Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Louis Hellman, November 29, 1979

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - First visit to Frontier Nursing Service / struggle for innovation within the program

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me about the first time you visited the Frontier Nursing Service?

Segment Synopsis: Hellman explains his first visit to the Frontier Nursing Service was in order to give a speech. Hellman explains how he and Mary Breckinridge had different philosophies but still respected each other. He first met her at a speech she gave, and he remembers being critical of her statistics of mortality rates.

Keywords: Government participation; Healthcare; Public health; Rural locations

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Kentucky; Midwifery.; Nurse midwives.; Obstetrics.

00:12:51 - Convincing Mary Breckinridge of innovation for the Frontier Nursing Service / legacy of Breckinridge and other nurse midwives

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Partial Transcript: Can you remember any other specific incidents with Mary Breckinridge? Working with her or, um, trying to convince her?

Segment Synopsis: Hellman recalls Mary Breckinridge did not oppose family planning like she had many of his other ideas of innovation. Nurse midwifery beginning in New York was something that she was interested in, but was not exactly supportive. The Frontier Nursing Service has broadened since her death. Hellman has never seen this service duplicated, but local clinics are the closest types of establishments that he relates to the program. Hellman views nurse midwives as pioneers.

Keywords: Big House; Isolation; Kentucky; Medical opposition; Medicine; Pioneers; Rural; Wendover (Ky.)

Subjects: Birth control.; Family planning.; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Nurse midwives.

GPS: Wendover, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.1275, 83.3653
00:22:50 - Nurse midwifery in the American medical scene

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Partial Transcript: How has the overall nurse midwifery situation changed the American medical scene?

Segment Synopsis: American doctors were critical of nurse midwives because they did not want to lose control of obstetrics as they believed doctors in Great Britain had. Hellman was criticized and could have been suspended from the American College. Opposition is minor now.

Keywords: America; Criticism; Doctor reactions; Exaggeration; Great Britain; Infant mortality; Medicine; Poverty; Race

Subjects: Midwifery; Midwives.; Nurse midwives.; Obstetrics.

00:29:14 - The future of the School of Midwifery

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Partial Transcript: What about the, uh, School of Midwifery at Hyden? Do you think that that has run its length now that there are other ones in the country?

Segment Synopsis: Hellman believes there is still a need for the school, and hopes that it is not obsolete. He delivered a talk about oral contraceptives.

Keywords: Government; Government programs; Great Britain; Mary Breckinridge; Midwife; Midwives; Nurses

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing; Nurse midwife.

GPS: Frontier Nursing University (Hyden, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.1656, 83.3792
00:36:13 - Frontier Nursing Service and Mary Breckinridge / accomplishments of the Frontier Nursing Service

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Partial Transcript: Well the efforts and the workings of the Frontier Nursing Service are definitely unique. Do you think the main reason it worked was because of Mary Breckinridge?

Segment Synopsis: Hellman explains that the beginning of the FNS benefited because of Mary Breckinridge, but he is not sure if it will become obsolete because of her passing. He acknowledges the constant change of the program and has hope for it lasting. He explains the Frontier Nursing Service has accomplished developing midwifery and rural obstetrics in the United States on an acceptable basis.

Keywords: Acceptance; Changes; Future; Mary Breckinridge; Midwifery; Midwives; Necessity; Rural locations

Subjects: Baby boom; Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Nurse midwifery.