Interview with Ruth Stryker-Gordon

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Interview with Ruth Stryker-Gordon

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University of Minnesota


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Ruth Stryker-Gordon begins by discussing her background and why she went into nursing. She describes her experiences as a nursing student at the UMN, as a tuberculosis field nurse with the Minnesota State Health Department and doing TB screening in rural Minnesota. She also discusses her experiences as a school nurse, as a pediatric nurse, as assistant director of nursing at St. Barnabas and introducing ward clerks; working at the Sister Kenny Institute; getting her MA in education; and serving on the Board of Licensure for Nursing Home Administrators. She discusses Katherine Densford; Sister Elizabeth Kenny; her husband, Kenneth Gordon; Lee Stauffer; Edith Leyasmeyer; Robert Kane; Owen Wangensteen; Richard Varco; nurses that worked on Indian Reservations (Bureau of Indian Affairs nurses); male nurses; women of color nurses; women faculty in the School of Public Health; recruiting minority students; and faculty of color. She describes iron lungs; living in Powell Hall as a nursing student; the introduction of penicillin; relations between nurses and physicians; interactions between the Sister Kenny Institute and the UMN Medical School; the Shyamala Rajender Decree and pay discrepancies between male and female faculty; and relations between divisions of the School of Public Health. She discusses changes in nursing in the 1960s; faculty in the School of Public Health at the UMN; developing curriculum in nursing home administration; the Kellogg Centers for long-term care administrative education; the School of Public Health division of Hospital and Health Care Administration, its Independent Study Program, and its Masters in Hospital Administration program; the Public Health Nursing program; nursing homes; and funding and space issues in the School of Public Health.


Ruth Stryker-Gordon was born in St. Paul, MN. She received her BA in Public Health Nursing from the University of Minnesota in 1948 and her MA in Education from the College of St. Thomas in 1967. She worked as a tuberculosis field nurse for the Minnesota Department of Health for a year after graduating from nursing school. From 1954-58, she worked as a school nurse for the Minneapolis Board of Education. She worked as a pediatric nurse, supervisor, and instructor at Northwestern Hospital (1950-51), St. Barnabas Hospital in Minneapolis, (1954-58) and St. John’s Hospital in St. Paul (1958-59). In 1959, she returned to St. Barnabas Hospital as an administrative assistant for Inservice Education and Method Studies, holding that position until 1966 when she moved to the Sister Kenny Institute in Minneapolis as the director of Nursing Education and Publications. In 1972, she became assistant professor in the Center for Long Term Care Administrative Education in the Program in Hospital and Health Care Administration in the School of Public Health at the UMN. She was promoted to associate professor in 1979. She retired in 1989.

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Tobbell, Dominique A.; Stryker-Gordon, Ruth. (2010). Interview with Ruth Stryker-Gordon. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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