Joan Kane '51 alumni spotlight

University of Cincinnati College of Nursing alumna Joan (King) Kane remembers a time when few colleges offered baccalaureate nursing degrees. Her parents, both farmers, couldn’t afford the full cost of tuition, so she worked for two summers in a shoe factory to make up the difference. After she graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Joan worked in hospitals across the country, first as a pediatric nurse and later as a supervisor and clinical instructor.

Joan helped her parents on their farm from a young age. In the photo on the right, Joan (left) is feeding a lamb a bottle.

Now retired from the nursing profession, we caught up with Joan to ask her about her time at the College of Nursing and her personal and professional life.

Q: What are your favorite memories of the College of Nursing?

A: I had a communicable disease rotation in 1950 – the year of the polio epidemic. The University of Cincinnati was the center for polio. I got to work with Dr. [Albert] Sabin who developed a vaccine for polio. Also, one night, a bat got into the unit and – while it was not fun at the time – it’s still one of my favorite memories. We chased the bat out with a broom.

Joan in her student nurse uniform, circa 1947-1948

Q: What are your memories of campus life?

A: I lived in Holden Hall on Eden Avenue, then in a building across the street from [Cincinnati] Children’s. We were allowed to stay out until 9 p.m., and if we wanted to stay out after that, we needed permission. … We had an inspection every morning. You had to polish your shoes and your cap had to be in the correct position. Students ate together. You were weighed often, and if you were overweight, you were put on a diet. … I remember a few pep rallies and football games. There was a pond by campus that we would skate on when it froze.

Q: Who or what at the College of Nursing had the most impact on you?

A: Professor Colleen Seymour, my pediatric instructor. Colleen was like a dictator. You had to be exactly right; however, she was extremely fair and knowledgeable. I didn’t think Colleen was friendly, but I know I got the most out of that pediatric experience.

Q: What did you do after you graduated?

A: I worked at Children’s Memorial Hospital [relocated and renamed Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in 2012] on an infant floor. I got married, moved away, raised a family. I eventually became a head nursing supervisor and a nursing instructor. I got my nursing master’s degree in geriatrics when I lived in Texas.

Joan King Kane, Class of 1951

Joan King Kane was interviewed by College of Nursing student Amelia Wegman as part of the Alumni Discovery Project.

Created By
University of Cincinnati College of Nursing


University of Cincinnati College of Nursing; Amelia Wegman, College of Nursing student; Alumni Discovery Project

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