Interview with Ornell Balzer, beginning with the evolution of her career at M.D. Anderson. She recounts how she moved to Houston after graduating from nursing school and her return to M.D. Anderson. Ms. Balzer then details her memories of time spent working at Baker Estate and her interactions with colleagues and patients.
Date: September 4, 2003
Creator: Balzer, Ornell H. & Brunet, Lesley Williams
Interview with Ms. Renilda Hilkemeyer, beginning with her early education and career. She explains how her career led to working in the field of oncology nursing. In this section of the interview, she highlights the development of training nurses, the stigmatism around cancer, and the value of hands-on experience. Ms. Hilkemeyer explains how she came to M. D. Anderson and the challenges she faced in developing the department of nursing, including staffing, interdepartmental collaboration, and institutional bureaucracy. The interview highlights the social issues of the time especially racial segregation and women in the work place. Ms. Hilkemeyer discusses the creation of a rehabilitation center at M. D. Anderson. She talks about her education programs to improve the care of patients. These broke role barriers and increased nursing qualifications. Ms. Hilkemeyer draws attention to her ground breaking education program for nurses in intravenous and chemotherapy procedures. This section also highlights her involvement in creating master and doctoral programs in nursing. Ms. Hilkemeyer discusses her awards and continued role in institutional committees since retirement. She concludes the interview in discussing the motivations and challenges in creating a child care center in 1963 and the honor of having it named after her in 1981.