Former Registered Nurse
After graduating from Adelphi in 1947, Ms. Warner found her first nursing position on the surgical floor of a Veteran’s Hospital in Arizona. “Many of the nurses there were older, and our abilities, as new graduates, were surprising to them as we see how advanced the nurses are today,” she says. After marrying her husband Fred, she moved to Colorado and later Louisiana. Ms. Warner has lived in Louisiana for more than 50 years. She has two daughters and one son.
When and why did you first want to become a nurse?
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a nurse. I was the second of five children in my family, and my parents encouraged me to go out and make something of myself. I was too young after high school to enroll in a hospital school, but my father did some research and found Adelphi. It was during World War II, and the Cadet Nurse program had just been approved. They paid our tuition, books, uniforms and a small stipend. I think that Adelphi College School of Nursing was one of the early signers to this program.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
The education and training we received was very progressive for the time. This was because Mildred Montag was really forward thinking in some of her ideas, and she passed them on to her students. I found that we were trained to do much more than many other nurses at the time.
I have many memories. Most nurses back then wore blue and white uniforms, but our yellow uniforms and caps were non-traditional and utilitarian. I remember the first time I wore my cap. I got in the elevator and my cap touched the side, I can still feel it to this day; I was a nurse.
We lived in small groups and shared many adventures and events with each other. We all lived and worked together. I remember some people losing fiancées and loved ones in the war. One in our group became engaged while both attended a church service hundreds of miles apart. It was a time of war and we all worked hard and studied and shared our fun and sorrows.
On May 8, 1945, when some of us were at Central Islip, we were going over to an Army hospital to dance with returned soldiers. Our bus trip was delayed so we could hear Winston Churchill declare Victory in Europe. The dance was extended for an hour because it was such a special day and we all were celebrating.
Do you remember practicing marching in anticipation of Mrs. Roosevelt’s visit? Piling into the station wagons to go to the campus? Signing in and out? Miss Marciano and Miss Herring? The Spider Club? Having to tread water for ten minutes before you could graduate? Miss Natwick and her belief in the germ theory? Dean Harley, that gracious lady?
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
Nursing is an art and a science. The science has progressed mightily, but the art is being lost. I know that all of us have been able to affect a patient’s recovery or treatment by helping or spending time with someone who was able to confide their concerns and worries to you. The art of nursing is in the relationship between you and the patient. Always remember that art—it is just as important as the science.