along. Then with the demand and- and the supply, uh.. absolutely out of whack, more and more associate degree programs were developed and James Walker and Community both closed. Uhm..

Riggins: So they closed around--

Jane Lowe: They closed before, uh.. right at the end of the time that- that we began the associate degree program at Wilmington College. And the--

Riggins: So it wasn't an associate degree?

Jane Lowe: That's right. It was started as an associate degree program, I guess mainly because at that point it was a small school, and the demand for bedside nurses was so severe that the medical community demanded we do something. And then of course uhm.. as the associate degree program supplied bedside nurses, I think the wonderful thing was that they- they were good nurses, and they got uhm.. high accolades from the physicians in the community. And so when Babies Hospital closed, which was the pediatric hospital down on the beach, the trust that was set up gave, I believe it was two hundred thousand dollars, to the School of Nursing for the development of the library and moving on to the baccalaureate program. That's where our money came to build our uhm.. resources here, so.

Riggins: What was your role in that?

Jane Lowe: Well, Dr. Rosenkoetter, who was the Dean at the Baccalaureate School, uhm.. offered me a position to uh.. run their learning resource center in the School of Nursing. So I thought about it. I really wasn't sure that's what I wanted to do, but I agreed to do it and did that for three, four or five or six years, I don't know exactly the number. But I was the person who was in charge of spending that two hundred thousand dollars and it was great fun [laughs].

Riggins: I'm sure, you used some here at the library.

Jane Lowe: Yes we did.

Riggins: Was some of that used for library resources and some of it was used for the LRC?

Jane Lowe: All of it- all of it was for resources right in this building, for Randall Library. The state money I think was used as far as I know. I- I wasn't privy to the funds, but the Learning Resource Center was [clears throat] set up by funds for the School of Nursing, and we bought all of it as [clears throat] and all the-- We had a small library [clears throat], primarily with audiovisuals, where the students could learn one on one and then practice in the lab. They had books to support questions they might have. We didn't have a large library of books, but they had to do case studies and care plans, and if they were working on it and they had a question and couldn't answer it they had to have a resource to go to. So that's the library itself was computers, audiovisuals, and learning resources and computer programs, and uh.. books to support their questions if they needed to ask questions and so forth, so.

Riggins: That took some time and effort. I notice you worked with Louise Jackson here.

Jane Lowe: I did.

Riggins: And Arlene Hanerfeld.

Jane Lowe: Absolutely.

Riggins: When I started working here, it was after Louise officially retired, but she came back and did some part-time work, so I know her and what a wonderful person she is.

Jane Lowe: Oh yeah, and she and I we- I- I came in the back door quite frequently, and with my pile of cards of things to purchase. And uh.. so we whittled it down as best we could, but then we had to whittle the shelves down because National League Accreditation requires current information be on the shelves for students. So one of my jobs was to convince Ron Johnson and Louise that we needed to discard a few books, because they were not current. Now if they wanted to put 'em in a historical collection, that'd be fine, or if it were in a s- area where this could be research on the history of nursing, that was one thing. But not current medical, surgical or pediatric/OB knowledge, it had to be current.

Riggins: And they were not so sure of that.

Jane Lowe: Well, you know, librarians don't like to throw away books [laughs], so I think we boxed 'em up and shipped them to uhm..

Riggins: Another school?

Jane Lowe: Well [clears throat] actually, Dr. Rosenkoetter became involved in a nursing school down in the Bahamas [clears throat], so we shipped a lot of the books there, because they didn't have any books. So a lot of 'em went there.

Riggins: Were you involved in the classroom at this point as well?

Jane Lowe: Uh.. [clears throat], n- actually not in classroom teaching per se, but I wrote all of the study guides for the students, which they were put into each course for things they had to learn. So in some ways I think I was involved in their education. Uhm.. whether it be to explain something to them they didn't understand, or to help them learn more about it or find a resource uhm.. was my job. Uh.. but the computer. They were all terrified of computers, uh.. and they had to write their papers on them, so I spent a lot of time working with teaching them how to use the computer, writing guidelines to use it. And then they would mess up the tapes, and I would have to put pencils in 'em and rewind 'em and so forth. Or splice them, and I learned a new job.

Riggins: Sounds like it, that learning resource is still going on.

Jane Lowe: Yeah, and cataloging everything, it all had to be cataloged. And uh.. so it- it was a challenge, it was a new venture for me.

Riggins: Could you talk to any of the people here about cataloging?

Jane Lowe: No, I did my own thing. Not to get-- because we have, you know, you would have a whole assessment series, you would have a whole neurological, so it was really I had to devise something that made sense to how can we find it the- the easiest way, how do we locate it and- and use it and put it back correctly. The kids would always say "Oh Lord, she has eyes in the back of her head, she knows if one of the videos is missing," and I said "Well they're like my children." And when I developed where they sat on the shelves then I knew where they were or weren't.

Riggins: And they had a place.

Jane Lowe: [laughs] They knew it, so. But anyway, it was a different-- I missed uhm.. I didn't miss student contact because they were there, and at the same time I was a general college advisor, so I continued doing a lot of that work. So I- I was not out of student contact, but I wasn't in the classroom specifically teaching. I did sit in as we developed the curriculum and helped write the curriculum. In fact, Dr. Rosenkoetter required that in order for us to be able to pass for NLN accreditation, every one of us needed to know the curriculum backwards and forwards. So we ate it, as we all said, and we developed it ourselves, wrote it, redid it, uh..

Riggins: This is the baccalaureate?

Jane Lowe: Right, as we developed the curriculum it had to be done as the same time that we were still teaching associate degrees. We were writing curriculum, so it was long hours, but I think it paid off, yeah.

Riggins: It sounds like it was certainly a busy time. Who are some of the people who were influential while you were there that you taught with or worked alongside?

Jane Lowe: Well, I'd try- as I think [clears throat], interestingly enough one of the great people was the- the person who became a director of the school- of the associate degree program, Nancy Haddock. And Nancy is- hasn't for years, not been in nursing, but she's the director of the Child Development Center, which is a Special Education component. Uhm.. which I loved. I have great respect for her because in p- as we taught pediatrics, one of the facets we had to cover all childhood development. So we sent our students for two weeks out of their clinical planning for pediatrics, we sent 'em to Child Development, Cerebral Palsy, Kindergarten for the Blind, Wesley Memorial, normal kindergarten, and Juvenile Court. So I have great respect for Child Development because I know what they do there, and that's where Nancy is and Nancy was a dynamic force in the associate degree program. As were lots of other people.

Riggins: How do you spell her last name?

Jane Lowe: H-A-D-D-O-C-K, and she is in town-- and she could probably fill you in with lots of information [laughs], but that is her job uh.. today.

Riggins: Well, I don't know if you've heard anything about this, but some of my colleagues have been involved with a history of James Walker Hospital and Community Hospital. And during this time they conducted oral histories, like me, I'm doing right now, of some of the students, some of the nurses who worked there, the graduates of the programs and the faculty. And during this time they have interviewed a couple of the faculty. I'm focusing on UNCW faculty, so that would include professors and nursing at UNCW, but they have talked to some of the teachers from back then, Mary Alice Whitfield.

Jane Lowe: Oh yes, Mary Alice taught OB, and I- I've lost track of Mary Alice, uh.. She was a wonderfully sweet person, very kind, and great to teach OB I think. Uhm.. she-- and Dorothy Dickson was the original director, uh.. of the associate degree program. And the faculty nurse Dorothy is- she died with a lung malignancy, she smoked and that was not good. So she was the first director, then uh.. Nancy Gillem, who is in Chapel Hill now. And Na- Nancy taught at the School of Nursing in Chapel Hill but not in my time. Uhm.. and Louetta Boo, who--

Riggins: Louetta.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh was the lady- the lady that got me to come and teach, who did some clinical work with me at Chapel Hill.

Riggins: She's the one who saw you in the grocery store?

Jane Lowe: Right.

Riggins: And she passed away a few years ago. She was over 100.

Jane Lowe: Yes, she did. And she was a pistol, I must say. She told some funny stories, she ran a tight ship. But she taught-- but she was an ex-army nurse, and she talked about one of the times that when she was, I don't know where she was, but they had a terrible breakout- break of gastrointestinal problems within the troops. And so they were administering morphine to the troops to keep them calm and quiet and sedated. So how did they determine whom they'd given morphine to, when you're just walking down the aisles of cots? They took their lipstick out of their pocket and marked their foreheads so that they knew which patient had had it. And then everybody had a different color, so they knew how long ago it was since they had given it to-- it was phenomenal. So she was a- a wonderful lady.

Riggins: She was organized. So they determined a color for a certain time?

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh, ah-huh.

Riggins: You make do.

Jane Lowe: You have to [clears throat] when you've got, you know, a thousand men having dysentery you don't mess around with "I've got to chart it on a piece o' paper."

Riggins: So primitive conditions.

Jane Lowe: Yeah.

Riggins: You have to be perfectly sanitary.

Jane Lowe: Absolutely.

Riggins: You take out the lipstick.

Jane Lowe: You take out the lipstick and mark their forehead. So she to- told that story and the students respected her, she de- she ran a tight ship. So we had a good-- but I think Nancy was probably the last director of the program, but she was more current, my age, and so uhm.. I think she did a phenom-- and she taught at the same time, she--

Riggins: Nancy was a director of the associate degree?

Jane Lowe: Of the associate degree, uhm.. in the last few-- and Louetta was, Dorothy was, and Nancy Gillem. And so you've got five names of people, Mary Alice taught, and Tania Barfield and I taught together, did the clinical.

Riggins: And your colleagues.

Jane Lowe: Right. Tania and I were the three force times that were equal to one and a half together, in the clinical, yeah.

Riggins: You and Tania both started at the same time.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh, we were both half-time, then we were three-quarter time, and then we went full-time.

Riggins: Were you a James Walker employee?

Jane Lowe: No I was employed by the- the UNC, or the-- we call it UNC-- what- whatever we-- Wilmington College, yeah. And made a miniscule salary, I will say that [laughs]. I- we all laugh because we remembered uhm.. the salary we made when we started. And when Dr. Rosenkoetter came in the baccalaureate program it got cranked up. We did get a little increase in our salary, which we were very thankful for, I'll put it that way, put it that way.

Riggins: Also someone who remains very busy, Doretha--

Jane Lowe: Stone, Doretha. Doretha came on board uhm.. I don't know the year, but we needed another person to teach pediatrics with me, and I had done-- She was at that time the head nurse of the pediatric unit at New Hanover. She came from NIH, so she had a wonderful background. Uhm.. and so they said "Who do you think we should ask?" and I said "Well, I would recommend we see if Doretha Stone would come and join us." So she agreed to do that, and she and I taught together.

Riggins: Where was she working at the time?

Jane Lowe: She was working at New Hanover as head nurse at the pediatric unit. So she came on board and taught uhm.. pediatrics, and then she generally taught the- the parallel to whatever I taught. We would teach the beginning class and then we'd go into a very difficult semester in which you'd divide the semester in two, and it was the gr- it was the kids that would be graduating. So we went from the beginning student in the first semester, to the graduating student, and we divided the semester in two. And they had seven weeks of OB and seven weeks of pediatrics. It's pretty hard to teach a full course in seven weeks and do the clinical, and we sent 'em to all those kindergartens. And I- I never will forget sending them to Juvenile Court, which I think is an eye-opener, because we were trying to cover all the growth and development from birth through to eighteen.

Riggins: What would they do at the Juvenile Court?

Jane Lowe: Oh they'd listen, and then they had to write a report. Uhm.. what they did with all of these was to focus on growth and development in the normal-- did they see the normal or did they see the abnormal, and give me some rationale of why. So they had to learn to really be pretty graphic about their study, and- and try to remember. I had a student who said to me "Miss Lowe, I don't agree with your answer on that question of what a two-year-old does at a certain time, my child did it at eighteen months." And I said to them "Well let me advise you, Diane, that when you go to Boards and you receive that same question, that you answer it the way I answered it, not the way you answered it," because they had to learn normal growth and development. That's as important in caring for a child, their nutrition, their growth and development, their play, they had to learn all of that. So it wasn't just learning diseases and uh.. and caring for the c- child, it was learning what they were about and what to expect of that child in that age group. And we kept flowcharts, and we assigned students as best we could, to every age group so that they were required to know the growth and development, the play and the nutrition of every age group, so that when they left and took Boards they passed 'em well. And they would say to me "I got this question on Boards and I heard you talking to me," because we drilled it into their heads, they had to know it, they didn't just have to learn what was wrong with the child, they had to also look at the normal child and be able to compare that child. So they learned a lot.

Riggins: That's the normal way things would go.

Jane Lowe: Right.

Riggins: Because if you're going to work in neonatal, did that come up?

Jane Lowe: Neonatal went with OB, so we didn't-- I said I took care of 'em when they left the neonatal nursery. Uhm.. and we had many babies. I would say that pediatrics at New Hanover was phenomenal, and that's why Doretha and I split the unit. She would take half the students and I would take half the students, because we had a thirty-six bed unit, and we probably gave each of them two patients. So we- we covered the unit, we took all the patients primarily, uh.. and we had a lot of abnormals, we had many cleft lips, cleft pallets, malomeningococcals, hydrocephalics. We had some SIDS and abuse, and uh.. We had a- a lot of different things. Uh..

Riggins: Was pediatrics up on the top floor?

Jane Lowe: No it was not, it was on the second floor. But Doretha and I, she will laugh and tell you. The students called us the Oreo Cookies, because she's black and I'm white, and they can never get away from us. They would say "Oh Lord, we hid in the linen closet, and get away from one of 'em and the other one showed up." So Doretha and I worked together very well, and she- she was a wonderful teacher, uhm.. great expertise in her background. So I fell into pediatrics, she grew into it, so I had to grow [laughs], let's put it that way.

Riggins: That's so often the great way to contribute a lot to a field, I fell into oral history.

Jane Lowe: Well Doretha will give you a wonderful perspective of uh.. of- of nursing and- and teaching here, and all that she did. And she went on into the baccalaureate program and taught there. Uhm.. so she'll be a wonderful person for you to interview.

Riggins: What was your involvement with the hospital, did you continue to work there some, do clinic work?

Jane Lowe: After uhm.. I left here uh.. for a while in '92-- '93, '92 I had a hypertensive crisis and some difficulty, so my doctor said "You know, you really need to change jobs." So I waited around and went and found out that they had an opening at New Hanover for someone to orient all the nursing staff. So I applied for that. Nancy at that point had gone on and become Director of Nurses at New Hanover, Nancy Haddock. Uhm.. so in the interim, she left the school and went to the hospital as Director of Nurses, so I interviewed not with Nancy but with uh.. Donald Balls too. He's now Director of Nurses at Cape Fear, uhm.. and took that position from '93 to '96. I worked at New Hanover and oriented RNs, you know, everybody who came, CNAs. We started up the Coastal Rehab, we oriented everybody to that and cranked them up, they- they started running in that interim. We also developed uhm.. because again, we were back to a nursing shortage, you know, that cyclic clock, I mean we're in it again. Uhm.. so what we devised was that we would take CNAs from agencies in town, and we would train them, uh.. orient them to being a CNA here at New Hanover, not working for that agency, so that they could be on an on-call list. If there was a dire shortage one evening on a unit, they could pick up the phone and call. So we implemented that program and I can't remember, I think we trained maybe twenty CNAs, uhm.. to be able to function at New Hanover if they got a call.

Riggins: There was a need for CNAs?

Jane Lowe: Absolutely, they had to have people to do bedside care. So-- so there were no nurses, and very few nurses that, I mean, were spread very thin. So we implemented that program and we uh.. we did it interviewed uh.. orient all of the nurses, CNAs, LPNs, that opened up Coastal Rehab, and we got-- In fact, one of our associate degree grads was the director of that unit, again somebody by the name of Joncie Davis. She was Joncie Daniels Davis. Uhm.. she met- I think she's still at the hospital, still at New Hanover, but she headed up that whole unit, uh.. whole building opening up. So we did that. But in '96 I decided-- well in fact, it was before '96, because uhm.. they had asked me to come back and work part-time here, to do some testing and guidance with students, which I had kind of started before I left here. So I came back and we worked part-time. It was a- a agreement between the hospital New Hanover, and the university, that I would come back, mainly because I was working with kids that they would be hiring, to assure that they had- they could pass Boards. Again, you can get a piece of paper but if you don't pass Boards you- you can't be hired to be an RN. So I worked part-time here and part-time at New Hanover for a while.

Riggins: Were they current students?

Jane Lowe: Current students who were seniors, who had begun to take the National League for Nursing standardized tests, uhm.. which were given throughout the curriculum. As they finished that curriculum, we'd give 'em the test, and then it comes back. It's scored against national standards, all the rest of the kids who take it in the nation who are baccalaureate students, and it's scored against associate degree also. So I came back and worked part-time here, and part-time at New Hanover orienting, uhm.. and began to look at and compile information for each student, uh.. on their testing and their weaknesses, and what I would suggest they do and develop a learning contract with them. So--

Riggins: But you told it like it was-- you said "You need to work on this."

Jane Lowe: I did, and they- they would- weren't really happy with me, but there were some who said "Miss Lowe, you've taught me how to study. I wasn't studying correctly, I was memorizing." And my theory on nursing is that you- your education is an inverse triangle. The bottom brick in that triangle is the foundation for the rest of what you've learned. So if there's a block of information that you didn't do anything to learn, then that whole area of the wall is gonna be weak. So I- I tried to help 'em understand how to study, what to study, where their weaknesses were, and you could do that, uhm.. based on all the information that was coming out of uh.. National League and State Board. So I did that and then in '96 managed care had cranked its head up, has come from California to North Carolina, and I realized I had gotten it worked out in New Hanover. We'd have an orientation a month, you'd have one they'd learn how to do the computers and the pharmacy and everything else, and they worked with one mentor for four weeks. A new graduate, or even an old graduate in a new hospital, needs that continuity to give themselves confidence.

Riggins: And to feel more like sticking around.

Jane Lowe: Right, and, you know, it cost-- and I remember Nancy Haddock telling me that it cost ten thousand dollars to orient a new nurse. Well, when they weren't happy and they felt insecure and they made mistakes, then they left. So I'd work really hard to be sure that these students, along with the educators for the unit, to give 'em solid role models to work with, a staff member. To- and be sure that their orientation was thorough, and they felt comfortable when they went out on their own. Well, when managed care came I realized we were gonna head right back to twice a month, no continuity, and I just didn't wanna do that. So I told my boss at that time, Cathy Heli, that I would be leaving, and I would not be com-- "Well why are you doing that?" And I said- I told 'em why, I said "It's uh.. too important to them to really get a good orientation and feel good about themselves." And I mean we had new grads, but we also had grads who had worked twenty and thirty years, but it's still important for them to feel comfortable where they are.

Riggins: And also like a professional, they are professionals, and to get that development.

Jane Lowe: And they had to pass a math test to be sure that they could give 'em medicines correctly. Uhm.. so I did a lot of tutoring in relation to that and did a study sheet for that and helped 'em with that. So there were lots of things that I felt had improved.

Riggins: But you could tell it was going to be cut.

Jane Lowe: And it has, it's gone back, because the bottom line is the dollar bill. So then I came back here and worked, and did the- the tutorial component, uhm..

Riggins: Continued with the prepping.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh, ah-huh. So I did that until I retired, and at that point I just decided that I- my husband was retiring and I needed to too. So I- I did, and I- I miss the student contact, uhm.. I think they keep you young, uh.. and they keep you moving fast. I had a student one time, in the associate degree program, he was a male, and he said to me, we were going to give some medicine. I said to this person, "You know, you're late giving this," and he said "I've just been so busy and you're walking so fast that I can't keep up with you," and I said to him "Well blink, if you don't learn to walk faster and move faster your patient will be dead before you get to him." You know, it's just being a normal human being but pushing a student all the time to reach higher, and that's what I said to him. If I don't push you to reach higher you never will.

Riggins: You set high standards.

Jane Lowe: I did. Well I made them, you know, we had something called pre-conference, and they were assigned their patient the day before, and they had all the information. And we also went through a phase where they would come to the hospital and we would make their assignments and they would read the charts and see the patient, and then come the next morning to do care. Uhm.. I always had to go thirty minutes early to be sure that nothing had happened overnight, that the student needed to be astutely aware of anything that might have occurred, and I needed to know it before they did. But we had a pre-conference, and so at that point they were to prove to me that they knew enough to go care for this person, particularly if it's a child or a paralyzed individual, and in neuro they were paralyzed. Uhm... so they were- they tell me that their knees shook so, because I kept asking 'em and "What if, and what if, and what else do you know?" So, but the funny thing that happened was the one day that the students said "I just was bored to tears today." And the next week I found a patient that was very challenging for them, let's put it that way. And the other students said "Well that'll teach you to open your mouth and tell 'em that you were bored, boy have you got it today." [laughs] So, you just try to stay-- you- you want to stay ahead of them and you want to challenge them, and you want to make 'em learn to think, because I said to them "I'm not gonna be standing looking over your shoulder, telling you that's the wrong amount of medicine, telling you 'No, that's not right,' did they observe certain things in their child or their patient? I'm not gonna be there and you've got to be able to do it without a book."

Riggins: And so laying it down and saying I know you can do it but I'm not going to cut you any slack, I think that raises their confidence.

Jane Lowe: Well we also had another-- Miss Stone and I, when we wrote the curriculum for peds, like that seven-week course, we said uhm.. "You are in writing given a week's worth of clinical cuts. Now, the reason you're given them is because you're going to get sick, you work peds, you're not used to their germs, you're gonna get it. If you take your cuts and then you get sick, you fail the course, because you will have overcut the clinical, and you need every minute." And, you know, here they're rotating out for two weeks to the kindergartens, and they have four weeks for us to get them knowledgeable and how to care for any age group child. So we said if you miss a week because you have gastroenteritis or otitis media or a strep throat--

Riggins: Otitis media?

Jane Lowe: Oh yes, yes, those are all normal things that we're gonna see, and you're gonna get it. And they come back and they said "Oh, you were right." [laughs] So we were pretty strict and stringent, but remember they were graduating. But the interesting thing about it is that a high percentage of the students who graduated that semester wanted to work OB and peds. [crew talk]

Riggins: Mrs. Jane Lowe, my name is Adina Riggins, Senior University Archivist. This is tape two. This is tape two. I'm repeating myself because I'm not sure the tape picked this up. I'm back with Mrs. Jane Lowe. This is May 31, 2006. We're picking up with discussion of your career here in the School of Nursing as a teacher and also working in the community, in the hospital with students who had come over there. Like we were just saying in the break, your ties with the students really helped with your work over at New Hanover.

Jane Lowe: It really- yeah, it really did.

Riggins: So we talked some about your involvement with the associates degree program, writing the curriculum for peds, working with Ms. Doretha Stone, who I think says she'll come and see me in June on a certain date.

Jane Lowe: Good. She's very busy. She has her own business.

Riggins: Okay, I was going to ask what is she doing now because she gave a date in June after a certain amount of time.

Jane Lowe: Well I- I have not seen Doretha. I ran into her, I think, at Sam's one day. Uhm.. she was traveling so but she- while she was still at the university got a- a grant to start a business down on Fourth Street. And uhm.. it- it's for- she hires nursing staff of all levels, I am assuming, to care for people who can't afford to. So it's through a grant. So I think that's- I think- I don't know whether she's still involved in it. She may have, you know, phased it out and let her son take over, I don't know.

Riggins: Well, it sounds like she's still awfully busy. She said, "I can talk to you after June 13," or something like that. So I look forward to that. I know she retired in, I believe, 2002 after twenty-some years of service. You retired in 1999.

Jane Lowe: After 30 years. I bought- I bought back a few years so I would have full-time, you know. And I worked that half-time through- I- I bought back some time too.

Riggins: Nowadays you can count half-time towards retirement.

Jane Lowe: Oh, that's good to know.

Riggins: You can compile it. I don't think you have to, because my mother works for the state. It's not the same thing.

Jane Lowe: Well, it's well- it's well worth uhm.. buying it back for the- for the health benefits if nothing else, which you know are- are very important.

Riggins: Well, I was going to ask you about what you've done in retirement but before that, I want to ask, did you get to know anyone in social work while you were here?

Jane Lowe: Right. Dr. Rosenkoetter was involved with the sociology department in hel- in, I think, developing the gerontology program. And I believe that I saw in the paper that they were gonna have some uh..- a degree in gerontology and nursing and so forth. But that started uhm.. probably after I had been- I'm not sure, maybe the last year that I was here, '92 or so, I'm not sure which year. But it seems to me that uhm.. Ellie Covan and Dr. Rosenkoetter worked together on developing that. Uhm.. but- but then I left and went to New Hanover, so I was not heavily involved in the social work component of it.

Riggins: You said you had a-enjoyed working in neurology.

Jane Lowe: I loved neuro- neuro, it- very intense. Uhm.. it's the teaching them- you know, you're working with people on- who are paralyzed from their neck or their waist down, they're on striker frames and- and they can't do a thing for themselves. And I would take the beginning students there after- they had to give bed baths and blood pressures, what better place to have a student who that's all they focused on was making the patient comfortable and giving them good care? So uhm.. generally some of the students who were a little more difficult in- in- as far as uhm.. Sometimes they didn't come prepared for other faculty, so they'd say "Jane, we think you need to take blankety-blank because she needs some help." So then they'd come to neuro and say, "Oh, I hate this." And I'm sure they dreaded it. But they learned how to do what they were supposed to do. You know, you're t- you're training somebody that's gonna take care of other people and they've got to be competent. So, it was important that- and it's those faculty members who said, "I can't do a thing with her. She won't pay any attention, she won't study, she won't do it." And I said, "Well okay, I'll take her on neuro." So we'd go to neuro and.. Well, I guess the- some of 'em graduate so I guess they changed.

[break in audio]

Riggins: ..I mean, somebody has to do something, it's not like these patients can.

Jane Lowe: They can't do it for themselves.

Riggins: Right. So did you have interaction with some doctors when you were working on the associates degree program?

Jane Lowe: Uhm.. yeah. We- we did. We laughed, Ms. Barfield might tell you and Ms. Stone might tell you, but I particularly remember uh.. when we worked peds and- and I'm sure you don't know Dr. Ed Wells, who was the plastic surgeon in town. He's deceased now, but he did all the cleft lip, cleft pallets. Wonderful, wonderful surgeon but very gruff and loved to talk down and ugly to you. Just say these are terrible students, you all are messing 'em up, they're.. but he- he would do all the cleft lip and cleft pallets and then he would come to the unit and take out their sutures. And we've laughed about Dr. Wells, who had this one pair of scissors in his pocket that he carried and pulled out and took out- everybody's sutures out with, and we'd just shake our heads, you know. But he was gruff and stern, but he was a wonderful surgeon and the kids loved him. And- and he taught 'em a lot. So, I remember doctor..

Riggins: [Inaudible]

Jane Lowe: Oh yeah, and give him a hard time. And we had Dr. Tom Craven, who is retired now. And Tom you could always tell- you tell the students now just be prepared, you're gonna make the bed and he's gonna come in and draw all over it. He was an orthopedic surgeon and sure enough, so that the patient understood it, or the student, he would draw on the sheet with his ballpoint pen exactly.

Riggins: No way.

Jane Lowe: Yes, he would too. Everything he'd done, everything he'd done.

Riggins: You mean like the procedure.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh, so they'd understand.

Riggins: That was his lecture. Did anyone think to get him some paper?

Jane Lowe: No. No, he- he went from bed to bed doing it. So paper- you know, you lose paper and you can take your sheet with you. So it was funny.

Riggins: It got people's attention.

Jane Lowe: It did. It did.

Riggins: What about Babies Hospital? What was your involvement?

Jane Lowe: Well i- interestingly, I- I- Babies closed and gave the money. But as a young Junior League person in my earlier years, uhm.. a friend of mine and I uhm.. sh- her daughter was- our god daughter and her daughter developed leukemia. So she died, and my friend and I started the uh.. volunteer services down at Babies Hospital. And she painted all the walls with caricatures, and we ran the car around and sold toys and goodies and so forth. So my association was- maybe that's where my interest in pediatrics started, uh.. we did that for three or four years. Course it's torn down now, they're gonna be condominiums built on top of it.

Riggins: That's interesting, you stayed involved.

Jane Lowe: Right, I stayed- I- right. I was involved, and once you get in the Junior League then you have to do a project, community project. So uhm.. I did that and I chaired the follies and chaired the ways and means and the bargain sales and- and worked at the same time.

Riggins: And had a family.

Jane Lowe: And had a family, I did. And moved all within the same neighborhood. I stayed within several blocks of where I lived. But it was busy and it was fun and then my children- I started work on a Masters degree uhm.. after Dr. Rosenkoetter came, took a couple of courses, but my children were teenagers at that time. Uhm.. my daughter was going to Carolina and my son was applying for a service academy. Uhm.. and I have lung disease, so I just said to Dr. Rosenkoetter, "I'm very sorry, I cannot continue," because- what I could take on campus here I would take. Then they started traveling to Greenville, and I said I cannot raise two children, get a son in a service academy, get a daughter off to college, uh.. take care of my own health, be course coordinator for both semesters, which I was, and that was like whatever you wanna call it, who- who got everything done -- testing, just was in charge of everything. And I said "I can't do it, Rosenkoetter. It's just physically I can't be on the road at 1 o'clock in the morning when I have to get up at 6 and go to the hospital with, you know, students and- and I can't do it." So, I- I did not do that. But I stayed busy. And my son went to the Air Force Academy and graduated and my daughter got a Masters in speech pathology from UVA, so I feel like I've accomplished their degrees. He has an MBA in business and she has a- a Master's degree in speech and hearing and is getting a second one. So maybe that..

Riggins: In education, right?

Jane Lowe: Right.

Riggins: So she's staying with both health and education.

Jane Lowe: Well, she is- she wanted to do special ed, and she took a couple of courses here in the summer. At that point, again, like nursing and the glut and the demand and the need, uhm.. They said to Whitney "You won't be able to get a job in special education if you get the degree, there are too many, at that point." So she decided she would do speech. Well now, she's teaching and doing speech and hearing so she's again, like I did, got the best of both worlds. So..

Riggins: That is a parallel. I remember your husband mentioned that she was doing well.

Jane Lowe: Right. Well it's- it's- as I said, it'll keep you young and it'll keep you thinking.

Riggins: It's hard to do everything and it's not like you can cut back on your job.

Jane Lowe: I couldn't. I mean, there was nobody else that was gonna do what I was at that point assigned to do. Uhm.. so I- I had to give up what I could give up in order to do the rest of the work that had to be- and to get your child in the service academy is not an easy thing to do.

Riggins: What's involved with that?

Jane Lowe: Oh, paperwork beyond belief. I mean, he applied to a lot of other places but he applied to Annapolis and he was accepted at Annapolis and Air Force. He was a swimmer. So I was also going to swim meets at least once or twice a month out of Wilmington. We burned up one set of tires every semester running to..

Riggins: And lots of gasoline.

Jane Lowe: Right. And Dr. Hosier, who's the provost here, son- older son, swam with us so we all traveled together and went to swim meets from Winston-Salem on down. It's very lonely at midnight, too, coming back to down the road when the deers run out in front of your car.

Riggins: Well, there's just so much you can do.

Jane Lowe: Well, I just stayed busy, we'll put it that way.

Riggins: Yeah, definitely. And let's talk about what you've been doing since retirement. I asked the same thing of Bill. What has been keeping you busy? I understand you had some health problems in your family and your husband, when he retired, he had some health problems.

Jane Lowe: He did. He had his coronary uh.. two months after he retired.

Riggins: So he said working must have been good for him.

Jane Lowe: I assume so [laughs]. Well, I got him through that and then he had a TIA a month later based, I think, because they took him off some of the medicine too early. But anyway, so we did- I have been heavily involved in uhm.. - I don't know if you know about Stephen Ministry. It is an interdenominational uhm.. and- and it's- and it's across all continents. Uhm.. it's a Christian caring ministry and uh.. there's 50 hours of training involved with it. So, a friend at church asked Ms. Barfield and I and one other person to go to training for it and that was in '99 or '98- '98. So, I went to Orlando and for a weekend was trained. Uhm.. It's across all the world. There're uhm.. over uh.. 4 thous- 400,000 trained Stephen Ministers who've cared for over a million people. Uh.. and what you do is you- you have to apply and you're interviewed, and then once you're accepted it's uhm..- it's one class a week, 2-1/2 hours, for 20 weeks. It's 50 hours of training. And it- the training relates to how to listen actively and carefully, how to accept a person, whether- non-judgmentally, whether you agree with what they're doing or not, uhm.. how they feel, how to empathize and not sympathize, how to talk over the phone and hear what you need to hear, suicide, grieving, death, long-term hospitalization, and terminal illness. So, I have been active and done most of the teaching in that. And we've done five separate classes since '90 uh.. 9. Uh.. it's- it takes a lotta time.

Riggins: Are the students volunteers or are they professionals?

Jane Lowe: They are n- neither. They are members of the church who apply. Uh.. it is a calling. It is a caring ministry. You- but you're not. That's what we're not. We're not counselors and we're not therapists. And we don't give answers. We don't fix it. The most thing we have to do is to listen and care and guide that person to make their own decisions, whatever that might be. Now, when it comes to suicide, if they're endangering themselves or others we know what to do. But uh.. we've- we've trained probably 30, 35 people and the last uh.. two classes- we're getting- they're getting ready to start- I'm on a sabbatical from that right now, getting ready to start a- another class in the fall. But the last two we decided- we were asked by other churches, many chur- I mean you have Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, all churches in- it's interdenominational and it is worldwide. When we went to training there was 600 people at this training -- two ballrooms -- from Germany, China, Japan, Canada, all over the world. Uhm.. so we have been asked by Methodist churches to- because they have small numbers of people to train, uh... could they join us. Well, the home office was not real happy about it but we thought we'd try it anyway. So we did it with great success. Uh.. and then this past time we joined into the Presbyterian and the Baptist Church, and I think there will be more churches in the fall and this next class.

But it takes a full five months for the classes. And then the students or the trainees meet once a month, they have continuing ed, they have their care receiver that they meet with probably once a week. So it's a long-term involvement thing. So I've been actively involved in that and uh.. did most of the training and uh.. kind of led the group for a few years, but I've taken a sabbatical from that. So..

Riggins: Yes, that sounds so busy. I don't know when you sleep.

Jane Lowe: Well, I don't do much sleeping, my husband will tell you that. I- I'm not a sleeper. I'm not a- a- one who sleeps a lot. I listen to talk radio most nights for some reason. That seems to lull me to sleep sometimes. But I- I also uhm.. sing and I haven't been singing as much 'cause I had thyroidectomy and kind of it makes me hoarse like I am today. But uh.. I've been active in our church in the choir there and served on their call committee for a new organist and choir member- choir director. So, we had that in place and I felt like I needed to stick around for a little bit uh.. until things got going well. So, I sing some, not a whole lot.

Riggins: With the Stephen's Ministry, do people do the meeting with folks in your churches or go back to their church?

Jane Lowe: What we set up was that if we train together four churches, that your home church is responsible for talking with the person from their church, doing their application, getting them here, s- talking with them during the five months of training to be sure everything's goin-. And then we have a commissioning at the end of it, and then they will go back to their home church and be in their own groups and be assigned from their own church. Although at this point..

Riggins: Do you get together after that to kind of..?

Jane Lowe: We have had some get-togethers. In fact, uh.. this fall we had a continuing education program and asked the people from the other churches that we train with to come. So it was like oh, a reunion, you know, Old Home Week to get to see them and hear how well they're doing.

Riggins: Is Ms. Stone involved?

Jane Lowe: No. Just Ms. Barfield is- and I are both takin' a leave uh.. for a while. She's got grandchildren, three or four of 'em. And so I have just uh..- our son just remarried in October so I have inherited two more. So I have four grandchildren to kind of keep up with, so you go from phase to phase.

Riggins: Yes, sounds like it. It sounds like a plan. I'd like to thank you for coming here.

Jane Lowe: Well, I'm glad to do it.

Riggins: Any closing thoughts? Sounds like you've got a lot of memories. I really appreciate, I learned a lot about the nursing school, the associates degree program, clinical instruction.

Jane Lowe: Somebody you need to talk with who was the secretary for the program was Ma- is Mary Westbrook, if you haven't gotten her name. She called me a couple of months ago because we're now beginning to see some of our graduates uh.. dying, so she called me about a particular one. But Mary was instrumental. And she worked not only in the associate degree program, but she also moved over, I think, to political science or psychology I'm not sure. But she's retired now. But she could tell you lots of uhm..

Riggins: I think it's great to interview the administrative staff. They always know so much.

Jane Lowe: Well, Mary knows a lot, and she was kind and wonderful and typed up all the tests and the syllabus and probably knew more what was going on than we knew. But uhm.. there are lots of wonderful people. Allen Gray, you mentioned earlier and you really need to talk with him because he is- he is an icon in the history of the School of Nursing, baccalaureate particularly. He may have taught with us for a while but I'm not- I don't remember really whether he taught uhm..-- a- and he taught so many different things in the baccalaureate program. And he taught the research course, and he did all the RN- we called it RN Access because it's the RNs who are working who'd come back to get their baccalaureate. Uh.. and then, of course, I was here briefly for the Master's program getting started, but I think I left before they had any graduates. So, I hope it- I hope it works out very well.

Riggins: And the new building. It sounds like there should be one but we're still waiting.

Jane Lowe: Right, waiting to see.

Riggins: Was Virginia Adams here?

Jane Lowe: Yeah. Virginia came in uhm.. after Dr. Rosenkoetter left. Well, not after she left because Dr. Rosenkoetter stayed on top for a couple of years and then left and went to Georgia. Uhm.. yeah, Virginia came in. In fact, we were in the interviews when she- another person you need to interview- just thinking of, we were in the interviews for the new deann.. But another person you need to interview is Mima Horne. And she is Mrs. Daniel Horne. She- her husband was the librarian downtown, has died in the last couple of years. And Mima taught here for a while. Then she was adjunct faculty and would come back and teach. She did work at New Hanover in a lot of different positions. She's a critical care nurse. She taught all the endocrine stuff and fluid electrolytes, heavy stuff. Excellent, excellent. But she would give you lots of a- and I'm not sure if she's working at the hospital now. I saw her several months ago and she's not well. She's been through an awful lot with her husband's death and so she said- I think she was taking a leave at that point. So you- if you look under Mrs. Daniel Horne, H-O-R-N-E, uhm.. you- you might be able to get her on the phone. But she would be a wonderful resource. She was a real uhm..- they're just not- our faculty was wonderful.

Riggins: Well it sounds like it. I think every program now is so dependent on its beginnings and the excellence now it really reflects..

Jane Lowe: Well, and I think- I hope- I don't know how many but some of our ADN graduates will come back uhm.. to get their baccalaureate degree. I think it is gonna take a while because Dr. Rosenkoetter scared 'em off. Uhm.. and- and, I don't know, they were frightened and they didn't feel worthy, so it took 'em a long while to begin to realize that they could come back and do it. And I don't know how many are coming back at this point. Uhm.. but I think more of them are and I've sent notes to several of 'em who've graduated. It was wonderful when I had my thyroidectomy and there were seven of 'em in the ambulatory, surgery recovery area that came to..

Riggins: Just working there.

Jane Lowe: Ah-huh. And so it was very nice. I said it's- it's heartwarming to know there's some good bedside nurses out there still.

Riggins: That's the truth. I'd like to end on that.

Jane Lowe: Good.

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