Interview with Ida Martinson

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Interview with Ida Martinson

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University of Minnesota


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Ida Martinson begins by discussing her background, including her education and why she became a nurse. She discusses working at St. Luke’s Hospital as a diploma student, working with Christian Family Service Center, studying tuberculosis nursing in Japan as part of the University of Minnesota Student Project for Amity among Nations, going to the University of Illinois for her Ph.D., working in the University of Minnesota School of Nursing as faculty, and going to the University of California, San Francisco. She describes relations between nurses and physicians; the medical technologies she interacted with at St. Luke’s Hospital; and having a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Physiology and in the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Other topics discussed include relations between diploma and baccalaureate nurses; interactions between the School of Nursing and other health sciences schools at the University of Minnesota; interactions with insurance companies; her research in Asia; the building of Unit F; regional planning and nursing workforce in the 1970s; and the Midwest Nursing Research Group. Martinson describes her research, including her doctoral research, doing research in Taiwan, and the Home Care for the Dying Child Project. She discusses doing clinical work when she was a baccalaureate student; School of Nursing curriculum revisions; concern over the shortage of health care workers in the 1960s; the federal Nurse Scientist Program; the School of Nursing’s efforts to develop a nursing doctoral program during the 1970s and early 1980s; the reorganization of the health sciences in 1970; public health nursing; sabbaticals; working with the Human Subjects Research Committee; her work in China; nurse practitioners; the Nurse Midwifery Program; the Program for Human Sexuality and attending a Sexual Attitude Reassessment; efforts by the health sciences faculty to establish a health sciences bargaining unit; the development of the 4 Block Nurse Program; and a nursing exchange program with China. She talks about the faculty at the University of Minnesota while she was a student, Katherine Densford, and other School of Nursing deans.


Ida M. Martinson was born in northern Minnesota. She received her nursing diploma from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1957; her B.S. in Nursing Education in 1960 and her Masters in Nursing Administration in 1962, both from the University of Minnesota; and her Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1972. After she received her nursing diploma, she continued to work for a year (1957-58) at St. Luke’s Hospital, also serving as an instructor in Tuberculosis Nursing. From 1967-69, she worked as an instructor in nursing at Thornton Junior College in Harvey, Illinois. After earning her Ph.D., she returned to the University of Minnesota School of Nursing as an assistant professor (1972-74). She was promoted to associate professor in 1974, and to professor in 1977. While at the University of Minnesota, she was centrally involved in establishing and running the Home Care for the Dying Child Project. In 1982, she moved to the University of California, San Francisco, as a professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing in their School of Nursing. Throughout much of her career, she conducted research and worked at Universities throughout Asia, particularly in China.

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Tobbell, Dominique A.; Martinson, Ida. (2010). Interview with Ida Martinson. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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