Friday, May 07, 2010

Stories from the Clippings

What A Ride! Boy, What A Ride!

In October of 1955, an inspection party of sixteen went on a tour of the new University Hospital on the UOMS campus on top of Marquam Hill. The party consisted of Dean David W. E. Baird, thirteen members of the board of higher education and other medical school officials. The opening was just 4 months away when thirteen members of the group took an unsuspected and hair raising ride.

Baird led the group onto the 10th floor elevator, the door closed and suddenly the elevator car plunged 10 stories. Other than shaken nerves, no harm was done. A safety plunger at the bottom of the shaft took the load and the elevator came to a softer than a cloud landing.

A. J. Clemmons, building superintendent, admitted that it was a mistake to allow the party onto the elevator. For one, he didn't know that the inspection was going to cover so many floors, and secondly, the unit had not been tested. But, he said, he had asked permission of the installation company if it could be used just once on this very special occasion.

But for those of you who take the Hospital elevators everyday or even for those who take an occasional ride, not to worry. Clemmons assured the public that the drop was not so swift and that brakes were "checking it somewhat". And in nearly fifty-five years, have you heard of this ever happening again?

Article referenced: f1ap68a3

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Nursing Centennial: Diploma, Degree, Department, or School?

Today is National Nurses Day, and in honor of it and this year's centennial of the OHSU School of Nursing, we highlight a section from the history of the school written by emerita professor Barbara Gaines, in A history of the school, 1910-1996 (full text available online in PDF), in which the status of the nursing program within the University of Oregon Medical School is discussed:

Diploma, Degree, Department, or School?
The issue of explaining the differences between degree and diploma education on “The Hill” was more difficult. Although there had been a conscious decision to close the Multnomah Hospital diploma program, [Lois Albegore] Epeneter suggests that “no specific date marked the merger...” She accounts for the gradual disappearance of the hospital-administered program, noting that the department assumed more responsibility for the program and concludes that by 1945 the pin had been changed to read “University of Oregon Medical School Department of Nursing Education.” Yet we know the department initiated another diploma program at this time as a wartime measure. Given the proximity of the two actions it is unlikely that the general public could distinguish between the two diploma programs and understand that the “new” UOMS department diploma program would only exist as a wartime measure.

And indeed it is not clear that the diploma program served only as a wartime measure. The last class was admitted in 1950, suggesting that students still provided much-needed service to the hospital. This was certainly the case in much of the nation. According to Miss [Henrietta] Doltz and other sources, closure was considered in 1950 because the burden of operating a degree and diploma program was onerous, there was competition for diploma students from other programs in town, it was difficult to maintain the necessary quality of the degree program with parallel offerings, and an increase in graduate offerings was desirable necessitating a shift in faculty teaching responsibilities.

A confounding issue concerned the status of the program within the medical school. As a department, the programs in nursing were clearly part of the School of Medicine. And though Miss [Elnora] Thomson found this condition acceptable in 1932 when the state system was created, her position changed rapidly. As early as 1936, Miss Thomson began to argue to change the name from a department to a school of nursing. Her rationale was that graduates were having some difficulty with registration because the State Board for the Examination and Registration of Nurses recognized schools of nursing, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing recommended either the title college or school for degree programs. In her request to Dean Dillehunt, she acknowledged the need for approval by the State Board of Higher Education but posed her request in language that assumed the board would view the name change as a minor matter. Clearly this was not the case because the department would not officially become a school until 1960.

Miss Doltz reinitiated the conversations to change the status of the department to that of a school after World War II with the administration of the medical school. The department was now officially responsible for student learning even though much of the instruction and clinical supervision was still provided by medical school faculty and jointly appointed faculty/nursing service clinicians. Reflecting the sentiment in the Brown report and the continuing confusion expressed by prospective students, in 1948 Miss Doltz asked Mr. [William] Zimmerman, the business manager of the medical school, for an “official memo either from you or Dr. Baird relative to change of name of the Department of Nursing to the School of Nursing of the University of Oregon Medical School.” She iterated this request in 1949 with a one-page memorandum outlining reasons the change was necessary but assuring Dean Baird that changing the name would not be followed by a request for a change in administrative control.

When the 1948 and 1949 requests to change the name officially was denied, Miss Doltz used other strategies to convey an image of a school to prospective students and accreditors in an effort to mitigate the perceived problem that a department did not offer as strong a program as one administered by a school. She first attempted to change the symbols of the program.

Correspondence between Miss Doltz and the University Press in the spring of 1948 requested that the pin be changed to read University of Oregon Medical School of Nursing. In a handwritten note to Martha Hirsch, Miss Doltz’s administrative assistant and friend, she stated: "Mart–Ha!ha! They do have to get official sanction to change the name & have to bring it up at Board meeting on 4/26. But–Bill (Zimmerman) said to take a chance & get the cut of the pin made with School of Nursing so will."

The permission was denied, and the pin was not changed. On December 21, 1951, Miss Doltz sent Mr. Zimmerman another memo asking to change the name on the letterhead to School of Nursing–and the 1954 and 1955 Lamps identify the programs as part of a school.

The department-school issue would not go away and would be exacerbated by Miss Doltz’s resignation. The search committee appointed to find Miss Doltz’s successor spent 18 months looking for a new head for the programs. They believed the search was prolonged because of “difficulties [about] what appeared to others as confused academic and organic relationships between the nursing education program, the Medical School, other units of the State System of Higher Education and some independent colleges.”

The committee went on to say the necessary changes were simple– then provided 35 pages of rationale and appendices to justify the changes. The changes recommended were: (1) to change the name of the program from department to school, (2) to retitle the director’s position dean, (3) to change the degree granted by the University of Oregon to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and (4) to discontinue the practice of allowing other institutions to award the degree on the basis of the student’s pre-nursing course work. Once again assuring the dean of the medical school that the proposal did not mean that he would not remain the executive officer of the School of Nursing, the committee argued for the changes on the basis of the misunderstanding the current situation caused the public and the little cost associated with making them.

Although some of the changes would never be effected and the change to a school not effected until 1960, the Student Handbooks of 1957 and 1958 illustrate actions taken on campus to correct public perception. In 1957, a separate “Welcome” for nursing students was introduced for the first time and addressed the cooperative relationships between the programs. In 1958, newly-appointed director Jean Boyle provided the first written statement from the head of nursing program ever included in the handbook. Her message stressed the proud heritage of the School and progressive nature of its current programs.
Shown here is a sculpture by Claire Pasarow, donated by the Pasarow family, in recognition of Claire's deep appreciation for nursing. The family also contributed $1 million for nursing scholarships. The sculpture is currently located on the third floor of the school; it will be installed in the Pasarow courtyard when that space is completed.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Historic day for OHSU history

Yesterday afternoon, OHSU Executive Vice President Steve Stadum sent a message to the OHSU leadership team with the subject line "OHSU workforce member responsibilities for record retention and destruction," outlining the newly developed university records retention schedule. More than ten years in the making, the schedule was adapted from one used by the Oregon University System and covers the full spectrum of records created by an academic medical center, from appointment books to to pathological specimens to radioactive waste disposal records--along with the usual meeting minutes, personnel records, correspondence, fiscal records, et cetera, et cetera. (The complete schedule is available on the OHSU intranet only.)

What does this have to do with OHSU history? Consider the case of Horace Carpenter, dean of the Willamette University Medical Department. When Horace left the university in 1875, he took the school's records with him. As a direct result, we have very few documents pertaining to the organization and administration of the department, its split in 1887 (leading to the creation of the University of Oregon Medical School), and its merger with UOMS in 1913. That sort of behavior simply won't be permitted under the new schedule.

Or, say you're looking for meeting minutes. Consider the case of the Aesculapian Club, whose minutes were destroyed by the Secretary, Mrs. Dr. Hill. No more of that! Meeting minutes are now scheduled for permanent retention, and even if we don't have them here at the archives, we'll be able to say with great certainty that, yes, those minutes exist! And then spend time finding the responsible party in the originating unit to find the documents themselves.

Which is where the pitch for transfer to the archives comes in. Forever can seem like a long time when you're responsible for a box of documents scheduled to be permanently retained. And answering questions from researchers (whether within or without OHSU) can be burdensome when you have other things to do. Happily, we here in the archives are all about preserving information and providing access to it. Questions about the schedule or transferral of records to the archives can be addressed to Archivist Karen Peterson at peterska[at] or 503-494-3239.

Let's not allow the modern Horace Carpenters and Mrs. Hills to dictate what will be known of OHSU fifty years from today. Together, we can work to build a lasting record of the achievements of OHSU and its progress from regional medical school to an internationally recognized institution of teaching, healing, and research. Think before you throw!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Treasure hunt leads to treasure trove

I've been into most of the spaces here in the Old Library/Auditorium, and while I know there are some utility closets that remain unexplored territory, I had no idea that the building housed a large trove of art until this past Friday, when I was invited on a tour of Room 460A.

[Cue dramatic music.]

Room 460A turns out to be the old projection room, and so is accessed through a door at the back of the auditorium balcony. And then through a short hall. And then up a flight of stairs. Flipping on the single dim bulb, our small group was greeted with the sight of... frames. Frames in three directions, stacked against the walls. And then a milk crate spied under the sink. And rolls of something beyond the toilet (the projectionist apparently required some creature comforts, hence the old plumbing).

Unfortunately, we had only planned a 30-minute look-see (which shows how unprepared we were for what we encountered) and the available floor space wasn't large enough to permit close examination of all the room contents. Most of the materials appear to be works of art, from oil paintings to velvet paintings to wood carvings to glass sculpture. In the archival category, we did identify the bas-relief bust of Kenneth A.J. Mackenzie designed by A.P. Proctor (but not the accompanying text plaque, which may very well be up there somewhere), and a large architectural model of campus (circa 1956?).

Unable to walk away empty-handed, I did bring down a large framed certificate of commemoration (shown here). It reads: "In commemoration of those members of the personnel of United States Army Base Hospital Number 46, University of Oregon Medical School, who died in their country's service: Norene M. Royer, Ernest D. Stout, Kenneth M. Welshons," followed by a complete listing of the officers, nurses, civilian employees, and enlisted personnel of Base Hospital 46, the volunteer medical unit organized out of the medical school in 1917. The certificate is in a hideous blue wooden frame and bears signs of silverfish nibbling. We'll need to get it out of the frame to examine it more thoroughly, but it's not clear whether the piece dates from the immediate postwar period. It's possible that it was created for a later anniversary event--which must nevertheless have been some time ago, judging by the accretion of dust and the antiquity of its companion pieces in 460A.

Some days, life really is like a Noah Wyle Librarian movie. And this is why we are thankful for wash-and-wear.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Something to look at: new donation of ophthalmology texts

As we briefly alluded to in an earlier post, we've been awaiting the arrival of a large donation of books on ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, and related fields, which was being shipped to us from Los Angeles. While most of the contents of one of the nine boxes went AWOL somewhere between Southern California and northern Oregon, the resulting haul is nevertheless quite impressive. Fifty-six volumes have been selected for addition to the collections here--many of them new to the consortium of Oregon and Washington academic libraries, Orbis Cascade Alliance.

The earliest of the titles is Henry Rosborough Swanzy's "Eye-diseases and eye-symptoms in their relation to organic diseases of the brain and spinal cord." Though it lacks a proper title page (being an extract from a larger work), we find, through the magic of WorldCat, a date of 1899. The top figure shown here from the Swanzy is illustrative of how we feel after many a long day in the archive.

One of the scarcest of the titles is G. Offret's Les myosites orbitales (1939), for which I find no American holdings. The illustrations are quite nice (and two in full color), but the publisher's emblem on the rear cover, shown here, was most appealing in its art deco simplicity.

One of the oddest finds was Neuro-ophthalmology now! edited by J. Lawton Smith. A perfectly standard text, judging by the table of contents and the editor's preface ("One will find here an overview by many eminent contributors..."). However, the editor took the opportunity of a (somewhat) captive audience, using his Foreword on page xvii to digress on the meaning and import of Mark 13 and to advertise his "small book," A Physician's Faith, of which we find but one single copy in American libraries. The foreword is provided here below in its entirety for curious readers.

Other titles include the first edition of Ragnar Granit's Sensory mechanisms of the retina (1947), four works by the Swiss ophthalmologist Otto Haab (1900-1905), and Pierre Lagrange's Atlas d'ophtalmoscopie de guerre (1918). All of these additions will make their way through the cataloging pipeline and into the book collections over time; as always, feel free to contact us if you have specific questions on any of our materials.