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FRONTIER NURSING UNIVERSITY

How did the Courier Program impact you, your life and your vocational direction? My experience as a courier was an important one in my life. I often marvel at the way Sue Brezec (now Krech), the young Flat Creek district nurse from Cleveland, and I, 22 and 23 years old respectively, had so much responsibility for the health of the people in our district. My first few weeks as a courier were spent at Wendover, and then Katie Ireland sent me to live at Flat Creek to help Sue who was only 22 and was alone. Most of the other outposts had more nurse-midwives and ones who were at least slightly older. Sue was a great nurse-midwife, fresh out of college. We are still in touch today. In addition, I did rounds on Fridays served tea at Wendover and showed guests around, took little Della Feltner for chemotherapy treatments, drove Anna May January and others to Lexington and Louisville, and once helped in the operating room at the hospital in Hyden. My biggest regret is that since the birth-rate had fallen I never saw or assisted with childbirth. Although there was guidance from Wendover/Hyden, Sue and I were on our own and handled many emergencies and day-to-day problems without direct supervision. Sue usually delegated the “psychiatric” cases to me, and it was I who had to take a Jeep up a creek bed to talk to someone who was depressed or who didn’t understand a diagnosis or how or why they needed to take prescribed medicines. Lola Sizemore worked as the secretary at Flat Creek, and I enjoyed becoming friends with her and keeping in touch for many years. One of the “side benefits” of my courier days is that through Katie Ireland’s training and my daily experience I became a first-rate driver of manual shift vehicles and even today there is no driving situation that I can’t handle. I can’t say the courier program directly affected my career, but the experience helped to shape me as a person in terms of feeling confident in difficult situations and in showing compassion. What do you feel is the legacy of the Courier Program? The FNS legacy is that of a small and extremely effective organization that can help people and effect change using very few material sources under difficult circumstances. It was the human talent that made FNS great, and I would hate to see that quality be lost.

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Summer 2016 FNU Quarterly Bulletin Volume 91 Number 2  

The official quarterly publication of Frontier Nursing University