Two Nurses, Generations Apart, Reflect Upon the Nursing Profession
A Tribute to National Nurse’s Week
Frances Levitz (Frilly) and Madeline Presz love being nurses. Frilly, as she is fondly called, is 99 and a resident at Ruth’s House Assisted Living. She worked as an RN for 50 years. Madeline Presz, or Maddy as she prefers to be called, is 48 and a RN as well as the Executive Director at Ruth’s House.
Frances (Frilly) attended Stanford Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1944. She started her career at Stanford Hospital in the general medical surgical area but was able to move around to different hospitals, obtaining experience in several areas of nursing. During the Vietnam War, Frilly joined the Army and served as an Army nurse for one year. During her time in the Army, Frilly met the man of her dreams, Dr. Levitz (who was also serving in the Army), whom she married and the two raised a family. Frilly enjoyed the excitement of traveling to several countries when her husband was sent to different Army Hospitals throughout the world. She spent many years in France, where she continued to work as a RN in various hospitals. After experiencing diverse specialty areas, Frilly decided that her favorite area of nursing was Obstetrics. She worked for many years as an OB nurse in her husband’s OB/GYN practice.
Madeline Presz has been a nurse leader on the JGS campus for five years. She graduated from Elms College in Chicopee, MA and has been a nurse for 27 years.
In honor of National Nurses Week, Maddy asked Frilly to share her thoughts on nursing, the pandemic and what being a RN meant to her.
Madeline Presz: How did you become interested in nursing?
Frilly Levitz: I wanted to be a doctor but I couldn’t afford to go to med school. So I became a nurse instead. To me, that was the next best thing.
Madeline Presz: I have been lucky enough to experience many different situations as a nurse and work in a variety of settings. I think my time spent in the ER was the most exciting, but my favorite area of nursing has been hospice. What was your favorite part about being a nurse?
Frilly Levitz: I loved obstetrics because, at that time, it was such an important part of the nursing profession. Women needed nurses to delivery their babies. As you can imagine, I delivered a lot of babies!
Madeline Presz: Throughout my career in hospice nursing, I had the honor of taking care of some incredibly special people and helping families through some difficult times. I think those experiences have made me the nurse I am today. Can you share with me your favorite story about your nursing career?
Frilly Levitz: I was a nurse in the Army during the Vietnam War. It was hard taking care of injured soldiers. After one year, I decided it was not a good fit for me, but the only way they would let me out was if I got married. So I looked around and found Dr. Levitz. I told him that he needed to marry me so I could get out. And that’s exactly what he did!
He was a doctor in the Army and after we were married, Dr. Levitz and I were able to travel all over Europe, visiting different hospitals to see what people really needed. I loved the travel and was glad to help my husband. When he retired from the Army, he opened his own practice and I was fortunate work with him. We made a great team.
Madeline Presz: I am so grateful that I am able to work at Ruth’s House Assisted Living. I get to meet such wonderful people and hear stories about their lives. I am thankful that I met you and have had the opportunity to get to know you. How do you feel about living at Ruth’s House?
Frilly Levitz: I am very happy here. The care that I get is excellent!
Madeline Presz: In honor of Nurses’ Week, what do you want people to know about the nursing profession?
Frilly Levitz: Nursing is hard work, but it is also extremely worthwhile. I think it is a wonderful career to have, especially if you enjoy helping people. I am so glad I became a nurse.