Beatrice Strauss

I graduated from nursing school in 1947, worked on hospital staff for a few years, and then did private duty for several more years. In 1958 one of the hospitals at which I worked in Brooklyn wanted to set up a Recovery Room. At that time the idea of a Recovery Room had not yet taken place in New York City, except at one Manhattan facility. I was asked to come on staff and work with the Anesthesia Department to establish this new unit. I served as the Supervisor for six years, and during that time I visited other hospitals in Brooklyn to advise them on setting up Recovery Rooms themselves. We also had regular groups of nursing students from New York City schools who spent about one week's time learning what this kind of unit was all about.

In 1964, when our national nursing leadership organizations began to suggest that Registered Nurses should pursue a B.S. in Nursing, I decided that it sounded like a good professional idea. My family and professional friends thought I was foolish to waste my time doing this, with no job and no income, but I went ahead anyway. After I achieved that degree, I went on to graduate school and earned a 54-credit M.A. degree in Rehabilitation Nursing, which also included courses in Public Health. For many years thereafter I worked in Industrial Nursing and Public Health areas.

In 1972 I went to work at a New York-based Senior Citizens Social Service agency. Our office was in Brooklyn, and I helped the agency set up similar programs, that is, Public Health Nursing, in Queens and The Bronx. The programs were very succesful and provded a good bit of health information to the clients served by the agency. Unfortunately, after more than six years the agency decided to discontinue these programs, since (they said!) they wanted to focus only on Social Service. That agency still exists, and they provide numerous services to Senior Citizens, including home-delivered meals, but they do not have any nurses on their staff.

For the last 19 years of my career I worked with the New York Catholic Archdiocese at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. I served as the Nursing Supervisor of a very large Foster Child Care program, with over 1200 children in foster care throughout the city. In 1979 they had not yet put a name to the disease that had been infecting and killing so many people--HIV. We would get infants into care who had been born to drug-infected women who "had some kind of infection" and after about three months in care many of our babies would become seriously ill and die. We gave special classes to Foster Parents about health issues and guidelines on how this strange disease was known to be spread, but people in general were pretty frightened about the matter. Many times the Social Workers would stand across the room from the natural parents to speak with them during family visits. Our nursing staff worked very hard to provide the care and support that these children needed and their care-takers required. After some years, medications were being developed to deal with HIV, and our children were being treated with a variety of experimental medications. It was so gratifying to see that after a while some of our little babies were growing up to be toddlers! And after a while some of them were going into Kindergarten!

During those early years of dealing with testing and diagnosing and then treating children with HIV, I developed some good documents to facilitate all of this, and I was a frequent telephone-consultant to the director of the city's Pediatric AIDS Unit. Needless to say, while the early years of this position were very stressful and the entire time very demanding, it was the highlight of my Nursing career and certainly most satisfying.

I retired on December 31st, 1999.

For the past 14 years I have been volunteering at Blood Donor Drives for the New York Blood Center. I handle the canteen tables, where the donors enjoy refreshments after donating, and I observe them for any untoward reactions, and I help to train new volunteers. When potential donors are deferred because of a low blood iron level, I give them advice about healthy eating. Also, when given the opportunity at the canteen tables, I encourage donors to consider donating platelets. That's because I have been a long time platelet donor and to date I have donated platelets 201 times. Many of these times were double donations, and a few were for specific persons for whom I was a good HLAmatch. I'm very proud of that personal record.

And about 14 years ago I started to take flute lessons. It seemed like a good idea, and I enjoy my music. As soon as I found out what the flute keys were all about, I discovered that I could play anything I wanted to, never having played it before. It might not sound professional, but it's clearly what the musical piece is all about. I attribute that ability and talent to my last name and the fact that I must have inherited something from that late musical genius  Johann Strauss (JUST KIDDING!!)

So that's a lot of information about me and my Nursing career. Thanks to the availability of the Cadet Nurse program such a long time ago, it has been most rewarding.

Last Name in Nursing School: 
Email address:
Relationship Status: 
Cadet Nurse
Deceased Cadet Nurse: 
Nursing School: 
Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn, New York
Nursing School City: 
Nursing School State: 
New York
Graduation Year: