Shirley Rhoades


Hannah Smith, March 15, 2011
"To me it didn't matter.They were still a patient."
Shirley Rhoades

Introductory Profile: About Shirley Rhoades

Shirley Rhoades had seen many changes in society in her 71 years of life. She grew up in a small farming community in Gonzales County. She grew up in a three generation household with her grandparents living on the first floor of the farmhouse and her parents living on the second floor. From her small one room classroom to Nursing School in Austin, Texas, Mrs. Rhoades has seen a change in how races related to each other.

Mrs. Rhoades is a young looking seventy-one year old woman who appeared healthy and full of life. She was well dressed and her light brown hair was styled neatly. Her posture was warm and inviting. Mrs. Rhoades appeared to live a comfortable life.

Mrs. Rhoades smiled easily during the interview and seemed to enjoy recalling her time at nursing school and her work with patients. She seemed very sincere when she talked about patient care and was very knowledgeable about the healthcare system.

The general mood of the interview was very relaxed and informal. After a few minutes of nervousness, the interview seemed to go at a relaxed pace. There were times when specific details were difficult to recall for Mrs. Rhoades and the mood shifted towards uncertainty or doubt. She would quickly regain her confidence and continue with the interview.

From growing up with parents who in her own words were “racially biased” to being part of a healthcare environment where all people were cared for equally, Mrs. Rhoades has witnessed a wide range of race relations. Her unique insider perspective was interesting to learn about and made the interview go well. I appreciated her time and willingness to be interviewed.