Doris Schwartz, RN, FAAN, was born to "hardworking, thrifty" parents in 1915. During her senior year in nursing school, not believing that there would ever be a full scale war, Schwartz joined the Red Cross Nursing Reserve, which then recruited nurses for the army. Directly after graduating from nursing school, Schwartz worked for the Brooklyn Visiting Nursing Society in the Red Hook district as a public health nurse, but soon after, World War II broke out. Schwartz spent a total of four and a half years in the army, including an eighteen month assignment on the Merigold, a hospital ship that sailed the Pacific Ocean. After leaving the army Schwartz returned to her job at Red Hook and simultaneously completed her nursing studies at New York University. As part of her field experience requirement, she became the first American exchange nurse in public health in rural Sweden. In 1960 with the help of Virginia Dunbar, the Dean of Cornell University, New York Hospital School of Nursing, Schwartz secured a position as staff nurse in Cornell Medical College's Comprehensive Care and Teaching Program. Schwartz remained at Cornell in some capacity for the next twenty-nine years. At Cornell Schwartz taught Public Health Nursing and later Geriatric Nursing, and established a reputation as "one who recognized nursing problems of patients and enjoyed describing and investigating them". Schwartz joint research, THE ELDERLY, AMBULATORY PATIENT'S NURSING PSYCHOSOCIAL NEEDS, was one of the first studies done of Gerontology. She also participated on various expert committees on nursing for the World Health Organization and helped to start one of the first government funded family nurse practitioner programs. In 1980, following a stroke, Schwartz retired from Cornell and settled in Life Care Community of Foulkeways at Gwynedd, a Quaker-sponsored development near Philadelphia where she still lives today. Schwartz then spent nine years of part time association with the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania as Senior Fellow. GIVE US TO GO BLITHELY, a book which recounts her fifty years of nursing, as recently published.
The video tapes highlight Doris's career as a nurse. In the first tapes, Schwartz talks about her experiences during the Second World War. She tells us why she enlisted in the army, and then details the three different phases of her stay in the army--first as the head nurse of a forty-five bed amputee ward at Mitchel Fields Hospital in Long Island, New York, a temporary hospital for soldiers returning from the war in Europe; then stationed on the Merigold, a hospital ship that sailed the Pacific Ocean; and after the war, as a head nurse for another eighteen months at Percy Jones Military Hospital in Battle, Creek, Michigan, a 200 bed rehabilative facility for verterans of the war. During the first two periods, Schwartz generally describes the everday occurences in hospitals during a war, and the training she received in order to work at each place. For the third period, Schwartz additionally relates the history of rehabilitation hospitals and the effects that this period had on her later career. Schwartz also comments on the effects that the army nurses had on civilian nursing. She describes such trends as the increasing specialization of the nursing profession and the creation of new jobs such as nurse clinicians after World War II. Also discussed in this growing independence of nursing during this time period and criticisms of this change. The rest of the tapes, Schwartz narrates events in her life after the army. She highlights such events as working for the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NURSING under Mary Roberts while finishing her nursing studies at New York University and being part of the pioneering program that conbined the Visiting Nurse Association of Brooklyn at Red Hook with the New York's Public Health Program in 1946-1947. She also mentions receiving a Rockerfeller Fellowship for a program at the University of Toronto that trained future leaders in nursing from around the world, and being the staff nurse for the ten year Comprehensive Care and Teaching Program at Cornell University's Medical School, which trained medical school students to become generalists instead of specializing. Schwartz talks about the innovative aspects of the program, its influences and why it existed and eventually disappeared. Schwartz also describes her Gerontology study in 1961 which was one of the first research projects done on the effects of aging. Further, the tapes go into detail about visiting nurse societies and public health nursing and how they evolved during the 1960s and 1970s. Among changes mentioned are the proprietarization of home care, the intervention of the government through Medicare, and the increasing administrative atmosphere of the visiting nurse societies. Schwartz discusses other trends such as the move to unionize
Unpublished finding aid in repository
Doris Schwartz, Oral history interviews, Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania.