Former Registered Nurse, Nurse-Educator, Administrator
Of all the specialties she was introduced to during her nursing education at Adelphi, Margaret Glaubitz recalls especially enjoying her psychiatric clinical experience. Upon graduation, she put this interest to immediate use when she began her nursing career at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital. While the hospital was overcrowded and lacked resources, Mrs. Glaubitz remembers working at Bellevue as a wonderful experience. “I loved the patients I worked with,” she says.
With a large outbreak of the polio epidemic in the late 1940s, crippling thousands of once active, healthy children, Mrs. Glaubitz joined the American Red Cross. She was sent to Dayton, Ohio, after which she was relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Most of the work she did was with iron lungs: steel chambers that helped victims of polio to breathe when struck with paralysis. “It was sad seeing those children suffer,” recalls Mrs. Glaubitz. “But we would read to the kids…joke and laugh with them. They were amazing.”
Mrs. Glaubitz worked with the American Red Cross for six months, “after which the epidemic tapered off,” she recalls. Mrs. Glaubitz then accompanied her friend and fellow Adelphi alumna, Grace Hanser ’49, to San Francisco. In California, they lived with and took care of Grace’s sister during her pregnancy.
Eventually Mrs. Glaubitz returned to New York. She began providing medical services in both homes and at hospitals throughout New York City as a private duty nurse. “As one of the very few women with a degree, I got good cases,” recalls Mrs. Glaubitz. She has memories of working 12 hour days, sometimes seven days a week; “I would work until the case was finished!”
After two years as a private duty nurse, Mrs. Glaubitz had saved enough money to return to school full-time. She pursued her master’s degree in nursing at Teachers College, Columbia University. The program required its students to spend one year working as a head nurse; Mrs. Glaubitz gained this experience at Grasslands Hospital, in Westchester County, New York. “This is where I got my first taste of teaching,” she recalls.
After earning her degree, Mrs. Glaubitz was hired by Lennox Hill Hospital, which “had an excellent teaching program,” says Mrs. Glaubitz. At the hospital she worked in the capacities of both teacher and supervisor. Mrs. Glaubitz recalls balancing her dual responsibilities; “I would get to the hospital early in the morning, do my rounds, and teach classes all day. Then after classes I would finish my rounds, and hand in my reports.”
She taught her diploma students surgical nursing, which included anatomy, physiology, pathology, surgical procedures, post-operative care, and medications and treatments appropriate to the case. Because she was teaching in a hospital school of nursing, if she had a patient who would be a good learning example for her students, Mrs. Glaubitz could bring the patient’s chart to class, or introduce the class to the patient. “It was a wonderful experience,” she recalls. “I loved teaching.”
When she and her husband were expecting their first child, Mrs. Glaubitz worked in the premature nursery at St. John’s Hospital. After the birth of their baby, Mrs. Glaubitz spent a few months at home with their newborn; at the same time, her husband, who had been a part of a surgical group, decided that he was going to open a surgical practice of his own. Able to arrange care for their baby, Mrs. Glaubitz helped run the office. Her responsibilities included everything from billing and insurance forms, to book-keeping, to assisting patients. “I did anything that had to be done,” she says.
Over the years, her husband’s practice continued to grow. With additional staff, Mrs. Glaubitz transitioned from working five to three days a week. With a lighter schedule, and her four children now grown up, Mrs. Glaubitz could pursue her lifelong passion of art. She devoted one day a week to visiting art museums and galleries in Manhattan, and began painting on her own. “I had prior experience,” jokes Mrs. Glaubitz. “Drawing anatomical diagrams on the board when I taught!”
After 40 years dedicated to the practice, Dr. Glaubitz and Mrs. Glaubitz retired. They moved to Pennsylvania in 1991.
Even in retirement, Mrs. Glaubitz kept her passion for art alive, taking drawing, painting, and ceramics classes at Bucks County Community College. Today she continues to enjoy painting and sculpting. She also loves any opportunity to spend time with her large family: four children, 10 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
When and why did you first want to become a nurse?
I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I could remember. I thought I would go into pre-med. My parents, however, were not able to pay for medical school, and at that time, scholarships were not given to women. With the United States’ entry into World War II, the government wanted to start nursing programs. The dean of my high school knew of Adelphi’s nursing program and suggested that I go there. I remember her telling me, “You can always earn money and put it toward medical school.” I signed up for Adelphi’s School of Nursing, and I just loved it. Looking back, nursing was the right career for me, as it provided wonderful experience for raising children.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
I remember Dean Harley fondly. She was very nice; however, because she was running the whole school, we were not as intimately involved with her as we were with Dr. Mildred Montag. Dr. Montag was hardworking and very inspiring. She always seemed to be sincerely interested in us and our development.
There were only nine of us in the Meadowbrook division, and we grew very close very quickly. We became friends for life.
The first and last years at Adelphi, we took our liberal arts courses. In the middle years, we received our nursing education. I thought this balance was excellent.
We commuted during our first year at Adelphi. Once we started our clinical experience, we lived at the various hospitals that we were associated with. By our last year, the dormitories were built on Adelphi’s campus. It was so exciting to have Eleanor Roosevelt come to campus and dedicate the dorms! It was the first time I ever saw her; she was wonderful.
What are some changes you have seen in nursing throughout the years?
We didn’t have penicillin during my early years of nursing. I think penicillin was starting to be used on wounded soldiers during World War II, but it was not yet available for public use in hospitals.
I distinctly remember witnessing a blood transfusion at Grasslands Hospital; it was given in an open bottle! I remember speaking to the head surgeon about how primitive this was. Things changed soon after, and blood transfusions were performed in a closed system.
Before the advent of disposable equipment, we boiled syringes and catheters.
In general, things were just so primitive; things are now quite different with all the new technology and mechanisms that exists today. While the science of medicine (the anatomy and physiology) is the same, the technology has advanced tremendously.
I think the attitude of doctors toward nurses has changed as well. Doctors displayed behavior that was demeaning toward nurses; it was as if nurses were looked down upon. It’s not that way today.
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
Never stop studying and moving forward. Expand your mind and abilities.