Posts Tagged ‘Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing’

Kaiser Permanente Nutrition in the Past, Present and Future

posted on August 18, 2016

Caitlin Dong, guest writer 

 

Frances E. Weir [KFSN nusrsing student?], Cooking Laboratory, Kaiser Vallejo Rehabilitation Clinic, 1947-11

Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing student Frances E. Weir in the Cooking Laboratory, Kaiser Vallejo Rehabilitation Clinic, 1947

Imagine a health care system that emphasizes prevention, instead of focusing only on treating diseases. Oh wait, no need to imagine – Kaiser Permanente already exists.

Dr. Sidney Garfield, physician founder of Kaiser Permanente, sought to create a new economy of health where providers and members turned their attention toward preventative care. Early in its history, Kaiser Permanente expressed to members and patients the importance of balanced diets and how what we consume affects our health.

In a 1965 edition of Planning for Health, a quarterly newsletter available to Kaiser Foundation Health Plan members, an article titled “The Importance of Diet” takes a look at “proper diet and related factors contributing to longer, more healthful living.” The writer asks if it is possible to prevent heart attacks by proper dieting and then answers this question, noting that eating healthier foods can minimize cardiovascular diseases.

Today, Kaiser Permanente physicians, dietitians and others in the organization remain focused on the link between diet and health. Kaiser Permanente Dietitian Carole Bartolotto notes, “So many diseases and conditions we develop are directly related to what we eat.”

Planning for Health newsletter 1965-Spring

Detail from illustrated chart of “Desirable Weights for Men” (and women), Planning for Health, 1965

Bartolotto works as a senior consultant in Southern California on a variety of projects relating to diet and heart disease. She is responsible for nutrition publications and is chair of the committee that reviews those publications. Their goal is to ensure that whatever is published is up to date and matches the most current evidence available.

Kaiser Permanente makes every effort to ensure that members can easily access accurate and helpful information to guide their nutrition and diet choices. Research articles, such as this one that explores whether consuming sugar and artificial sweeteners changes taste preferences, are part of this effort.

And, if you’re looking for healthy food recipes, Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Health blog is a great place to start!

Knowing the advantages of preventative care, let’s make healthy food choices. Our future selves will thank us.

 

Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/2bMPb3O

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Henry J. Kaiser – 1950s poolside fun in Lafayette

posted on June 8, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

Ale Kaiser with KFSN nurse students at poolside party at Lafayette residence, circa 1954. Left to right: Laura Gall, Ale Kaiser, Rosie Gutierrez, Jerri Barmore.  [KFSN - adds 2013]

Ale Kaiser with KFSN students at poolside party at Lafayette residence, circa 1953. Left to right: Laura Gall, Ale Kaiser, Rosie Gutierrez, Jerri Barmore.

Summertime.

Time for socializing with pool parties and beach volleyball. Henry J. Kaiser and his new bride Alyce “Ale” Kaiser built a “Hawaiian-type” home in Lafayette, Calif., in 1951 at the intersection of Timothy Drive and Pine Lane. In 1954 the Kaisers moved to 525 Portlock Road, East Oahu, Hawaii.

The residence was used for many merry events, including this party for students at the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing. Alyce was a trained nurse, and had worked as an administrative assistant at the Kaiser Oakland hospital.

We don’t know how aware they were about safe sun exposure – these days, Kaiser Permanente encourages more covering up and sunscreen – but having outdoor fun this summer is definitely on the “thriving” list.

 Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/28lxMCY

Henry J. Kaiser playing volleyball with KFSN students at his Lafayette home, 1954 [circa]. [KFSN - adds 2013]

Henry J. Kaiser serving a volleyball with KFSN students at his Lafayette home, circa 1953.

Henry J. Kaiser playing volleyball with KFSN nurse students at his Lafayette home, 1954 [circa]. [KFSN - adds 2013]

Henry J. Kaiser playing volleyball with KFSN students at his Lafayette home, circa 1953.

Poolside party for KFSN nurse students at Henry J. Kaiser residence in Lafayette, circa 1954. [KFSN- adds 2013]

Poolside party for KFSN students at Kaiser residence in Lafayette, circa 1953.

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Male nursing pioneers

posted on May 5, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

May 6-16, 2016, is National Nurses Week.

 

"Larry [Rowe] Gerry [Beideck] and Ricky [Mosqueda]: a first for Kaiser" 1970 KFSN yearbook. First male enrolled students.

“Larry [Rowe] Gerry [Beideck] and Ricky [Mosqueda]: a first for Kaiser” 1970 KFSN yearbook. First male enrolled students.

Caption in the 1970 Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing yearbook: “Larry, Gerry and Ricky: a first for Kaiser.”

Larry Rowe, Gerry Beideck, and Ricky (Ricardo Pangilinan) Mosqueda were groundbreakers in the 1970 class of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing, which operated between 1947 and 1976. As the first enrolled male students, they were pioneers in a traditionally female nursing profession.

After World War II, a national shortage of nurses prompted Kaiser Permanente founding physician Sidney Garfield, MD, to create a school in 1947.

Frances P. Bolton (1885-1977) was the first Ohio woman elected to Congress and an advocate for gender and racial desegregation of military nursing units. She introduced the 1949 Bolton Act (H.R. 9398) which provided for the appointment of male citizens as nurses in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Six years later, Lieutenant Edward T. Lyon was commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps in 1955.

A December, 1959, article in The Modern Hospital titled “Mr. R.N. Is Wanted on the Nursing Team” repeated the need for more and diverse nurses. “Hospital authorities are wondering how long a nation with a critical shortage of nurses can afford such an outworn notion as thinking of nursing as ‘woman’s work’,” stating that 97.6 percent of the nursing workforce was female and that only 225 male students a year were graduating from nursing schools.

KFSN class of 1972 yearbook photo Ricardo "Ricky" Mosqueda, senior

KFSN class of 1972 yearbook photo Ricardo “Ricky” Mosqueda, senior

Sadly, not all pioneers made it from the classroom to the hospital room. By 1972, KFSN students Larry and Gerry had dropped out, but Ricky graduated. For reasons unknown, he didn’t complete his California state board examinations, and we don’t know which career path he chose after that.

The growth in numbers of male nurses is a welcome diversification in staffing. A 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation article pointed out that “Patients are much more receptive to health care providers of similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and that may well translate to gender as well.” And to support those professionals, the American Association for Men in Nursing offers trainings, scholarships and resources.

One example of supporting exceptional efforts is Kaiser Permanente’s Extraordinary Nurse Award Program, which complements existing regional recognition programs and honors nurses that demonstrate all six of the Kaiser Permanente nursing values: professionalism, patient and family centric, compassion, teamwork, excellence and integrity. This year, there are two male winners out of 11 total – Victor Falle, RN, of the Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu, and John Kirk Phillips, RN, of the Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center.

As of 2015, 17.3 percent of Kaiser Permanente’s nurses are men. And we are proud to have male nursing leaders throughout regional and national level positions, including Gregory A. Adams, who was recently appointed Group President to lead all Kaiser Permanente regions.

 

Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/1rXCkih

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Kaiser Permanente Nursing Students Trained with Veterans

posted on November 4, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

KFSN students at VA Hospital, Martinez, circa 1969

KFSN students at VA Hospital, Martinez, 1967

During the Viet Nam War students from the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing (1947-1976) participated in clinical rotation programs in rehabilitation, community, and rural health. For training in psychiatric nursing, many went to the Veterans Administration Hospital (now called the Veterans Affairs Medical Center) in Martinez, Calif.

There, they not only honed their skill in compassionate nursing, they brought comfort to servicemen and women recovering from the war in Southeast Asia.

 

A June, 1967 article in the KP Reporter titled “Nursing students entertain at Martinez” described a successful third year win in a theatrical revue contest:

Reporter 1967-06

“Josephine Coppedge, Director of the School, congratulates the winning [Spring Sing] class.” June, 1967

The student nurses – who have temporarily traded in their caps and uniforms for greasepaint and the footlights – also presented their musical skits at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Martinez the following week. In the past only the winning class has gone, but this year all three classes entertained the patients. Approximately 350 people attended the annual Spring Sing.

 

Snapshots from KFSN alumni from that same year show more of this relationship – a day of physical therapy, socializing, and recreation.

KFSN students at VA Hospital, Martinez, circa 1969

Seated KFSN students, left to right: Linda Stringham, Judy Wigglesworth, Victoire Volf, Victoria Soares, Mary Hoffarth, Mary Thomassen, Nancy Sutherland, Prudence Wolfe. 1967

KFSN students at VA Hospital, Martinez, circa 1969

Physical therapy, VA Hospital, 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to KFSN alumni for help with this article.
Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/1LQCz3V

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Sculpture dedicated to Kaiser Nursing school

posted on July 1, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

“We found our voice, we found our place.” Phyllis Moroney, Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing class of 1957 and President of the KFSN Alumni Association Board.

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Nurses Dorothy Thomas Hackett, class of 1955 (on left), and Bonnie Davis Grunseth, class of 1968, enjoying the sculpture.

The powerful legacy of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing was honored on June 20 when a sea of white caps came to dedicate a sculpture installed at the new Kaiser Oakland hospital, a few hundred yards from the site of the original school. Nurse Moroney, herself a Kaiser baby of World War II Kaiser shipyard workers, hosted this culmination of a multi-year project.

At the end of World War II when the Permanente health plan opened to the public, qualified nurses were in short supply. The Permanente Foundation established the school in 1947 to train more nurses and help alleviate the shortage. Before it closed in 1976 it had produced 1,065 nurses and boasted numerous accomplishments. It trained a diverse pool of highly skilled nurses, and student scores in State Board Examinations consistently ranked in the top three of all California programs, including university schools. California’s first nurse practitioners were trained there by physicians from The Permanente Medical Group so they could better work in a pre-paid healthcare system that focused on prevention and wellness.

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Phyllis Moroney with sculpture maquette

Betty Saletta’s sculpture is an homage to all nurses in the profession, and the nurse’s image was a composite of characteristics of multiple ethnicities, representing the diversity of KFSN students.

The dedication was attended by scores of nurse graduates and Kaiser Permanente officials and physicians, including James Vohs, Health Plan and Hospitals CEO 1975-1992. The school administration reported to Vohs, and he recounted efforts to keep the school alive when California changed its accreditation requirements. Dr. Marilyn Chow, Vice President of National Patient Care Services, pointed out that nurses constitute about a third of the Kaiser Permanente workforce – over 50,000 people. Dr. Chow reminded us of how far the nursing profession has come since the earlier days, when many treatment responsibilities previously only held by physicians are now widely practiced by today’s nurses.

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Dorris Facey Lovrin, class of 1950 and Lynn DeForest Robie, class of 1957B, watching unveiling

Dorris Facey Lovrin was present, a proud graduate of the first class in 1950 who retired last year after 63 years of nursing at Kaiser Permanente. Also present was Clair Lisker, class of 1951A, who became a faculty member of the school of nursing early on and touched the lives of every single student of the school. She was Chief Nursing Office of the Oakland Hospital before retirement. Other nurses added their support for this tribute.

 

Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/1KrtTAV

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Old Oakland hospital holds memories of Kaiser Permanente’s dynamic past

posted on June 20, 2014

Rebuilt Oakland Medical Center
to open for business July 1

This is a view of the old Fabiola maternity wing that was to become Kaiser Permanente's first Oakland hospital.

This is a view of the old Fabiola charity hospital’s maternity wing, built in 1923. This structure was transformed into Kaiser Permanente’s first Oakland hospital, opened in 1942.

By Ginny McPartland
Heritage writer

If the walls of Kaiser Permanente’s soon-to-be-replaced Oakland Medical Center could talk, they would tell an epic story with many dramatic chapters.

The structure – cobbled together with many additions over seven decades – might channel the spirit of the Victorian-era nurses who tended to the sick and injured at the Fabiola charity hospital that sat near the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Broadway from 1887 to 1932.

The first Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospital, which opened in Oakland in 1942, might also reverberate with the heart-wrenching tales of injured World War II Kaiser Richmond shipyard workers whose lives were saved in a refurbished wing of the old Fabiola hospital.

For 40-plus years, the medical facility radiated with the passion of a wiry, red-headed, daring and dashing surgeon who teamed up with larger-then-life industrialist Henry J. Kaiser to set up an innovative, prepaid health plan, first for Kaiser’s workers and then for the public.

Physician founder Sidney Garfield’s ideas were incorporated into the design of the original Fabiola hospital refurbishing; in fact, over the next two decades he would play an integral role in designing most Kaiser Permanente facilities.

For his part, Henry Kaiser made sure the care Kaiser Permanente delivered was color-blind; the health plan embraced all people, despite the fact other hospitals in the Bay Area were segregated.

View of the maternity ward at Oakland hospital 1945.

View of the maternity ward at the old Oakland hospital in the early days.

Kaiser Permanente pioneer Avram Yedidia tells a memorable story about several local policemen who visited the Oakland Medical Center in 1946 with an eye to join the Health Plan. Yedidia recalls in his UC Berkeley Bancroft Library 1985 oral history:

“. . . The police chief said to me, ‘You know, when we walked through, I saw that you had some Negroes and whites in the same room. I don’t think we like that.’

“As I can recall, I responded, ‘Do you know this plan started that way, with blacks and whites in the shipyards, and that’s the way it goes. They worked together, and they were sick together.’ ” Yedidia told the police chief: ‘Those who don’t like it shouldn’t join the plan.’ ”

Phenomenal growth and change in 70 years

The seed Garfield and Kaiser planted in the war years has grown exponentially into Kaiser Permanente as we know it, with 9.3 million members and its significant presence in the national health care landscape of today.

Sidney Garfield, just 36 years old when he and Kaiser opened the hospital, had a vision for preventive care and total health for Health Plan members – a vision that played out in many ways in Oakland.

After the war ended in 1945, Dr. Garfield focused on improving the health plan’s quality by creating educational opportunities for physicians and nurses, encouraging research, and setting up ways members could learn how to stay healthy.

Avram Yeddia on the day he retired.

Avram Yedidia, Kaiser Permanente health plan pioneer and consulting economist, on the day he retired in 1982.

In 1947, Henry Kaiser and his wife, Beth, established the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing and soon the halls of the medical center – expanded by then to 230 beds – were bustling with white-capped student nurses and their strict mentors, all clad in crisp white uniforms and sensible shoes.

Among their leaders was the legendary Dorothea Daniels, who set Kaiser Permanente’s high nursing standards in the early years.

Computer age begins

The Oakland Medical Center also witnessed the queuing up of burly, yet well-dressed longshoremen and other Health Plan members who followed the hospital’s version of the “yellow brick road”, a color-coded tape path that led them through the facility to stations where various tests were performed.

Initially called the “Multiphasic,” these screening tests marked the beginning of Kaiser Permanente’s pioneering work in automated laboratory testing and compilation of electronic medical records, and the Health Plan’s foray into the use of computers in the 1960s.

In 1965, the Oakland Medical Center opened its first specialized cardiac care unit with physicians and nurses trained to use the latest heart monitoring equipment to care for patients.

Nurses use monitoring system in cardiac care unit, circa 1965

Nurses use monitoring system in cardiac care unit, circa 1965

In 1970, physicians in Oakland began a progressive nurse practitioner certification program; specially trained nurses were assigned to see patients who needed routine primary care but didn’t need to see a physician unless a problem emerged.

In 1972, the 12-story hospital tower, which was built on top of the wartime structure, was opened. That extra space allowed Garfield to open Kaiser Permanente’s first Health Education Center, the precursor to today’s healthy living centers.

The Oakland patient education facility was stocked with books, pamphlets, films and tapes that patients could borrow to learn how to prevent and manage chronic illness.

In 1980, new radiology services, including ultrasound and CAT scans, opened on the Oakland campus. In subsequent years, hospital officials established a pediatric intensive care unit and new Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Lithotripsy centers on the Oakland campus.

Garfield separates the well from the sick

In 1981, Garfield was instrumental in the opening of a new primary care center, which was part of his mission to encourage members to take measures to stay healthy and avoid chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart problems and cancer.

Sidney Garfield, MD, Permanente founding physician, walking the walk in Mojave Desert near site of Contractors General Hospital, 1980

Sidney Garfield, MD, Kaiser Permanente founding physician, walking the walk in the Mojave Desert near the site of the first hospital he built, Contractors General Hospital, in 1933. Kaiser Permanente photo, 1980

Sadly, in 1984, Garfield died while still working on his “Total Health” research project. His colleagues finished his endeavor, whose results laid the foundation for the organization’s focus on Total Health that continues today.

The hospital tower that allowed Total Health to spread its wings in the 1970s was doomed in 1994 when the state of California passed seismic safety legislation that required a retrofit of the Oakland main hospital building.

Kaiser Permanente officials decided to replace the hospital with the new Oakland Medical Center across MacArthur Boulevard from the original 1972-built tower. The new Medical Specialty Office Building facing MacArthur opened in January: the new Oakland Medical Center will open on July 1.

Garfield’s Total Health philosophy can still be seen in ways great and small at the Oakland Medical Center, right down to a weekly farmers’ market – founded in 2003 – that served as a template for 50 such markets that operate in communities across the nation today. As the historic structure is abandoned and its memories fade, the passion of its original architect will live on.

Garfield summed up his philosophy of Total Health: “Remember, good health is a way to get more out of your life – more energy, more enjoyment, more potential, more purpose, more life.”

 
Photo history of the Oakland hospital

 

 

 

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Beloved nurse Jessie Cunningham earned honored place in Kaiser Permanente history

posted on May 1, 2014

First black nursing supervisor at Oakland Medical Center:
mentor, pioneer and friend to anyone in need

By Ginny McPartland
Heritage writer

Jessie Head Cunningham as a student at Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing, 1954

Jessie Head Cunningham as a student at Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing, 1954

In an era when registered nurses wore starched white frocks, stylized caps indicating their alma mater, white stockings and nun-like white shoes, young Jessie Head (later Cunningham) dreamed of joining the ranks of those she so admired.

Born in 1930 in Ruston, Louisiana, Jessie moved with her African-American family to Oakland, California, when she was four. By the age of seven, she had set her mind to pursue a career as a professional nurse.

Against all odds, in 1951 she succeeded in her quest to enter the then mostly white world of nursing and to forge a highly successful 40-year career as a Kaiser Permanente nurse and nursing supervisor and a tireless community health advocate with the Bay Area Black Nurses Association.

Friends of Jessie Head Cunningham, also known as Mrs. C, Mrs. Ham and Jessie Bea, gathered recently to celebrate her rich life. She died on New Year’s Eve 2013 at the age of 83.

Career delayed by racial discrimination

As Jessie prepared to graduate from Oakland Technical High School in 1948 (famed actor-director Clint Eastwood was in her class), her career counselor told her she should pick another occupation because “coloreds” didn’t go in to nursing.

Undaunted, Jessie set out to get her nursing education. She applied to several schools that rejected her, but she didn’t give up.  Biding her time, she enrolled in classes at San Francisco City College and UC Berkeley and continued to apply to nursing schools.

In 1951, Jessie was accepted to the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing and became one of the first three African-American women to graduate from the school started by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and his wife Bess in 1947.

A model student and mentor

Jessie Head married Robert Cunningham in ceremonies on May 9, 1954. Photo courtesy of Cunningham family.

Jessie Head married Robert Cunningham in ceremonies on May 9, 1954. Photo courtesy of the Cunningham family.

Jessie was a model student, says Clair Lisker, retired Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center director of nursing and long-time member of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing faculty and management staff.

“In those days we would have meetings at my house to discuss patient care and patient education and all kinds of issues,” Clair recalled recently. “Jessie was a part of that. I remember her asking questions and being totally engaged . . . She would always take new students under her wing; she wanted to be sure they got the help they needed.”

Jessie started her in-hospital training at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center in surgery; her friends say she was always proud when the physicians requested her to assist in the operating room.

One Sunday morning, she was surprised to find her picture in the Oakland Tribune along with her colleagues in surgery. She was wearing a mask, but everyone could recognize her by the distinctive mole on her forehead.

Jessie Cunningham specialized in OB-GYN nursing in her almost 40-year career with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. Photo courtesy of the Cunningham family

Jessie Cunningham specialized in OB-GYN nursing in her almost 40-year career with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. Photo courtesy of the Cunningham family.

She graduated in 1954 and Sidney Garfield, MD, founding Kaiser Permanente physician, personally handed Jessie her registered nursing degree during ceremonies in Oakland.

After graduation, Jessie decided to focus on OB-GYN nursing and she continued in that field for the rest of her career.  In the 1960s, she was the first black nurse to be named supervisor at Oakland Medical Center. She served in that role for 22 years until she retired in 1989.

Also in 1954, Jesse married Robert Cunningham. Son Jeffrey was born in 1955 on the couple’s first anniversary; daughter Robbyn was born in 1957. Sadly, Robert died at a young age in 1979.

Making connections with black colleagues

Dorothy Williams, a nurse anesthetist who started at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco in 1960, met Jessie Cunningham in 1962 when they were both juggling career and family. Coincidentally, Jessie was the nurse assisting when Dorothy gave birth to her second child in Oakland.

Dorothy, originally from Detroit, transferred to Oakland Kaiser Permanente in 1962, and although the two women didn’t work together directly they cemented their friendship. Both earned their bachelor’s degrees in health and nursing administration from Golden Gate University in the early 1980s.

Both were Kaiser Permanente nurses who had found a place where they were valued as professionals despite their race. At the time, opportunities for black nurses were still limited.

Jessie Cunningham, first black nursing supervisor at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center and early member of the Bay Area Black Nurses Association. Photo courtesy of Cunningham family

Jessie Cunningham, first black nursing supervisor at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center and early member of the Bay Area Black Nurses Association. Photo courtesy of the Cunningham family.

So when they heard about the Bay Area Black Nurses Association forming in San Francisco in the late 1960s, they saw an opportunity to help other black women make their way in the profession and ultimately to improve the health condition of the black community.

Jessie and Dorothy dove into the black nurses association’s activities and traveled to many cities across the country attending national conferences after the National Black Nurses Association was founded in 1971. Jessie served two terms each as vice president and treasurer for the Bay Area chapter.

In the local community, they set up health fairs and screening clinics that targeted health problems that especially affected African Americans. Over the years, they were instrumental in conducting community events screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and to help people quit smoking.

Black nurses association community programs also took aim against social problems such as domestic violence, child physical and sexual abuse and illiteracy.

‘Do it right’

Jessie was a stickler for professionalism. “She always said: ‘If you going to do it, do it right,’ ” Dorothy Williams recalled. “She believed nurses should be up on their medical knowledge and follow proper procedures.”

Jessie was adamant about the use of the English language. “She detested it when someone spoke (improper) English . . . She would correct people when they mispronounced a word or used incorrect grammar,” Dorothy said.

Friends and colleagues teased Jessie about her strictness with the language. They said she missed her calling and should have been an English teacher.

Williams says Jessie was someone who would always be available to anyone in need. “If you went to Jessie for help, she wouldn’t let you go until your need was taken care of,” she said in a recent interview.

“Jessie was a good person to know. If she was a friend, she was always a friend. She was outspoken . . . she would tell you what she thought, and she would give you advice – in a loving way.  But she never deserted her friends, no matter what.”

 

 

 

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Deloras Jones – proud graduate of Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing

posted on May 1, 2014
Deloras Jones, KFSN class of 1963.

Deloras Jones, KFSN class of 1963

Article on Deloras Jones as nursing student, Kaiser Steel’s October 1962 issue of Westward magazine.

Deloras Jones (née Plake) is a 1963 graduate of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing in Oakland, Calif. She was featured in an article on the school in Kaiser Steel’s October 1962 issue of Westward magazine, where she was quoted as saying, “This is the most satisfying thing I have ever done in my life.” She adds today that her decision to enter nursing was “by far the most important decision that I ever made. It set me on the right path to a full and satisfying professional career.”

Deloras (RN, MS, retired Kaiser Permanente nursing leader) currently serves as a member of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing Alumni Association Board and is the association’s Heritage Project director.

The alumni association has launched a $100,000 fundraising campaign to commission a sculpture honoring the nursing profession to be displayed at the brand-new Kaiser Oakland Medical Center. Staff, friends, and colleagues are invited to contribute.

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Twice told tales 2013

posted on December 27, 2013
The Honeybee Trio, an Andrews-Sisters-style singing act, bring three Richmond, Calif., "Rosie's Girls" on stage to perform WWII-era favorite "Six Jerks in a Jeep." KP Heritage photo.
The Honeybee Trio, an Andrews-Sisters-style singing act, and three “Rosie’s Girls” perform at the Rosie the Riveter Trust dinner in April. KP Heritage photo.

by Ginny McPartland, Heritage writer

Healthy living benefits, women’s progress, and nursing history among past year’s blog subjects

In 2013, the quest to bring to light the best episodes in Kaiser Permanente’s history led us to a wide range of topics.

Our blog subjects included World War II Home Front stories, a little known saga about pioneering nurse practitioners in Sacramento, and the highlights of the 60-year career of Kaiser Permanente researcher/physician Morris Collen, MD, who turned 100 this fall.

We covered a special event featuring actor Geena Davis that showcased women, including a few Kaiser Permanente leaders, who overcame gender and ethnic discrimination to achieve success.

We got to unearth little known facts about Henry J. Kaiser’s part in the construction of the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge, and we found buried video assets in our archive to tell the Bay Bridge story in film for the first time.

We were also able to produce a video clip capturing scenes of the medical staff who worked with Sidney Garfield, MD, caring for workers at the Grand Coulee Dam site in Washington State in the 1930s.

Healthy lifestyle promotion has deep roots

In our collaboration with the National Park Service, we enjoyed an opportunity to revisit the surprising benefits of food rationing during World War II. We also carried stories of the Rosie the Riveter Trust and its funding of community projects in Richmond, Calif., including “Rosie’s Girls”, an initiative to motivate girls from low-income families in their career choices.

Also, in Richmond, we participated in the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr., volunteer day with Urban Tilth, a growing community garden project that harvests a crop of fresh fruits and vegetables for local consumption. Healthy lifestyles also got a push with a blog about the health benefits of walking.

Mining for history nuggets

Bob Sallis, MD, a champion of KP's "Every Body Walk!" campaign, helped found the Southern California Permanente Medical Group's Sports Medicine residency program in 1990.

Bob Sallis, MD, a champion of KP’s “Every Body Walk!” campaign, helped found the Southern California Permanente Medical Group’s Sports Medicine residency program in 1990.

For Lincoln Cushing, a highlight of the year was the opportunity to interview Jim Gersbach, Senior Hospital Communication Consultant for the Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region.

Gersbach, who was with Kaiser Permanente for 27 years, lived through much of our history and has an amazing understanding of the organization.

The Gersbach interview will find its way into Kaiser Permanente’s collection of its leaders’ oral histories, many developed by UC Berkeley Regional Oral History Office. Here’s a taste of the conversation with Gersbach:

“Having worked (at Kaiser Permanente) for a quarter century, I strangely enough find that I have personal memories about what have now become historical periods of time.

“We’ve been doing this for 20, 30, 40 years, even back in the 1940s.  (Looking back on our history), it’s really about asking, “What are (Kaiser Permanente’s) consistent values that don’t change over time?”

Collaborating to tell our story

Over the past year, we’ve collaborated with our partners at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park to help tell the Kaiser Permanente origins story in the permanent museum displays to be unveiled in the spring. In 2014, we will carry stories in our blog about news and events at the budding park.

Sidney Garfield, MD, Permanente founding physician, walking in Mojave Desert near site of Contractors General Hospital, 1980

Sidney Garfield, MD, Permanente founding physician, walking in the Mojave Desert near the site of Contractors General Hospital, 1980

We also look forward to sharing the stories about the opening of the Oakland Medical Center’s historical displays within the state-of-the-art hospital to open in 2014.

We’ve worked with the medical center staff to congregate assets for dynamic displays to tell the multifaceted 75-year history of Kaiser Permanente, including a section on the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing.

Heritage staff has supplied historical photos and factual material for other publications, including the Kaiser Permanente Procurement and Supply Department’s print newsletter, The Source, which won a national award.

We also contributed to materials developed by the Kaiser Permanente Latino Association and the Labor Management Partnership, which carried several short articles about labor history in the magazine Hank.

Other assets surfacing this year in Kaiser Permanente archives allowed the detailing of Henry J. Kaiser’s role in construction of the Caldecott Tunnel and his pioneering in broadcasting during the 1960s.

We’ve also found material that allowed us to tell tales of Kaiser’s strong personal interest in speedboat racing, and to offer glimpses into his exploits in the manufacture of cars, such as the racing Henry J and the Darrin sports car that caused a stir in the 1950s.

 

 

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Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing highlighted in Oakland history

posted on September 11, 2013

By Lincoln Cushing, Heritage writer

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Kaiser Foundation student nurses get their caps after six months of study. Dorothea Daniels, the school’s first long-term director, far right, and instructor Claire Lisker, a 1951 graduate, second from right, 1954.

In early 2014, Kaiser Permanente will open its rebuilt and expanded Oakland Medical Center in Oakland, Calif.  One of the many features of the flagship facility will be high-tech displays highlighting Kaiser Permanente’s history, including the contributions of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing.

The nursing school display case will include a nurse uniform and cap, photographs, a yearbook, and other memorabilia. More nursing school history will be shown virtually in an adjacent interactive digital screen.

It’s particularly fitting to commemorate the school and its graduates at the Oakland site because the new facility campus encompasses the site of the old hotel that served as the school for nearly 30 years.

At the end of World War II when the health plan opened to the public, qualified nurses were in short supply. Kaiser Foundation established the nursing school in 1947 to train more nurses and help alleviate the shortage.

With approval from the California Board of Nurse Examiners, Henry J. Kaiser and founding physician Sidney Garfield, MD, purchased the Piedmont Hotel at 3451 Piedmont, a block away from the hospital.

The site was across the street from the Albert Brown Mortuary, and by the mid-1960s the school nested in the shadow of bustling elevated Interstate 580.

The accredited Permanente School of Nursing graduated its first class in 1950 and offered tuition-free education and training for its first seven years. In 1953 the name of the school was changed to Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing and it became an independent institution. The last class graduated in 1976.

During its existence the school produced 1,065 nurses and boasted numerous accomplishments. It trained a diverse pool of highly skilled nurses, and student scores in State Board Examinations consistently ranked in the top three of all California programs, including university schools.

For a more complete history see Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing history.

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