10 Questions with Ruth Matthews Laughlin Strickler ’52

Ruth Matthews Laughlin Strickler

Year of graduation from Mount Carmel School of Nursing: 1952, Nursing Diploma

Other degrees/credentials: In 1969, I took a refresher course at Grant Hospital before coming back to work after my children were in school. A Mount Carmel graduate, Nancy Burns Roux, taught the course.

Professional Highlights: As a student, I did a lot of things for Sister Joan Marie, which included working on St. Brendan’s, which was the senior floor where all the nurses took all of the positions including head nurse and charge nurse. I loved working up there because it was small and you got to do everything. Sister Joan Marie had started that floor and she also started the recovery room, so I worked for her there when it was newly organized. I was hired in the ER and worked until my oldest son was born in 1955. I went back to Mount Carmel after the refresher course in 1969, and then moved to Arizona in 1973. There I was hired at a Scottsdale hospital where I worked in ambulatory care for 10 years. After that I was in home care, hospice and private duty nursing, but during summers when census was low I was a camp nurse all around the country, including one summer on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I retired in 2003.

What is your hometown and where do you currently live? I grew up in Kenton, Ohio, and now live in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

When did you first feel the call to be a nurse? I wanted to be a teacher, but my mother could not afford the education, so I worked away from home as a live-in nanny in Mansfield, Ohio, to earn some money. I lived with a doctor and his wife who was a nurse. They encouraged me to become a nurse; Dr. Scott knew about Mount Carmel School of Nursing and recommended me.

What television show do you have to DVR every week? I don’t do much television, but I like serious movies and enjoy true stories most.

What is your favorite memory of Mount Carmel? I loved it all, especially, living in the dorm. We had so much fun, playing jokes on one another and studying together or apart. We made a lot of dear friends.

What book is currently on your nightstand (or at the top of your Kindle favorites)? I don’t read anymore because I have macular degeneration and had to give up my car too. I’m in process of readjusting my life and am appreciative of the kindness of others.

How has your Mount Carmel network helped you in your life, personally or professional or both? Both – Mount Carmel gave me confidence. I’ve always felt very self-confident in my work, including most of the decisions I made. Many of the jobs I’ve had were working alone, and I always felt so thankful to Mount Carmel that I knew what I was doing. One of my home care jobs (private duty nursing) I took care of a little boy who was a near-drowning case. I cared for him for three years before he passed at age four and I’ll never forget what a precious little soul he was.

What advice would you like to share with other nurses as they move from student to alumni of Mount Carmel? To be friendly and kind to new graduates. Help them along the way and teach them to think ahead. Also, to pray a lot.

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