Media Release – For immediate release
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Book Release Announcement
'Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching the World:
Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky's Frontier School, 1939-1989'
April 2012 – In their new book, Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World, nurse historians Anne Z. Cockerham and Arlene W. Keeling share a fascinating glimpse into a part of nurse-midwifery that has received little attention until now – the stories of pioneering students who attended one of the first nurse-midwifery schools in America.
In 1925, nursing pioneer Mary Breckinridge moved to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky with the dream of providing family-oriented healthcare to a rural population. Mrs. Breckinridge founded the Frontier Nursing Service, creating clinics and enlisting the services of nurse-midwives who traveled on horseback to administer care and attend births in an area with few roads and no physicians. British-trained nurse-midwives staffed the Service in its early years, but when World War II broke out, many of the nurses returned home to support the war effort. To keep her service running, Mrs. Breckinridge put into action her dream of opening a school to train nurse-midwives. In 1939, the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery admitted its first class.
Frontier students embraced adventure. They crossed swinging bridges high above rushing creeks, rode horses through snow-covered hollows, attended births in remote cabins, vaccinated mountain children against potentially devastating illnesses, and provided healthcare for entire families (including the families’ animals). The students endured extremes of weather, long hours, and separation from family and friends. Many were motivated by gaining valuable experience that would prepare them for international missionary work or care of women and families in rural areas of the United States. Indeed, studying in remote Eastern Kentucky launched the careers of hundreds of nurse-midwives and family nurse practitioners, allowing them to touch the lives of countless women and families around the world.
Using historical photographs and alumni memories, Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World captures the unique and exciting experiences of the students who lived, learned, and established deep and meaningful roots at the Frontier School between its inception in 1939 and the school’s transition to a distance-learning format in 1989.
Published by Frontier Nursing University (as the school is known today), Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World retails for $30 and can be purchased from Butler Books, http://www.butlerbooks.com/frontiernursing.html. For more information about the book, go to www.frontier.edu/pioneerbook.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will fund scholarships for students at Frontier Nursing University, which carries on the legacy of Mary Breckinridge by training nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners as leaders in the primary care of women and families, with an emphasis on providing care to rural and underserved populations.
About the authors:
Anne Cockerham is an alumna of the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing, 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 a full-time faculty position 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 Institute.
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.