Doctors were considered gods the year I entered nursing school. Make no mistake about it, they ruled the hospital. Nurses made coffee for for them, carried their charts as the made their rounds, and surrendered their seat in the nurses station whenever they entered the room. Oh yes, and did I mention that all the doctors were men? Of course there was the occasional lady doctor like the one on this book cover. Lady doctors were an oddity, and the good-old-boy medical establishment hated them. I remember hearing doctors at the nurses station blaspheming women who wanted to be doctors. They were angry that a woman might take a spot away from a man who wanted to enter medical school. “After all,” they said, “they are just going to quit medicine when they get married.”
I noticed that attitudes about lady doctors started changing as the years went by. Younger men were entering medicine, and they brought with them more progressive attitudes about women in the workplace. Change came slowly. Many male doctors still felt that female medical staff, like Nora Meade, M.D., should only work as a pediatrician. The attitude was, “Women are meant to have children, and if they wanted to work, they should only work with kids.” The first lady doctor I worked with treated the nurses as her colleagues. She never demanded that we wait on her, and she treated us with respect. She even said that we could call her by her first name! I know this sounds odd by today’s standards, but back then, treating a nurse as an equal was considered revolutionary. She also encouraged many of my nursing colleagues to continue their education, and to advance the profession of nursing. The women entering medicine back then were progressive, and they were fighters. They rocked the boat and bucked an archaistic medical establishment in order to get what they wanted.