I moved to Philadelphia in 1976, and the first thing on my agenda was to get a job. After making the rounds of several hospitals, I made my way to Philadelphia General Hospital (PGH) and applied for a faculty position in its school of nursing.
Philadelphia General Hospital, a tax supported municipal hospital—the oldest in the United States—was located at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard and delivered healthcare mainly to a mainly medically indigent population. The interview went quite well and I decided that PGH would be a good place in which to work. Advised that I must take the required civil service exam, I set out the next day to take the test. As I was walking down Market Street towards City Hall, there appeared some unusual activity around a newsstand. I stopped to take a look at the papers whose headlines screamed, "RIZZO TO CLOSE PGH." With that breaking news, my career as a PGH nurse came to an abrupt end!
Jean C. Whelan, PhD, RN assistant director,
, adjunct associate professor of nursing, University of Pennsylvania, and president of the American Association for the History of Nursing.