Interview with Ruth Coates Beeman, February 10, 1994

Project: American College of Nurse Midwives Oral History Project

Interview Summary

The interview covers the period from 1925-1956. Beeman grew up in a family that preferred home birth. This stood in stark contrast to her experiences at the hospital (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) where she remembers sedation during delivery and the use of forceps. In 1943, she entered a 3-year-program toward a BSN in nursing education with training in public health. Her advisor was Katherine Tucker, president of NOPHN-National Organization of Public Health Nursing. Her tuition was paid through the Army Nurse Corps which, in return, expected graduates to stay on, but since the war had ended there was less need for nurses with clinical experience. She became a staff public health nurse with IVNA.
Beeman was still interested in missionary service and from 1952-1953, she went to Antwerp, Belgium, for a diploma in tropical medicine. She worked on a mission four hours from Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), Belgian Congo (Zaire, West Central Region; now: Democratic Republic of the Congo) in a town on the Congo River called [Cocitteville] [or Coquilhatville, named so by the Belgians, now called Mbandaka]. She describes her work in the child well being clinic which was supported by her church. Beeman does not support episiotomy. The church counselors had advised her to get a degree in public health which she got in 1957 from the University of Columbia, NY, and to become a nurse midwife. Beeman's background in public health nursing allowed for an easy transition to nurse midwifery which she trained for at MCA under Hattie Hemschemeyer. She describes in detail the program and the concept of natural child birth.

Interview Accession

1994oh010_acnm015

Interviewee Name

Ruth Coates Beeman

Interviewer Name

Irene Matousek

Interview Date

1994-02-10

Interview Rights

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Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Beeman, Ruth Coates Interview by Irene Matousek. 10 Feb. 1994. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Beeman, R.C. (1994, February 10). Interview by I. Matousek. American College of Nurse Midwives Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Beeman, Ruth Coates, interview by Irene Matousek. February 10, 1994, American College of Nurse Midwives Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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