This book began with my gradual realization of the invisibility of nurses and nursing practice in the history of health care. The absence of the richness of the experience of nurses with patients in histories is similar to the anonymity of women in written histories. This idea matured into a focused study of the development of critical care nursing. An endeavor that grows as this one did, using oral history methods, is not accomplished alone. Many individuals very generously and graciously contributed to the dissertation research at Emory University that was the foundation of this book. The late Fred R. Crawford, Professor of Sociology, was the first to share with me his vision of the significance of the voices of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances in revealing the human spirit. The late Jack S. Boozer, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Religion, Emeritus, and David R. Blumenthal, Professor of Religion, both nurtured that interest and encouraged the development of critical thinking essential to the accomplishment of scholarly research. Solomon Sutker, Adjunct Professor of Sociology, supported me through this effort with his friendship, his caring, and his scholarly criticism. The advice of Allen Tullos, Associate Professor, American Studies, Institute of Liberal Arts, to "let the interviews tell the story" was the guiding force behind the interpretation and writing. LaRetta Garland, Professor of Nursing, Emeritus, and Elizabeth Stevenson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Studies, Emeritus, gave generously of their time and skills, both during the original research and through later revisions.
Oral history requires technical expertise and resources. I have been blessed with both. Steve Ellwood and Corky Gallo, Media Department, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, offered valuable technical support in planning and executing the interviews. Their advice on audiotape software, instrumentation, and variables affecting sound quality greatly enhanced the quality of the taped interviews with critical care nurses. Marilyn Eckstine showed both her friendship to me and her expertise in administration through her efforts in obtaining skilled assistance for transcribing the twenty-five interviews.