Registered Nurse, Professor Emerita, Adelphi University School of Nursing
Elaine Wittman graduated from Adelphi University’s School of Nursing in 1952. That same year, she was honored with the Nassau County Medical Society Award for Proficiency in Nursing. From 1952 to 1953, she was a staff nurse at Meadowbrook Hospital, after which she joined Meadowbrook Hospital as a clinical instructor, supervising Adelphi students. In 1957, Ms. Wittman returned to Adelphi to join the faculty as an assistant professor.
Between 1958 and 1970, Ms. Wittman earned her graduate degrees from Columbia University Teachers College. She received her master’s degree in maternal-child health, her master’s degree in education, and her doctoral degree in education. Ms. Wittman became the Director of Adelphi’s Undergraduate Program in 1969 and eventually rose to the position of full professor in 1974. Ms. Wittman was honored for her work with Adelphi’s School of Nursing in 1977 when she received the Alumni Association Academy of Distinction Award.
Ms. Wittman served as associate dean for a portion of her career, and continued teaching until 1992, when she retired and was named Professor Emerita in recognition of her dedication to the nursing program.
When and why did you first want to become a nurse?
I learned about nursing through books. I was always an avid reader, so reading about nurses started my interest in this field. In high-school, I decided to study Latin in preparation for nursing.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
My fondest memories at Adelphi are of the faculty and of the activities I participated in. I remember that most nursing students took swimming to complete the physical education requirement. I love to swim today and I always tell others that I learned to do so at Adelphi!
The value of my Adelphi nursing degree is priceless; the impact it has had on my life is immeasurable. It gave me wisdom and made me able to face the difficulties of life. My educational experience helped me cope with the death of patients.
I remember Mildred Montag who was my adviser and teacher at Teachers College. She encouraged me to do a description of nursing education in the Federal Republic of Germany as my dissertation.
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
Apply the knowledge you have gained from your courses and implement the skills you have learned when you go out and start working in the field of nursing.