Thursday, July 5, 2012
Historian to sign new book exploring roots
of nurse-midwifery in America on July 18
Dr. Anne Z. Cockerham, a nurse historian and co-author of a new book exploring the history of nurse-midwifery in America and its roots in Eastern Kentucky, will be the featured author at an event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington Green. Cockerham will sign and read from her book, “Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World: Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky’s Frontier School, 1939-1989″, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at the bookstore.
In their new book, Cockerham and her co-author, Dr. Arlene W. Keeling, share a fascinating glimpse into a part of nurse-midwifery that has received little attention until now – the stories of pioneering students who attended one of the first nurse-midwifery schools in America. (That school, known today as Frontier Nursing University, remains in operation as a graduate school of nursing based in Hyden, Ky., offering distance-education programs.)
In 1925, nursing pioneer Mary Breckinridge moved to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky with the dream of providing family-oriented healthcare to a rural population. Breckinridge founded the Frontier Nursing Service, creating clinics and enlisting the services of nurse-midwives who traveled on horseback to administer care and attend births in an area with few roads and no physicians. British-trained nurse-midwives staffed the Service in its early years, but when World War II broke out, many of the nurses returned home to support the war effort. To keep her service running, Breckinridge put into action her dream of opening a school to train nurse-midwives. In 1939, the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery admitted its first class.
Using historical photographs and alumni memories, “Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World” captures the unique and exciting experiences of the students who lived, learned, and established deep and meaningful roots at the Frontier School between its inception in 1939 and the school’s transition to a distance-learning format in 1989.
Published by Frontier Nursing University (as the school is known today) in conjunction with Butler Books, Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World retails for $30 and can be purchased from Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington Green or from Butler Books. For more information about the book, go to frontier.edu.