Local author presentation Dec. 1 at Fontana Public Library; Event to include book signing by Fontana author
Published in September by Charleston, SC-based Arcadia Publishing Co., the history book “Evanston Hospital School of Nursing: 1898-1984” is the collaborative work of two Class of 1972 alumni, Barbara Ann McQuillan of Mount Prospect, Ill., and dr Carolyn Hope Smeltzer, of Fontana, Chicago and Juno, Fla. Smeltzer will be the featured guest of the Fontana Public Library for a free admission Thursday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m. presentation and book signing program at Fontana Village Hall.
Local author Carolyn Hope Smeltzer, RN, Ed.D, will be the featured guest of the Fontana Public Library for a free admission Thursday, Dec. 1 presentation and book signing program.
Dividing her time between Fontana, Chicago and Juno Beach, Fla., Smeltzer, a Class of 1972 alumnus of the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing in Evanston, Ill, north of Chicago, will be talking about her new book “Evanston Hospital School of Nursing : 1898-1984,” co-authored with classmate Barbara Ann McQuillan, of Mount Prospect, Ill. Following graduation in 1972, McQuillan spent her entire nursing career at Evanston Hospital.
On Dec 1, Smeltzer will also speak on her time at the school from 1969-1972 and how nursing education and the professional field of nursing has changed over time.
“A lot of people around here are from the Chicago area and I thought a lot of people might remember Evanston Hospital and its School of Nursing,” said Sally Lee, Adult Program Coordinator at the Fontana Public Library. “I thought it would pique their interest. Besides that, it’s interesting to see how nursing has evolved. And Carolyn lives around here, too. I thought it would be an interesting program.”
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Evanston Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1972 alumni Barbara Ann McQuillan (left), of Mount Prospect, Ill., and Dr. Carolyn Hope Smeltzer, of Fontana, Chicago and Juno, Fla., are the co-authors of the history book “Evanston Hospital School of Nursing: 1898-1984,” published in September by Charleston, SC-based Arcadia Publishing. Smeltzer will be the featured guest of the Fontana Public Library for a free admission Thursday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m. presentation and book signing program at Fontana Village Hall.
Smeltzer feels her Dec. 1 book presentation, which weaves “past history with vintage testimony” from Evanston Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1972 alumni, will have broad appeal.
“Everyone knows a nurse,” she said. “You probably have one in your home, or in your family. Do you know how they got educated? Do you know how they used to get educated? You’ll want to know the history of how nursing education started in the United States, more specifically right around this area in Evanston. There’s some unbelievable stories which you will not believe, but they’re all true. It’s gonna be really interesting.”
Smeltzer was planning a 50th Evanston Hospital School of Nursing class reunion celebration and realized that very little, if any, memorabilia from the school, disbanded in 1984, was left at the original hospital, now part of NorthShore University HealthSystem.
As Smeltzer was planning the Sept. 21-22 reunion, hosted at various Walworth County sites including her seasonal Fontana “Flower Cottage” residence, the George Williams College School of Nursing in Williams Bay and the Lake Geneva Country Club, she asked her classmates three Questions—how did they select the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing, what were some memories about dormitory life, and what was the lasting impact and legacy of their time and nursing training at the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing over the last fifty years.
Because the answers brought back so many good memories, memories that student nurses would not believe today, instead of preparing the typical reunion booklet Smeltzer and McQuillan decided to write a history book, since there was no book out on the history of diploma schools of nursing and the nurses who attended those diploma schools, which have become a dying breed.
Determined not to let the history of the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing and the nation’s pioneering diploma schools of nursing die, Smeltzer and McQuillan between February-May 2022 wrote the richly illustrated 128-page book, which includes a foreword by John Tressa, chief nursing officer for Evanston-based NorthShore University Health System, a teaching affiliate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
“It is the only diploma school book that’s ever been published on how nurses got educated,” Smeltzer said.
While Smeltzer will focus her Dec. 1 presentation on the history of Evanston Hospital and the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing, Smeltzer said the story told is universally applicable to the development of any hospital in the 1800s and nursing schools of the era.
“If you are a nurse or faculty who taught in a diploma school, you can substitute your school name and the memories and stories will be the same,” Smeltzer said. “There will be artifacts at the presentation to make history come alive.”
Founded in 1891, Evanston Hospital opened its nursing school seven years later in 1898, providing nursing education at a reasonable cost while the students provided care to patients in between studies. In its first 50 years, the school graduated 1,157 nurses, with the first class of two graduating in 1901.
Like other nursing diploma programs, the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing flourished until educational costs escalated, technology boomed, training methods evolved, and a conversation about where and how nurses should be educated began. After 86 years of training nurses, the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing closed in 1984.
Using historical images and alumni recollections, “Evanston Hospital School of Nursing:1898–1984” highlights the marketing, education, curriculum and values of the Evanston Hospital School of Nursing, as well as alumni remembrances of their educational experience and dormitory life.
The 6:30 pm presentation and book signing on Dec. 1 will be held upstairs from the library in the meeting room at Fontana Village Hall, 175 Valley View Dr. (State Hwy. 67).
Books will be available for purchase, as well as signing and personalization by Smeltzer, who will be wearing a vintage candy-striper outfit and bring a variety of nursing memorabilia to the event. The cost for the books, which retail for $23.99, will be sold at a discounted price of $20 each.
For more information, call the Fontana Public Library at 262-275-5107 or visit https://www.fontana.lib.wi.us/.
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