About this book:
"Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World"
Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky's Frontier School, 1939-1989
When she wrote her autobiography, Wide Neighborhoods, in 1952, Mary Breckinridge reflected on what her beloved Frontier Nursing Service had achieved since its founding in 1925. She compared FNS to a tree, a metaphor that aptly described the Service’s steadfast and powerful roots in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, as well as the plentiful yield of healthy babies delivered by the Frontier nurses. Breckinridge was equally proud of another of the Frontier Nursing Service’s products: the hundreds of graduates of the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery (later called the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing and today known as Frontier Nursing University).
Through their subsequent work in the United States and around the world, Frontier alumni constitute a significant portion of the Frontier legacy. Indeed, through their care of thousands of women, babies, and families, the graduates have provided “shade and fruit” to many. The stories and experiences of the early Frontier graduates – those who attended the School in its first 50 years – provide a fascinating glimpse into a part of nurse-midwifery history that has heretofore not been given significant attention.
About the authors:
- Anne Cockerham is an alumna of Frontier Nursing University, having earned a certificate in nurse-midwifery there in 2001. Her academic degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Virginia. She holds the full-time position of Associate Dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health at Frontier Nursing University and a part-time clinical nurse-midwifery position at Loudoun Community Midwives in Leesburg, Va. Her research focus is nursing history, particularly the history of nurse-midwives in the Frontier Nursing Service and the Catholic Maternity.
Arlene Keeling received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Virginia. She is the Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, the director of the Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, Department Chair of Acute and Specialty Care, and the coordinator of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Her major research work is nursing history. One of her current projects involves the history of nursing in the 1918 influenza pandemic. She is also the award-winning author of Nursing and the Privilege of Prescription, 1893-2000, a book that chronicles the history of advanced practice nursing with special emphasis on the nurse’s role in dispensing, furnishing, and prescribing medications.
The story behind this project:
Roots were important to Mary Breckinridge, founder of the Frontier Nursing Service and the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery. When she arrived in the Eastern Kentucky mountain wilderness that would eventually be home to the Frontier Nursing Service, she painstakingly began planting the roots that would sustain her – and countless others – for years to come. Although Mrs. Breckinridge did not move away from her adopted mountain home the rest of her life, the influence of the Frontier Nursing Service stretches around the globe. How is it possible that the work begun by one woman could have such international reach? The answer rests in large part on the work of the school for nurse-midwives, and later nurse practitioners, begun by the Frontier Nursing Service. Since the school’s inception in 1939, its graduates have lived and worked in countless areas around the United States and the world, extending the reach of the Frontier Nursing Service.
Just as Mrs. Breckinridge valued roots, current university leaders, faculty, staff, students, and alumni cherish and celebrate the manner in which the organization evolved to what it is today. To deepen understanding of the school’s historical legacy, Denise Barrett (Director of Development and Alumni Relations) and Kathryn Osborne (Frontier faculty member) launched the Pioneer Project in 2006. For the next three years, Kathryn offered a unique opportunity to students enrolled in the professional role development course in the nurse-midwifery curriculum: the option to interview an alumnus who graduated between 1939 and 1989 (“Pioneers”). Denise worked tirelessly to contact alumni and arrange students in Kathryn’s course to interview Pioneers. Each student then submitted an essay that summarized the interview experience. Approximately one-hundred student/Pioneer pairs participated, yielding valuable interview data that captured the stories of Pioneers’ experiences before, during, and after their time at Frontier. In 2010, the project progressed to its next phase: synthesizing the Pioneers’ stories in a cohesive and readable narrative that described the history of the school.
To order this book:
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