After graduating from Adelphi’s School of Nursing in 1947, Ann Callahan-Dick knew she had found her niche. “I particularly loved bedside nursing,” she recalls. “I was a people person; I liked being around people and loved making them smile.” In 1949, Mrs. Callahan-Dick relocated to Washington, DC, beginning her nursing career at Georgetown Hospital. After marriage, she and her husband moved to Texas, where Mrs. Callahan-Dick worked at Hermann Hospital. She continued to work until the week before her first daughter was born.
Eventually Mrs. Callahan-Dick returned to New York, with her four children from her first marriage. She remarried and later, she and her husband moved into their home in Oyster Bay, Long Island with five more children. Over the years, Mrs. Callahan-Dick raised nine children while managing a very busy household. Her husband was a pediatrician with two busy offices, one of which was in their home. His patients loved coming to their home office since there were lots of the Dick children to play with, and also lots of animals to play with!
With nine children and 21 grandchildren, Mrs. Callahan-Dick loves hosting family parties. When she was not busy renovating her house, Mrs. Callahan-Dick and her husband loved to travel. They have been to Russia, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Cuba, and several European countries where they often attended pediatric meetings. Unfortunately her husband passed away in 2006. Mrs. Callahan-Dick remains involved in her community.
When and why did you want to become a nurse?
I grew up in the world of medicine; I came from a family of doctors. I used to go with my father to the hospital or to make house calls, and I was often referred to as “little doc.” When my father passed away, I moved in with my Uncle Jay, also a doctor, who lived on the grounds of the Nassau County Tuberculosis Sanatorium as the Superintendent. He also sat on the board at Adelphi, which is how I first became familiar with Adelphi’s School of Nursing.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
While living in the dorms, I remember walking downstairs one morning to find a whole table filled with our nursing uniforms. We all felt so proud wearing our uniforms that first day.
Ours was the first class to move into the brand new dorms. During the orientation week we spent there, we were visited by a hurricane! We took shifts, mopping up where the rain and wind blew through the walls!
I remember being in the cafeteria, standing on the stairs, and singing as we waited for dinner.
I have a memory of Mildred Montag that really captures the kind of administrator she was. I was in the bookstore when she called me by name and asked if I was there to register for the Spring 1947 term! I said that I hadn’t even finished nursing school yet! She said to never mind that, I needed six more credits to graduate, and told me to go register for the necessary courses. Mind you, Mildred Montag had hundreds of students in her school, yet she knew my name, the exact number of credits I needed, and she made sure I went downstairs that very moment to take care of my schedule.
During my residency at Nassau Hospital (now Winthrop University Hospital), I remember overhearing someone from social services giving a tour as I walked down the hall. The tour guide said, “We have the best nurses here. For example, that young nurse right there may have the weight of the world on her shoulders when she comes to work, but when she walks out of the elevator, she has a smile on her face for the patients.”