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MACDONALD, CALVINA

MACDONALD, CALVINA (12 April 1874-21 Nov. 1944) was a nurse and administrator who was a leader in bringing modern maternity care and obstetrical nursing methods to Cleveland.

MacDonald was born in Nova Scotia, the daughter of Archibald and Jane MacDonald. She began her career as a school teacher in Chatham, Ontario. She switched to a nursing career and practiced for five years in Boston, where she specialized in maternity cases.

In 1908 she came to Cleveland and worked with Dr. Edward Cushing, who convinced her to remain in the city. When MacDonald joined Maternity Hospital she was shocked at the conditions she found; the mortality rate for both mothers and infants was high. Upon becoming superintendent of nurses she instituted new methods, new equipment, new standards of cleanliness, strict discipline, and a new attitude toward patients. These improvements were credited with saving hundreds of lives.

MacDonald also helped improve conditions at the hospital's seven city-wide dispenseries. She continued her work when the new Maternity Hospital was built in 1925 as part of the University Hospitals (see UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS OF CLEVELAND) group. She later served as an assistant director of University Hospitals in direct charge of Maternity Hospital.

She retired in 1933, and three years later Maternity Hospital was rededicated as MacDonald Hospital for Women in recognition of her work as a nurse and administrator. Her work helped bring Cleveland's infant mortality rate to the lowest among the nation's 10 largest cities.

MacDonald never married. She died in Cleveland and was cremated.