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Interview with Barbara Galloway Walters, July 2, 2004 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Title:
Interview with Barbara Galloway Walters, July 2, 2004
Date:
July 2, 2004
Description:
Barbara Galloway, a graduate of James Walker Hospital's LPN program and a registered nurse with over 32 years of combined medical experience, recalls the training she received at James Walker Hospital during segregation.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Walters, Barbara Galloway Interviewer:  Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Gerald Date of Interview:  7/4/2004 Series:  Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length:  60 minutes

 

Mims: Today is July 2, 2004. I am LuAnn Mims with Gerry Parnell for the Randall Library Special Collection Series on Health Services of Southeastern North Carolina. Today we are talking with Barbara Galloway Walters who graduated in 1965, a member of the first class...LPN class at Cape Fear Technical Institute.

Walters: That's correct. Yes.

Mims: And, I found her name through Mrs....Mrs. Blanche Ambrose who was her instructor at that time. Um...a little bit of your background Mrs. Walters. Where was your family living, where were you raised, what high school did you go to, any brothers or sisters...

Walters: Okay, I was raised and born in Portsmouth Virginia. I attended high school in North Carolina. I graduated from Williston Senior High in 1957. My family and I...we resided on Nun Street, 514 Nun Street in Wilmington. I have three brothers and one sister.

Mims: What kind of work was your father doing?

Walters: My father was employed as a longshoreman.

Mims: Here in the port of Wilmington?

Walters: Yes. Prior to that he worked at the Naval yard in Portsmouth Virginia.

Mims: And he moved you guys down here for a job opportunity?

Walters: Well, he left the Navy yard and at that time he moved to Supply North Carolina. So I attended high school at Southport and also at Williston.

Mims: Hum...but you graduated from Williston.

Walters: Williston.

Mims: Was your mother working at all?

Walters: My mother did housework. Prior to that, when we were living in Virginia, she was a maid in a shoe store.

Mims: Oh, okay. So you arrived in Wilmington in like the early to mid 1950s?

Walters: No, I would say maybe around...maybe '55.

Mims: Around '55 or so?

Walters: Yes. '55.

Mims: What is your earliest recollections of arriving into Wilmington?

Walters: Well, we moved to Wilmington from Supply North Carolina, so I had visited Wilmington before we moved here. But my father's home is in Supply, North Carolina.

Mims: So not too far from...

Walters: Not too far from here.

Mims: So that's nice. Um...now...you...how did you come by being interested in nursing?

Walters: Well, the way I really got involved in nursing was taking care of my mother. I had moved away after graduating high school and I was working in factories and as a salesperson, that type of thing, and my mother was ill. And so, I came back home to take care of my mother, and my two brothers and a niece. And after my mother died, that's when I more or less felt that I would be staying in Wilmington permanently for a while to take care of my younger siblings.

But then my father...he remarried and I later moved away. But when I decided to enroll in nursing school, it was after my mother had died and I had been taking care of her. So I felt that since she had been so ill for quite some time and taking care of her, and my younger siblings...I felt that nursing was something that I really could do.

Mims: 'Cause you had nursed your mother basically.

Walters: Yes.

Mims: Was that at home or was that while she was hospitalized?

Walters: She was at home and she was hospitalized.

Mims: Which hospital?

Walters: She was hospitalized at James Walker Memorial Hospital. And during that time we didn't have a lot of services that you have now, such as Hospice care or that type of thing and if a member of your family was ill it was just understood that you would take care of them.

Mims: And probably the nursing homes wouldn't even take her, like a convalescent home, cause she was acute...

Walters: Well, I don't even think they had that many nursing homes around then either...back in '57...I don't really think so. But that really wasn't considered.

Mims: Were you the oldest daughter?

Walters: No.

Mims: No?

Walters: No. I have one brother who is older. I have a sister who is older. And then I have two brothers that are younger.

Mims: So how...how do you think it came by you to come and help take care of her? Availability maybe?

Walters: Well, not only the availability, I think it was more or less a thing that was decided between me and my sister...that it was something that one of us had to do. After coming back and forth to see about her and that type of thing, it was finally decided that one of us would have to go and stay with her. So I said I would come.

Mims: I was just trying to get to the root of why you and not your sister. I was thinking maybe you had the more benevolent type, you know, experience with her. That maybe, you know, there was something predisposing you that...that you were gonna...it was going to work out better for you.

Walters: Not really, but I just felt that I could handle the situation better than my sister.

Mims: Right, right. Which is often the case.

Walters: So...yes, so that was the reason why I said I would come.

Mims: So, so this fostered sort of an interest in nursing, but you did not approach nursing school right after this incident. You waited some time then?

Walters: Maybe about a year.

Mims: Okay.

Walters: Because I was still staying in the area my mother died. After my mother died, I was at home and I did not like housework and babysitting and that type of thing...I really didn't like it. And that was really mostly all the type of work that you could get here during that time. So I heard about the school and I said, "Well, I think I'll apply for that," and I was accepted.

Mims: Now see this was not a developed program. It was pretty new. Do you remember how you came by hearing about it?

Walters: I can't recall if it was the newspaper or how I heard about it.

Mims: What interested you in this program?

Walters: Well, mainly...my main interest at that time was trying to find something that I could do and be able to support myself.

Mims: It was also a one-year program from start to finish.

Walters: Right.

Mims: So you knew in that period of time you would accomplish a better situation for yourself.

Walters: Exactly. But, I think with all of the students who were enrolled in that program...they had vast responsibilities, not only themselves...most of them had families and children. Very few of them did not have other responsibilities. I would say maybe three, but most of them had children.

Mims: Looking at the photo that we were looking at earlier, there are some faces in there that look...look a lot older. They look like their maybe in their mid-fifties.

Walters: Some could have even had grandchildren too, you know.

Mims: Right. So, do...do you know if any of them were already in the nursing field in some regard and this would help to solidify their position there...do you recall any...?

Walters: I think some of them might have worked as a nursing assistant or nursing aides...a few of them. I think Ms. Bates, she might have worked as a nursing assistant, but I'm not sure. And I know that Ms. Russ did. But I think Ms. Russ was probably at an age where she could have been a grandmother, but Ms. Bates, maybe...she was in her fifties too...I'm not sure. But Ms. Bates was not married and she didn't have any children. She just resided with her sister.

Mims: Did you look into any other programs whatsoever?

Walters: In this area at that time? No. No I didn't.

Mims: Were you aware that there were programs to be registered nurses at the two different hospitals?

Walters: Well, during that time, I only knew of one place that you could become a registered nurse, and that was at the Community Hospital. James Walker Memorial Hospital was not available at that time.

Mims: We have also been researching that UNCW, Wilmington College at that time, was developing a program around that time. They were starting to get the staff on...and didn't know whether you had seen any newspaper articles...maybe that you would consider coming out here.

Walters: No, I did not know anything about that. But at that time, I think, the one-year program would suit me best at that time.

Mims: I could certainly see where it would be appealing.

Walters: Yes.

Mims: And academically, did you feel prepared to go into this type of program?

Walters: Yes I did. Well, I guess my elementary education and...I was...I attended a parochial school in Portsmouth Virginia...as a matter of fact, all of my sisters and brothers attended a parochial school. And I think I had a pretty good education.

Mims: Well, certainly coming out of Williston...we know, you know, how the graduates from Williston were coming out and certainly prepared. I think Mrs. Ambrose mentioned that there was some type of pre-testing that had to be done and I don't remember if you recall that or not.

Walters: I don't remember. I don't remember that. But I imagine there was. But I don't recall.

Mims: So how did you feel that first day of class?

Walters: Oh, it was exciting, you know, it was quite an experience. But like I said, most of us had other responsibilities too, so I think I would...I think I was more or less like taking one day at a time. You know, you get through this day and then you figure out the next day when you get to it. But when you had responsibilities at home, you know, taking care of your children, taking care of the house...but, in a way, I guess, with children it wasn't that hard because my brothers, they weren't hard to deal with, and they went to a parochial school, so there wasn't a problem about getting their clothes ready for the next day because they wore uniforms.

Mims: That helps a lot.

Walters: So you knew what they were gonna wear, so basically I would just have all of these shirts to do every week, you know, and make sure their uniforms were in order, but that was a help within itself.

Mims: Well, let's talk about your uniform. I understand that when you went to the various medical facilities you had to be in a uniform.

Walters: Yes, you had to be in a uniform. And I'll tell you all about this uniform.

Mims: We're certainly very intrigued about uniforms, mainly because, nowadays you go into the hospital environment and nurses don't dress like nurses.

Walters: Okay. The uniforms were gray. And it was more or less, almost like a pinafore.

Mims: Which was white or gray?

Walters: The uni...the pinafore was gray and you wore a white blouse. I would say it was more or less a...just a plain tailor cut blouse with a short sleeve. Your uniform was fitted personally by Mrs. Ambrose, okay...and she fitted your uniform so that you could not gain an ounce. If you gained any weight you wouldn't have been able to get into your uniform.

Mims: My goodness! She was a stickler wasn't she?

Walters: And, you know, she made sure that they fitted you properly and everything. She measured them herself.

Mims: Um...and the length of the skirt, it was how long?

Walters: Below the knee.

Mims: Below the knee? Did you wear white stockings?

Walters: White stockings, white shoes.

Mims: Okay.

Walters: And you were expected to have your uniform neat and clean, nicely pressed and your shoes were expected to be clean at all times...also yourself and your cap.

Mims: Cap. You brought a cap. Can you show that to me again, I know we looked at it a little bit earlier. So this was the new kind of cap because it says on the tag on the back, "No starch needed."

Walters: It does say no starch needed, so I don't know if they were using other type of caps that required it but this is our cap.

Mims: Uh huh, and you had to bend it into the back and...

Walters: You would fold it...

Mims: Back in the back...

Walters: Into the back...the two sides would fold over...and this was your cap.

Mims: How much detail did she go into regarding, you know, the use of the cap and care of the cap?

Walters: Well, during that time, you wore your entire uniform and the cap was included and it was a part of the uniform. It was just maybe some years later that nurses stopped wearing their caps, but during that time, the nurses wore caps.

Mims: Well, I think she pointed out to us that she really honed in on the cap and I can't remember if she was the one that said that she told everybody to make sure if you go out in the rain to take the cap off and it wasn't to get wet and that kind of stuff.

Walters: Well, you did take special care of it.

Mims: Uh huh. Do you remember how long in the program...how long you were in the program before you received your cap?

Walters: If I'm not mistaken, I think we received our caps along with the uniform.

Mims: Okay, so there wasn't a separate capping like there is for the RNs.

Walters: No, no, no.

Mims: Okay. You also brought your pin. Now this was given to you on graduation, right?

Walters: The pin that I have here...

Mims: Oh yea, that's right...

Walters: Okay. This was the second pin. The first pin that we received was more or less like a token thing because these pins were late coming. So during graduation, in order for us to have a pin, they gave us another little pin. And then when these arrived, we were given these.

Mims: And that became part of your uniform then?

Walters: Exactly. This was our permanent pin.

Mims: Now, after graduation though, you went into a standard white uniform? Was that the attire you would wear professionally?

Walters: Yes, a white uniform. The same attire as any other nurse except with your cap, of course, each school would have a different cap signifying the school that you came from.

Mims: And so with the band and the color on the.. that cap you would be recognized as a graduate of the Cape Fear Technical Institute?

Walters: Right. And an LPN, I would imagine, cause I don't know if any of the RNs had gray stripes or not...I'm not sure.

Mims: I'm not either...not...not locally, but you know, another school somewhere else may have had some kind of banding like that and we haven't gotten into detail on...on a lot of that. I know the Walker and Community both have like a dark navy type band on theirs. It was just a different width. But we've heard that there was a school at...a diploma school at Bullocks but we haven't been able to talk to anybody that actually graduated from there, so we wouldn't know what...there. There's a lot of controversy of course, during this period of time, with segregation. And this is a mixed race class that you were in...how did you feel about that?

Walters: Well, really it wasn't a problem for me and we never had any problems in the classroom. Mrs. Ambrose, like I said, she was a very strict...a very fair person...and she let you know from the beginning that she expected certain types of behavior from you...certain things that she would tolerate and certain things that she would not tolerate. And she more or less let you know this right away. And we were not on the main campus at this time, we were more or less like a satellite.

Mims: Where was this, then?

Walters: I'm trying to think of the name of the school and I can't...but...

Mims: It wasn't the old Isaac Bear building that...

Walters: I think we were in...at an elementary school and a certain part...

Mims: Oh, that's right! Lake...near...now it's like Lakeside, isn't it...high school? It was like Lake Forest.

Walters: I...I...that's what I...

Mims: Yea, that's right, cause I remember she showed us pictures...

Walters: Um hum Lake Forest...Lake Forest...exactly.

Mims: ...of Lake Forest, right.

Walters: And this is where we had our classes. Now that was a white elementary school and I think we were in the basement or the first floor. But we never experienced any problems or anything during that time. Like I said, we had our clinical experience at James Walker Memorial Hospital. During that time James Walker was still basically segregated. Okay, you still had an area that was for black only and you had and area that was for white.

The nursing students trained in the area that was for white. We weren't trained over in the area where the black people were. And we never had any problems in the hospital. The only problem I think that we really had, was when...I'm trying think now, let me get my thoughts together...what happened is, the cafeteria there was segregated and we were supposed to be served lunch after we did our clinical for half a day or if we were gonna be there the whole day, they were supposed to supply us with lunch.

And when we got ready to go to the cafeteria, this is when we were told that blacks were not to be served in the cafeteria. And this created a problem, and so our instructor, Mrs. Ambrose, she told the students that until this problem could be ironed out, no one could eat in the cafeteria. All of her girls ate, or nobody ate.

Mims: I can see...

Parnell: I can see her saying that.

Mims: ...saying that, yea. That was totally fair.

Walters: Yea. So anyway, it took a little doing...they, at first, you know, more or less, had wanted us to go to a cafeteria that was for blacks and the...

Mims: Sort of separate the class in other words?

Walters: Yes.

Mims: And Mrs. Ambrose was saying, "No, not going to happen."

Walters: And we refused too. We said that we would not go. So she said back then, if all of the girls couldn't eat then nobody could eat.

Mims: Was there not an alternative choice as far as like a...a snack bar or something near James Walker that you could have eaten at?

Walters: Well, you could go someplace and buy you a lunch, which we did. That's what we did.

Mims: Okay. But the pre-provided for lunch was out of the question because of the segregation.

Walters: Exactly.

Parnell: How did the other students feel about this?

Walters: None of them had anything to say about it. There were really no comments made about it and when we returned back to the classroom it was never an issue. No one talked about it.

Mims: Where you guys aware that New Hanover was going to be built at this time?

Walters: I do not think any plans had been really formulated for New Hanover...if so, they were just in the works, just beginning to work on that. But I think that was maybe the hurdle that we came to.

Mims: It certainly seems like it probably solidified your class a little bit as far as that the race issue was out of the way and you guys were simply all students in this boat together.

Walters: We were students in the boat together. And another thing, I think with this class, most of the class members in that class, they were like, very busy people. And when you went to school during the day, you were busy trying to keep up with the pace of the class, also keep up with your activities outside of the class, and I don't think you had too much time to think about anything else.

Mims: Well how about at...at Cape Fear Hospital...did you guys ever do your clinicals out there?

Walters: We never went to Cape Fear.

Mims: Never went out there...because I don't think segregation was an issue out there, but I'm not...I'm not sure on that.

Walters: I don't know about Cape Fear. The only hospital that we did our clinical in was at James Walker. And this was during the early stages of integration. I think we had maybe...let's see...I can't recall if this was during clinical or after I started working at James Walker...after I had graduated from Cape Fear...I know there was maybe one black patient on the ward that I worked...or...maybe one or two black patients.

Mims: What...what floor were you on?

Walters: You know, I can't recall what floor I was on.

Mims: What was the specialty?

Walters: There was no specialty.

Mims: It was just like a med/surg kinda...

Walters: Um, let me see how I can describe it to you...during that time you had a mixture of all types of patients. The way the hospitals are separated now into different services...you didn't necessarily have that. The only thing that was really off to itself was the pediatric ward. Everything else was more or less mixed in.

On a typical ward that I...and I can't even remember, you know, what type of service it was supposed to have been...you would have maybe psychiatric patients, you might...in the morning, you would go in with the doctor and you would give electric sh...he would administer electric shock therapy, okay. You might have someone who's waiting to be transferred to a mental institution.

You go further down the hall, you might have a patient with a respiratory disease, or you might have a person with a spinal cord injury, or you might have someone who's had a hip replacement...I mean it was just a variety and a vast amount of experience that you got.

Mims: Goodness. I can't even fathom that today, you know, because...

Parnell: I know. Well then you said now you had a couple of black patients on your ward who were not in the annex.

Walters: They were not over in the annex for blacks.

Parnell: Were they starting to integrate 'em in at that time, or...?

Walters: They had put in maybe one or two black patients. As a matter of fact, one of the patients that I remember, because when I stopped working...when I resigned at James Walker...this particular patient was still there. His name was Wade...and...I think his name was James Wade, and he was from the area on...from the Carolina Beach area. And I think he had a spinal cord injury.

Mims: Like one of the Wades from Carolina Beach?

Walters: Yes.

Mims: Like the Freeman and Wades, and Ludlows?

Walters: Yes. As a matter of fact, I think his mother later attended LPN school at Cape Fear.

Mims: Really?

Walters: Yes.

Mims: Hum.

Walters: And he had been shot in the back or something...I can't remember exactly, but I know he had a spinal cord injury. And he was a young black man, maybe about...oh I'd say maybe eighteen.

Mims: Oh goodness.

Walters: Young...and he was a patient on that ward. And then I remember there was a young lady there and I think she had sickle cell anemia.

Mims: Hum.

Walters: But I think those are the only two that I can recall off the top of my hat.

Mims: Well, I'm glad you could think of that because we have other people that do not recall any type of integration except in...I have heard of some in the labor and delivery section...that they started putting the mommies together and taking them out of colored ward over there because, you know, it was such a hodge-podge and the...the mommies were getting infected, so they moved them over.

Walters: Um hum.

Mims: But that...that's very, very, interesting. When you were doing your clinical work and all your training and everything, did you have to rotate through the different type of specialties at all, or...what was expected when you trained?

Walters: We did. We rotated...we rotated...like we were in the nursery...labor and delivery...and one thing I remember about nursery is that during the time that we were training there, two babies were born with spina bifida.

Mims: Oh...um.

Walters: Yes.

Mims: Would they have been transferred down to Babies Hospital or were they up...over there...at Walker?

Walters: If I'm not mistaken, I think they worked with them at James Walker. I'm not positive on that. I was a student, but I do remember this.

Mims: Yea, uh huh.

Walters: ...because I've never seen it again.

Mims: Really?

Walters: Right. But I didn't work in pediatrics or in the nursery, or anything of that nature...but I've never seen it again.

Mims: What area did you think was the most interesting to you?

Walters: Well, I enjoyed the nursery. It was exciting. But like I said, when you were on the wards, you didn't have specialized services like you have now. It was a hodge-podge of all different types of patients.

Mims: So when you got trained you had to be ready to take care of anybody in any situation.

Walters: Exactly.

Mims: Right. Well after you graduated, what was your intent...was it to work at a hospital or was it to go and do something else?

Walters: To work at a hospital.

Mims: Was it?

Walters: Um hum. I didn't have any intentions of doing anything else. To me, nursing was really a...really rewarding experience. I enjoyed working with people.

Mims: Well the...the whole concept of the licensed practical nurse...in your idea, what...what were you supposed to be taught when you went into the program...and what did you subsequently come out knowing that you had to do?

Walters: Well, when I went into the program, I really didn't know what to expect because this was all relatively new to me. But the clinical experience...all of the material that was presented to us...I mean, it was very, very good training for the field that you were in. And of course, each hospital that you went into is different and as you go along, you learn. You have to...because things are constantly changing.

Mims: Within the hospital setting, what role does the LPN play?

Walters: A lot of times, I think, the LPN does just about the same duties as an RN, but most of the time they don't get the pay that the RN gets, of course. But a lot of your...I'm just trying to think now...they do basically the same.

Mims: Can you note any differences, like contact with doctors...is that the same...situation...you would go on rounds with the physician?

Walters: Yes, you would.

Mims: And you would...have total patient care with your patient?

Walters: Yes, you would have total patient care.

Mims: Distribution of any medication or procedures?

Walters: You would assist with procedures, you would give medications, unless it was an experimental drug or something of that nature, then you might not would give that, but...you did basically everything for the patient.

Mims: You did the vital signs and...

Walters: Vital signs, yes, you did that.

Mims: And so the type of program that you were in, you were taught the total patient care?

Walters: We were.

Mims: I've heard some of the people from the diploma schools talk about the professionalism that was indoctrinated into the...emersion into the hospital setting...as far as, when a doctor entered the room, the nurses had to stand up...was that part of your training as well?

Walters: Well, I think the doctors during that time, were more or less put on a pedestal. But as the years went on, that more or less, changed. I don't know if you stood at attention when they entered the room or, you know, this, that, or the other, but they were more or less put on a pedestal and you were sort of at their beck and call...and you know, expected to do whatever they say at the drop of a hat.

Mims: Can you recall any of the physicians that you worked with either in training or during your career?

Walters: No, not really. Not...uh uh...no I can't remember names, but I do know, you know, like...one particular doctor, he would come into the hospital and he would have patients there and he would give them electric shock therapy and the mornings that these were scheduled, it was always early in the morning and the first thing on your agenda...so you would do those first...early in the morning...I do recall that, but so far as remembering the doctors names and...I can't remember that.

Mims: Well, I can remember awhile back, like when a patient went to have like a special procedure done out of the room, a nurse would sometime accompanying them. Would you have to ever do that...like go to X-ray with your patient or go to...any of the other special procedures...like to go to the operating room with your patient?

Walters: I can't remember that. I don't recall going to the operating room with a person during the time that I was in training for an LPN. No, I don't recall that.

Mims: How long did you work as an LPN?

Walters: I worked as an LPN for...I guess maybe nineteen years.

Mims: Wow! And that was all...

Walters: Maybe eighteen...eighteen.

Mims: ...all at New Hanover...I mean, James Walker and New Hanover, or...?

Walters: No, I only worked at James Walker for maybe about a year and after that I moved back to New Jersey and like, in New Jersey the hospital wards were more or less separated according to the services...and when I was working at James Walker everything was all mixed in together.

Mims: So did you like New Jersey...working at that situation?

Walters: I liked it. Um hum. But...I liked it, but then I enjoyed working at James Walker too because I learned an awful lot there. Like I said, you were exposed to so many different type of patients and like in hospitals in the north, they were more or less separated according services...maybe you would work orthopedics, or you would work neurology, or you would work med/surg, or whatever. But when you were at James Walker, during the time I was there, you had a little of everything.

Mims: I think it's when New Hanover opened...I think they went to that specialization of units. Did you take any additional schooling?

Walters: Well, I went back to...well I didn't go back to school right away. What I was doing is I was...well, yes I did go back to school maybe...some years later I went back and I was taking some courses and I didn't finish that. Then I think I more or less got to the point where I guess in the...what is that...Erikson developmental stage...when you get around the seventh, I think, or sev...well, seventh stage...and I think that's when I realized maybe I was at the seventh stage and I said well maybe if I'm ever going to do anything, I guess it's time for me to do it. So then I started collecting the credits that I had at different places and then I got them together and I decided that I would go into nursing school...again. I was married and I have a son at this time. And I went back to become an RN.

And I figured, well, when I went for an RN, I had three children I was taking care of, and I only had one, so I figured maybe I could do it...but I had a job...so what I did is I worked and I went to school at the same time...and tried to keep a house...called myself keeping house. So I just had to decide, you know, what my priorities are and to do whatever I could do...just make sure everybody had clean clothes to wear and food to eat.

So I went to school during the day and I worked during the evening for a while until it was maybe my last semester and toward graduation. And it became so rough and so hectic until I decided that I finally had to work part time. So in the end, I ended up working part time, but I had made my mind up that I was gonna finish, so I graduated.

Mims: What school was this with?

Walters: Elizabeth General Hospital School of Nursing.

Mims: That's in New Jersey?

Walters: Yes. Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Mims: Was that a diploma school or was it a...a...a BSN?

Walters: It was a diploma school affiliated with a community college. So I received a diploma from the school of nursing and an associate degree in science.

Mims: How did you end up back in Wilmington?

Walters: Well, I retired.

Parnell: You said you were an LPN for nineteen years...

Walters: Eighteen.

Parnell: ...and then an RN...how long were you an RN?

Walters: Oh, I'd say maybe about twelve.

Parnell: Okay. So you have close to thirty years of nursing experience.

Walters: About thirty two.

Mims: Oh my goodness.

Parnell: Um, that's a long...good.

Mims: So eighteen years as an LPN and about twelve or so as an RN. Are you glad you went on to pursue your RN, was it worth it?

Walters: Yes, it was worth it. It was something that I had intended to do a long time ago and I finally got back to it.

Mims: Well, that's...that's great because I know that Mrs. Ambrose had said that she was pleased that you had gone on to other...another school and continued your education. So she must have seen something in you...that she knew you were gonna do this all along.

Walters: Well, I don't know. You know you plan to do different things, but a lot of times your plans are waylaid and you get back to them. And then, you know, too, when you're accustomed to working and having your own money, it's another dent in your pocketbook too...and I remember when I first started back and, like you were talking about the pre-testing before you entered...so I did my pre-testing and everything...so they were telling me, "Oh, well, you're weak in some subjects and you're gonna have to take remedial subjects, and this, that, and the other."

So when I applied for financial aid, it was funny, they wouldn't give me any financial aid. So I went and talked to my advisor again, so I told her, I said, "I'm gonna tell you what," I said, "since I'm the one who have...who has to pay for this out of my pocket, I refuse to take any remedial subjects," I said, "I'm not taking 'em." I told her maybe some of my testing might have been low but I felt that I would be able to hang in there if I really tried, you know, so she said, "Well I'll let you try it and if things don't work out, then you'll have to take the remedial subjects."

I said, "I don't know how I can take 'em, my pocketbook can't handle it." But, you know, I did okay, the only subject that I think I had problems with was the anatomy...part one of the anatomy...and maybe I was taking too much along with that. So, what I did is I just stayed in the class as long as I could and then I dropped the class. And...then the next semester I came back to it again, so...

Mims: It sounds like you were very persistent. You had a goal and you were going to get through to this goal. What is the difference, I mean, since you've experience both of these positions...what is the overall big difference between the two?

Walters: I think when you become an RN you have to accept more responsibility and you're also responsible for the people who are working with you.

Mims: Like supervisory type...issues?

Walters: Well, supervisory type and responsibility, like I said, if you're the RN on the floor, then you're more or less responsible for the LPN and the nursing assistant who is working on that ward along with you...whether you're the head nurse or what, you're still responsible for those people and the type of care and service that they give.

Mims: Did you get another nursing hat and another pin?

Walters: Yes.

Mims: Uh huh. Whenever you were wearing your cap, you would then wear your RN cap, whenever you received that?

Walters: Well, really...what is the question you're asking?

Mims: Well I'm trying to think...you had...received two caps. Once you became an RN then you wouldn't wear the hat that you got previously, right?

Walters: Not as an LPN, no.

Mims: Right.

Walters: I would wear the RN cap, but that's what I was just getting ready to say, as the years went by the caps disappeared, so it would be very seldom that you would see a nurse wearing a cap unless it was maybe some special occasion or something then you might would dress up in your cap, maybe nurses day or something like that, but other than that you wouldn't wear a cap.

Mims: What do you feel about the caps now, I mean...do you think that they should be worn or not?

Walters: The caps were nice and they set you aside and they let everyone else know that you are a nurse, but in a way, they weren't too practical because they got in the way a lot.

Mims: I could see that...so...Jerry, can you think of anything else?

Parnell: I do have a couple questions. I want you to go back to Williston for a little bit. You were there for how many years?

Walters: One year.

Parnell: Just one year, 1957...'56, '57.

Walters: '56, '57.

Parnell: Okay, during that time, Wilmington College was out here; it'd just started back in 1948. They had a branch called Williston College that met at Williston High School in the afternoons. Do you remember anything about Williston College?

Walters: I'm not too familiar with that college, but I do know that that college did exist.

Parnell: Well, Community School of Nursing had a nursing school and their students took classes at Williston. Do you recall seeing any of them over there?

Walters: No I don't, but I was familiar with Community college...ah...school of nursing.

Parnell: Okay. We're looking for...at...to try to find someone who knew somebody who went from Community School of Nursing and went to Williston College...they took classes...and James Walker students took classes at Wilmington College...so...

Walters: I don't know of anyone.

Parnell: Okay.

Walters: I don't know of anyone, but I do know that Community college had a school of nursing.

Parnell: At James Walker they had the annex for the blacks.

Walters: Yes.

Parnell: Did you ever go in there? In your clinical, you didn't go into James...the annex for your clinical, right?

Walters: No.

Parnell: Did you ever...I'm just trying to get a picture of what it was like in there. I had heard that the second floor were nursing residents, so you know if that was true or...?

Walters: I don't understand the question.

Parnell: At the black annex at James Walker...

Walters: Yes.

Parnell: ...the second floor, was that the residence for the nurses, or do you know?

Walters: If I'm not mistaken, the residence for the nurses at James Walker...it was more or less off to the side.

Parnell: Off to the side, okay.

Walters: Yes. And then the area for the blacks was more or less an area in the back of the hospital, but the area for the nurses was a different area.

Parnell: Different...we hear different stories, so we're just trying to...

Mims: We ask...

Walters: I don't mind you asking.

Mims: ...because with both of these hospitals torn down, we have no real idea of like...

Parnell: ...what they look...

Mims: ...well we've got an external picture...

Parnell: ...picture...external, right.

Mims: ...but, you know, inside, we don't know how it was functioning, you know, so...

Walters: Well in...in the area for the blacks it was more or less...I think they might have had some private rooms, but it was more or less like an open ward and beds lined up and then the beds...each one of 'em had curtains going around them. They might have had some private rooms, but it wasn't like a...set up like a semi-private rooms and this, that, or the other, and they had all types of patients mixed in there too, cause it was just a bed and maybe a curtain going around.

Mims: Hum. Interesting. Well, in your thirty years of working in medicine, you've certainly seen a lot change during that...that period of time. Can you think of one thing in particular that...that you noted, you know, in this transition?

Walters: You mean the trans...

Mims: Like technology change or, you know, roles change, you know, what...what...

Walters: Well, technology is always changing, I mean, if you're out of nursing for any length of time, I mean, things are constantly changing and I think a lot is for the better. Just like you would see maybe large incisions, now, for certain types of operations, and now only thing you see is only three dots or three little...you know, so things are constantly changing. But nursing to me, in some ways, I don't know, I guess maybe the technical part, has changed for the better...but I think maybe the interaction between the patient and the nurse...I think that is lacking a lot somewhat...because I think the nurses now have so much writing to do and so many other responsibilities plus nursing now is operated more like a business I think.

And like they say in nursing, that...your discharge planning starts the day that you are admitted into the hospital. Okay, this is what nursing says...and I think that they're really moving that along a little too fast and I think most hospitals, what they're doing now, is they're more or less counting heads...and when I say counting heads, I think every time you bring a patient in, I imagine that's additional money and I think in some instances here, like rushing people out of hospitals a little too fast...and the nurses don't really have a chance to spend as much time with patients as they would like to.

Mims: And also the families.

Walters: Right. Everything is a rush, rush now, you know, get you in and get you out.

Mims: That's a very good point.

Parnell: Yes it is.

Mims: It almost counters what...the training you had...cause you were people oriented and, you know, made...made things better for them.

Walters: And you were expected to take care of all of the needs of the patient. You gave them a bath, you cut their fingernails, you fed them if they couldn't feed themselves, I mean you made sure they had whatever they needed at their bedside...their bell call was there, you know, all of these little things. And now, you know, a lot of times...I've heard people say, "Well, if you go to the hospital...if you can't feed yourself, then you'd better hope a family member comes in and do it for you," so, I don't know...

Parnell: That was the art of nursing as opposed to the science of nursing.

Walters: Exactly.

Mims: Well, I want to thank you so much for being with us today.

Walters: Well, maybe I can help a little bit in what you're trying to find out.

Mims: Oh it's been...it's been great; you've really filled in a lot, so thank you.

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