Like many people heading into their retirement years, Ruth Boettcher wanted to capture some her life stories in the form of a memoir. Her recollections of life as a young nurse in a different time is a fascinating read for young and old alike.
Ruth Boettcher, BSN, gained experience in multiple medical disciplines during an extensive nursing career that included obstetrics, home care and dialysis. She also did some volunteer medical work in West Africa for eight years while her late husband, Dave, served as a missionary pastor. The final step in her career featured work as a nurse advocate for senior citizens.
Ruth Boettcher’s memoir relates her journey as a naïve, small-town girl who arrived in Chicago for nursing school in the mid-1960s. The United States was in the midst of a social transition from postwar calm to civil rights and Vietnam era strife. The big city offered a culture shock for Boettcher and most of her classmates at the all-female Rehtlaw Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. They were experiencing their first time away from home, balancing a desire to spread their wings with the strict discipline demanded by house mothers and instructors. It also made the episodes of drama and mischief that much more memorable.
Readers will enjoy Ruth’s descriptions of health care environments that were typical for the day, but would make inspectors cringe by modern standards. She navigated her way through the challenges of relationships, school and potential pitfalls through determination, family morals and the guiding hand of a few angels along the way. Ruth and her classmates displayed a dedication to providing the best care possible in an era when personal touch played a more important role than advanced technology.