Tales from Kentucky Nurses by Dr. Lynwood Montell, emeritus professor of folk studies at WKU, has been published by the University Press of Kentucky.
Folklorist and oral historian William Lynwood Montell has collected nearly 200 other firsthand accounts to compile his newest book, Tales from Kentucky Nurses. Covering medicine from the early 20th century through contemporary practice, the personal remembrances these dedicated nurses relate reveal the significance of their profession to the Bluegrass state’s local life and culture.
It can be hard to imagine how health care was provided and emergencies were handled over a century ago, especially in the rural communities, small towns, and remote backcountry that make up much of Kentucky. Due to the lack of doctors, nurses, and hospitals in those areas, health care services were often provided by locals using folk remedies. Disastrous injuries, difficult births, and other emergencies often resulted in physical disability or death. But, as local health care became more readily available, with better access to doctors, nurses, and midwives, quality of life dramatically increased. Montell explores this transition, scrupulously documenting the stories and work of the nurses while preserving their individual voices. Montell is the author of several books, including Ghosts across Kentucky, Tales from Kentucky Doctors and Tales from Kentucky Sheriffs.