Interview with Maggie Wilson, April 9, 2005

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
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00:00:20 - Education and motivations

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Partial Transcript: Uh, first question, uh, is this the first time you've been interviewed?

Segment Synopsis: Maggie Wilson discusses her nursing and midwifery education and titles, her favorite nursing positions, and her distain for administration. She describes her middle class upbringing in Wallington, London during World War Two, and elaborates on her motivations and reasoning to pursue nursing. She recalls her various Midwife positions in England before she joined the service, emphasizing the experience they provided, and her prior understandings of the practice.

Keywords: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965.; Education.; FNS; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Healthcare administration; Midwifery.; Midwives; Nursing.; WW2; Wallington (London, England); World War 2; World War II; WWII

00:09:30 - Before the FNS: religion, financial status, and training

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Partial Transcript: Was religion important to your family? Was religion important to you?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses her religion within her adult life, and why she feels that belief system is important. She then discusses her financial status, and how that has affected her career in nursing. Wilson elaborates on the training she received, along with her prior understandings of the profession before training. She discusses her first introduction to the Frontier Nursing Service, and her quick assignment in Kentucky, which she states was firmly supported by her family.

Keywords: Appalachian Region; Education.; FNS; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Midwifery.; Midwives; Nursing.; Religion; Socioeconomic status; Appalachia

00:16:06 - Joining the FNS

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Partial Transcript: Did you think you were suited when you read the material?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses the challenges she faced when she joined the service and reflects on traveling to the United States with Frontier Nursing Support. She elaborates on her first introduction to the FNS and Hyden, Kentucky, and the support she received from Helen Brown. She describes the difficulties with leaving the FNS during a staffing shortage, and talks about her visits back to Kentucky. She briefly compares the British health system, and the lack of freedom and support within.

Keywords: Clinics.; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Frontier Nursing Support; Helen Brown; Horse riding; Hyden (Ky.); Midwifery.; Nursing.; Scholarships.; Staffing Shortages; Sea travel

00:22:43 - Nursing career

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Partial Transcript: Uh, Moving into work environment. Do you think the--your experiences at the Frontier Nursing Services impacted your career choices after you left?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses her future career in nursing and her time with the Frontier Services, specifically on district nursing and administration. She then reflects on her responsibilities in the Service and emphasizes her main position within Hospital Hill as a hospital midwife and nurse. She discusses some of her medical practices, including during childbirth, and elaborates on her small stints with horse riding. She discusses how her riding is exclusively recreational, and the accidents she's had on horse back.

Keywords: Appalachia; Childbirth; Clinics.; District nursing; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Home visits; Hospital Hill; Hospital administrators; Midwifery; Midwives; National Health Service (Great Britain); Nursing.; Rural health services; Horse riding

00:28:53 - Working in the FNS: difficulties, joys, and dangers

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Partial Transcript: How was it, how was it working night and day?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson recalls the difficulties of working on call in the Frontier Nursing Service as both an educator and a nurse. She recalls her levels of sleep deprivation, and briefly touches on her animal care experience, as well as her provided living situation. She further discusses the relationships she developed and the adventures within the FNS, whilst also reflecting on the dangerous weather and life in the mountains. She then briefly describes the Medical Directive and its uses in the field.

Keywords: Animal care; Appalachia; Appalachian Mountains.; Childbirth.; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Medical Directive; Midwifery.; Nursing students; Nursing.; Sleep deprivation.; Veterinary services; Living conditions

00:39:05 - Appalachian culture, poverty, and healthcare

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Partial Transcript: Working such long hours in such hard conditions, you didn't have a lot of time off. When you did have time off, what sort of things did you like to do?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses the free-time, independence, and freedom she received through the Frontier Nursing Service, and compares it to English nursing positions. She notes the differences in care, cultures, and pay. Further, she elaborates on the poverty in the region, discussing the impacts on living and health conditions of her patients. She discusses maintaining relationships with patients and the community, and the medical equipment she had access to.

Keywords: Appalachia; Appalachian Mountains.; FNS; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Healthcare; Illnesses; Medical equipment; Midwifery.; Nursing.; Poverty.; Rural health.; Time off; Disease.

00:48:54 - FNS leadership and community

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Partial Transcript: Um, do you think you were treated any different because you were British? By the families or the staff?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses the Role of her British identity on her experience, and recalls her fondness for the community's closeness and comradery. she briefly discusses her prior expectations, and the realities of nursing in Appalachia. Further, She identifies members of the Services' leadership that left lasting impressions, and her relationship to them, Specifically Mary Breckinridge and Helen Browne, who she tells anecdotes about.

Keywords: Appalachia; Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965.; Community; Comradery; FNS; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hospital administration; January, Anna May; Lester, Betty; Browne, Helen E.

01:02:27 - Respect within Appalachia / Nursing after the FNS

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Partial Transcript: Nursing in a rural area can be rather isolating, did you ever feel lonely or isolated?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses the company she kept in Kentucky and reflects on the community's opinions on the Frontier Nursing Service, and elaborates on the respect they were given. She reflects on the surrounding area's lack of knowledge of the program, and the political aspects of the service. Further, She discusses the career opportunities she received after the service, and her positions in Health Care leadership in England. She briefly discusses if she would return to the FNS now, and describes her distain for modern nursing and midwifery.

Keywords: Appalachia; Appalachian Region; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Kentucky; Local Communities; Modern Nursing; Modern obstetrics; Nurses.; Poverty.; Public opinion.; Rural Communities; Rural health services; Modern Health Care