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Part Six Straightening Out Clarkson Hospital

In December 1948, Dorothy became a supervisor at Clarkson Hospital because they were having problems. One of the doctors at the Medical Center, Dr. Perrin, asked her to apply and “straighten them out.” Dorothy had already accepted a supervisory position in Long Beach, California, but the job wasn’t scheduled to start for several months. Dr. Perrin told Dorothy that he was sending the nurse currently in the role to school in Philadelphia to learn how to do her job properly. He promised Dorothy he wouldn’t keep her more than six months. Dorothy reluctantly agreed since it wouldn’t interfere with her position in California, but the problem at the hospital was much worse than she had anticipated: “I quit in one week. It was that bad! It was terrible!” But Dr. Perrin told Dorothy she should give it a chance. Dorothy’s mother fell ill around the same time, so she ultimately decided to stay.

Dorothy had the place straightened out in record time: two weeks. Once she introduced some organization around schedules, rotations, and vacations, and planned out schedules for a year, everything settled down. After six months, the old supervisor came back from school in Philadelphia. She started making a mess of everything in one week and was fired quickly. So, Dorothy gave up her job offer in California and stayed on at Clarkson.

At Clarkson, Dorothy was a part of several important achievements. She developed surgical drapes that were used during new procedures and was part of the team that restructured the operating room at Clarkson, which went on to receive the Hospital of the Year award. Most notably, Dorothy took part in the testing of Formula 99, the first antibacterial soap. Prior to this soap, doctors and nurses had to scrub their hands and arms for an average of ten minutes before they could enter the operating room. The only problem with Formula 99 was that it irritated the skin of some of those who used it. Dorothy suggested changing the form from a liquid to a solid bar, which fixed the problem. That bar went on to become Dial Soap.

 

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Part Seven Teaching and Administration

After she left Clarkson in December 1956, Dorothy became a nursing arts instructor at Jennie Edmundson School of Nursing in Council Bluffs, Iowa until 1959. During her time there, Maxine Jacks, Assistant Supervisor to the School of Nursing, pushed Dorothy to pursue further education. Dorothy’s nursing education had been a 36-month program, like many others at that time. She decided to further her education and received her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1955, and eventually her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The University of Omaha offered a Master of Science in Nursing Education equivalent to a strong program in Iowa City. Dorothy got a copy of the curriculum from Iowa and took the extra courses she needed, such as statistics and psychology, and earned that degree in 1959.

Dorothy’s career in medicine included a lot of continued education on