Nursing Leadership Grad Honored on Times Square Billboard:
Gertrude Hutchinson’s Work Blends Nursing, Education and Historic Preservation
On May 30, 2018, the famous Reuters billboard in Times Square in New York City lit up with a
tribute to Gertrude B. Hutchinson [D.N.S., Sage School of Health Sciences, 2016]. The networking group known as P.O.W.E.R. (an acronym for Professional Organization of Women of
Excellence Recognized) sponsored the billboard in honor of Hutchinson’s contributions to nursing and education.
Hutchinson said her experience as a critical care and ground and air transport nurse introduced her to teaching — albeit in nonconventional settings, including bedsides, ambulances and airplanes. It also kindled a deep appreciation for the women’s history, social history and public history contained within the nursing profession said Hutchinson, who holds master’s degrees in History and in Information Science in addition to her Nursing doctorate. Today, she leads initiatives that promote that rich history as director of history and education at the Center for Nursing at the Foundation of New York State Nurses and as an archivist for the Foundation’s Bellevue Alumnae Center for Nursing History. She also teaches Nursing Education at the master’s level, and has taught graduate classes in Information Sciences.
MORE ABOUT TRUDY
Early Influences: Hutchinson’s career choices were inspired by her parents. Her mother was a nurse “with the coolest first-aid kit on the street,” she said. “Whenever kids in the neighborhood hurt themselves, they came to our house.” Her father was interested in genealogy. “I remember all his family stories, but not his voice,” she said, describing her special interest in recording oral histories.
At the Center for Nursing: Hutchinson manages the archives at the Center for Nursing at the Foundation of New York State Nurses, which contain 82 collections of artifacts and ephemera from nursing schools, hospitals and nurses . Items include a public health nurse’s bag from around 1918, admiralty flags from the U.S. Public Health Service, original Florence Nightingale letters and much more. Recently, Hutchinson has been collecting oral histories from the leadership at the New York Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders, to commemorate the organization’s 25th anniversary. She hosts nursing students from across New York at the center as part of their Leadership and Development curriculum, and regularly presents educational events for nurses and the general public, both at the Foundation and in the community.
Women of Influence: Hutchinson’s dissertation for her degree at Sage was a qualitative historical research study on the women who established nursing schools in New York State between 1872 and 1930, and included a discussion of the leadership qualities and social networks that supported the success of these unsung heroines. “Many had revolutionary war ancestry connections, and many were involved with the U.S. Sanitation Commission during the American Civil War,” she said. “Many were not nurses, themselves, but were activists who wanted to improve the health of their community.” These women who knew and encouraged each other include Russell Sage College founder Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, and Louisa Lee Schuyler, founder of the Bellevue Training School for Nurses in New York City, the first nursing school in the U.S. founded on the Nightingale Model.