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Interview with Mildred Jones Floyd, May 18, 2004 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Mildred Jones Floyd, May 18, 2004
May 18, 2004
Mrs. Mildred Floyd is a 1950 graduate of the Community Hospital School of Nursing. Born and raised in a rural town in eastern NC, Mrs. Floyd came to the school as she always wanted to be a nurse. Her career included various positions within the Community Hospital as well as head of the OB/Gyn ward there. Later when New Hanover Hospital opened, she went into educational department and trained new personnel. Her memories include her time in training, physicians and staff of Community Hospital and follow-up with the Alumni Association.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Floyd, Mildred Jones Interviewer:  Mims, LuAnn Date of Interview:  5/18/2004 Series:  Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length:  115 min


Mims: Today is May the 18th, 2004. I am LuAnn Mims with Gerry Parnell for Randall Library Special Collections and our series on Health Services of Southeastern North Carolina. Today we are talking with Mrs. Mildred Jones Floyd who is a 1950 graduate of Community Hospital School of Nursing.

Floyd: Right.

Mims: All right…can you give us a little bit of personal background, tell us where your family is from and your father’s occupation and your…what your family was like.

Floyd: Well, my family…we’ll start…my mom and dad grew up in Martin County, that is my mother. My father…my father grew up in Martin County…let me back up here…but my mom was from Edgecomb County, which joins Martin County. And there were nine of us. My mother and father were farmers, independent farmers, because we did the work.

Plus it was my parent’s property. And we always had a part on the farm. And to help with the farming, to bring us up to date…to keep us up to date with the farming…since that was our livelihood, we had the farm agents, and there were the home agents. I think they probably call the home economists now. And so every time there was something new happening on the farm, when it came to vegetables, or agricultural products, my dad had it too. And of course the home agent had them too.

So we had somebody in the fields with us and we had somebody at the house with us…and to help us deal with the yards. We had projects…the children had projects with flower gardens, and we even had our little…our own little gardens that we dealt with. Each one competed with the other to see who could do the best. And then those educators would have associations, they claim associations, but everybody in the county at one time…this is…we’re still talking about the farmers…and we would attend those…there would be everybody with the…with the prizes.

And I remember my brothers had a heifer for the baby oxen, I would call it, and they would take those. And by the way, my father had a Model T truck… which would soon go on to be a Model A car. I know you don’t know anything about those.

GP: Oh yea.

Mims: All nine of you couldn’t have ridden in it…

Floyd: Well, the…the truck…

Mims: You could all sit in the back?

Floyd: It had a…a body to it. That’s what they called it. And there were seats that could fit in there.

Mims: Wow.

Floyd: All of us could go, and sometimes my dad had room enough for somebody else, he would take with us. And there would be all of the grooming and what not done for the animals the day before they were going. And once they would get there they would be grooming them again, brushing them down, and watering them, and giving them the…the incentives.

And they knew what they were too. Like the cow would get some cottonseed meal, they called it. And it really made the cow give more milk and that would be shown at this…it looked like a fair really…at these associations. And I’ll never forget, the cow we had could give five gallons of milk a day.

Mims: Wow.

Floyd: And I can tell you she did, ‘cause I was the one that did the milking. And just before she would get the milking in the morning…get the cottonseed meal in the morning, along with other food…but this was special, this was always special. And she got it every day, and I would give it to her. And mind you, I had to go to school after milking the cow. And the school was in talking distance. You could yell over there and they could hear you. And…and later on when the school closed, my dad and mama would go on to buy the school.

Mims: Oh?

Floyd: And so their…and too, it joined our property.

GP: How many acres did ya’ll have?

Floyd: That was twenty-five right there where we were, but there was some across the street. My dad had said that there were five…five acres there. But all you had to do was just cross a road then, because it was paved only recent. And so that is…I was talking about how…what the association was like and what was done before in preparations and what they did.

And they did get awarded very well. It was always something that they could use…that could be used on the farm to help them continue all the good work they was doing. And of course we were to…we had monies to go to the…to camp. And at that time…at one time, there were four of us that could work sufficiently on the farm.

Mims: What crop was it?

Floyd: Oh, there were those…to me, a lot of them! One was tobacco, another one was peanuts, corn, tomatoes…when you talking about…oh, and soybeans. There were…and by the way, my mother used as many as she could and wanted to of the soybeans…had enough to make a lot of peanut butter. Except it was called the soybean butter. But it taste just like peanuts.

Mims: Really?

Floyd: Um hum, very good. And she was taught to make crackers and…and I really liked…we all liked those because they weren’t made in the little squares, they were big cracky crackers with just a little bit of salt on them, not very much. And so that would be one of…one part of our school lunch when we went off to high school.

Mims: What high school did you attend?

Floyd: E. J. Hayes High School in Williamston, which was five miles away. And in speaking about the schools, my mother and my father and the community people, which were not too many people that were farmers. They farmed but they were what they called the share farmers. Some of the help that my father used was community help, by hiring those.

And I won’t forget, we had to…like this afternoon…we had to get in the gardens and pick beans and cut the collards and cabbage…all the vegetables…potatoes. At that point we knew what kind of food…nutritious food we should be eating and so my mama…we would all chip in and help to prepare these foods. And when my dad went to pick up…they could be men…they would be men and women, because when it came to tobacco…tobacco requires quite a bit for working.

You had to have the…those that picked tobacco, which were men, and then speaking of tobacco, he did have to hire some men in the beginning, but when my brothers grew older then they became those that would sit up on the tractor and crop the tobacco. And my dad drove the tobacco and they could…and they, they were little fellows too. They were old enough to work, and to be trusted to work.

And so…and the women…at the loop in time, I started out talking about…the women would do…were putting it on the stick and they had this tobacco…a ball of tobacco thread which was as big as, oh, as a big nice orange I would say. And they knew just how to tie that on their stick and throw the whole ball across something up there. I used to just love to stand and watch them do it.

Mims: So you were one of the younger children?

Floyd: Yes, I am the fourth child.

Mims: The fourth child.

Floyd: And there are two…two others…and I have to…excuse me for pausing right here but I…every time I would say something to somebody recently, I get my numbers wrong when it came to my sisters because I just lost a sister. So I have…there’s…there’s one that lives in Greensboro, and one in Williamston when it comes to sisters, and then I’m the third daughter. And then my brothers that are living now…one lives in Oak City, which is about nineteen miles from Williamson, and there is another brother that lives in Goldsboro. They are two Vietnamese soldiers.

Mims: Oh, okay.

Floyd: One was in the Army and the other in the Air Force.

Mims: Well, how did you get interested in the field of nursing…coming from this farm family?

Floyd: Well, talking about school, the way we got to school at first, we walked to school. We got up…we would get up and do what we had to do before we left home, like making your beds and doing all the washing…my mother never had to wash. And be ready for school and walk. Because back then there were very little cars you know on the highway then, and so there was no dangers.

And when my mom and dad called a meeting about needing the bus, everybody agreed and they went to the County Commissioners meeting one night and shared their interest there as to the needs for this bus. So they were told right away, “If you would get some monies together, like fifty dollars…the first fifty dollars, then we will put in the other.” And so, everybody went for that one too, and so then that’s where that was, the starting of the school buses.

Mims: Um hum. And that was to take you to the high school or the elementary school?

Floyd: That was the high school. Elementary school is the one…

Mims: Close by. Um hum.

Floyd: …in the community that they did away with then because we went to school in the seventh grade and then after that, seem like schools were just popping up out in the country…in different sections. The section we was in was called Williams Township, and there was a Rogers, and then there was a Jamesville. Jamesville was another five miles away, going in a different direction. Jamesville is like going to Plymouth.

And…yea…and they continued to grow and school busses continued to operate to travel and more of those were being added, because there were lots of people to go to school. And so when you asked me how did I become interested in becoming a nurse…well, when I was growing up with these brothers and sisters, the closest teacher lived five miles from…from Williams Normal school…so, and they roomed with us. Two teachers roomed with us in our house.

And…and they would share their interests with us. They would…just like they were home. My mama and dad…they act like they were one of the children. And one night while my mom and dad were at church, I became ill. This was in the springtime. And that day we had been…you know what a honeysuckle is?

Mims: Um hum.

GP: Um hum.

Floyd: Well, we liked honeysuckles, all the children around liked honeysuckles and we like…what we liked…loved to do best was run through the woods out there among the honeysuckles. And they had the pretty blooms and they smelled nice, and they had these honeysuckles that bloomed on the honeysuckle bush…these green things, sour things.

Anyway I had eaten some of those and so while they were at church, my mom and my dad, I could not breathe well and I went, knocked on Ms. Walker’s door and told her I was sick. She asked me, “Well what is wrong?” I told her. She said, “You can’t breathe?” I said, (knocked my heart). She went and got some menthol that she had and put it in some hot water and made me hold my head over it so I could inhale it. So that was what brought about the dilatation of my…my vocal cords and all of that.

And I could breathe well when they got home from church. But at the same time she’s telling me…asking me…in the beginning I told her I went out to eat and what not and she said, “Now don’t you eat anymore.” I told her I wouldn’t. She said, “You know, I wanted to be a nurse once?” That’s how…that’s how I know how to do what I’m doing.

Plus she had a cloth and she heated it and she spread some menthol on it and put it across my chest, and it was nice and warm and I was breathing very well. And so…and so that became a part of being a nurse but you know about how much…how limited my knowledge was with what she had told me. So I said, “Well, I’m going to be a nurse.” But I really did not think I had to go through all that!

Mims: It sounded like a good idea.

Floyd: But it did me so well and I thought to myself, well if I could do this I’ll be a good nurse cause I know how. I had been taught and taught well. I was the patient and I could be the nurse too.

Mims: Well that’s interesting. So she fostered this interest in you, at least sparked the curiosity for you.

Floyd: That was one curiosity. Alright, I told you the busses were going and all of this…cause I was…these times are different, because I was, oh, I must have been about maybe four or five when this happened…this menthol…but one day as the bus was bringing the children home, I remember they too had grown, at that time, old enough to go to the high school.

And when one student was getting off the bus, she got off the bus, and the car…the cars…well, this particular car did not stop. And she was gonna go across…get off the bus, walk across the street, to her sister’s house because that was where she always got the bus. And when she did it just threw her up over that embankment and broke her legs, and she just had a lot of compound problems. And my dad took all of us in his truck to the hospital, which was in Washington, North Carolina.

Mims: Okay.

Floyd: We lived twenty-three miles from Washington. So when we got there, I thought to myself, this doesn’t smell like a hospital, this smells like something dead. And we were in the hall…they had these long halls like the hospitals have now, and I remember this good looking nurse came out there and she said, “Who do you want to see?” so my older sisters told her. She said, “You can’t go in there.” And then I put two and two together and I heard her moaning, and then I got that with it too, so I put all these things together.

The odor, the groaning, and so I just stood…and now we can’t see her…so why can’t we see her? Well, the nurse was real busy, you could see that, she was going from room to room. And, but I kept standing in the hall watching this nurse, and she was the only nurse I saw. So one of those times I noticed she stayed in one room a long time. So that was when I went in to see where all this noise was coming from and I had already decided it was wasn’t Mellette, our cousin.

And I was so overwhelmed…and she came in and caught me and she took me by my hand and she said, “I told you not to go in to this room. Do you know you could get gas gangrene?” I didn’t know what that was. But she…she’s talking to me while she’s taking me out of there too, but she was a sweet as she could be trying to tell me and tell me in a nice way. And I’m standing there with my mouth wide open. But when I told the others what happened, they didn’t dare come over there after that.

But I came out and said, “She said if I got in there I could get gas gangrene.” I said, “I wonder what in the world is that?” I looked at my hands, I couldn’t see a thing. I had something else to think about. I went home and told my mama, and she said, “Well what’s she’s trying to tell you, that you could get something from being in there.” Oh, and I told her how she smelled. She said, “What she is trying to tell you is that something had happened since she had…since she was in the wreck. And whatever happened there, you can get it now.”

So I still couldn’t understand that but her mother was with her but her mother has…but her mother stayed in the room all the time. That was something else I couldn’t understand. Well, I…I’m sure that they let her stay in there but they told her not to touch her. But she’s sitting in there smelling all this…but she died.

Mims: As a result of the accident?

Floyd: Gas gangrene had already set in.

Mims: Really?

Floyd: And that’s what I was smelling…cause it…you call it a street virus ‘cause see she fell into the dirt and all that kind of stuff. Plus the injury brought on deterioration and she…that flesh was black, and…but she didn’t have time to try and explain all that to me, she had other work to do. But she did enough to…I was out…I was obedient at the time she told me that. And so that was something else. I said to my mama, “I got to find out what gas gangrene is.” So I had some things to put together, and so that’s what I did.

I went up…well, something else I learned too from…my daddy’s uncle was in the same hospital and he was telling his weird tale about people being in pain. And he said this man in his room kept asking for something for pain. So she went in and gave him something for pain and he said, “Only a few more minutes he was yelling again.” He wanted something else for pain. And she said, “Well so-and-so…,” I’m gonna call him Robert… “Well you can’t have anything.” And I said, “Well you can’t give it but so close together,” said, “give it some time, it will work.”

And he said, “All of a sudden this man yelled out again.” The nurse went in and said, “I told you…” and she repeated herself again, “I cannot give you anything right now.” But he…and he’s right in the room there with my uncle, I mean with my uncle…my dad’s cousin. No that’s not right either. So yea, that was my dad’s…my dad’s uncle, and my uncle too…well my great uncle. That’s how it is. I get these generations…

Mims: Too many people!

Floyd: So, seemed like it was another nurse that came by and he asked her for something for pain…he said all of a sudden this other nurse came back, the one that had given the first one, so I’m sure they’d gone out and made comparisons…comparisons so far as the information that he has had one. So eventually she came back, the first one, and she said, “Now I’m gonna give this now, after this you should be able to rest. So now don’t call me anymore.”

And as he would tell it…said, “After a while this man stopped saying anything.” And he said, “Oh my goodness, she has given him a black pill.” So that was another thing I had to add to my collection. I said, “When I get into…when I get into nursing I’m gonna find out where and what this black pill is, cause I don’t want to give one of those things.” Come to find out there wasn’t a thing to it.

Mims: Yea but the natural curiosity you had for medicine certainly was showing you that you needed to do something for yourself. How did you eventually get into…to start your training?

Floyd: Well, I had a cousin whose brother-in-law was a doctor. And his home was in Elizabeth City and so I was at his house one day and he was talking about his brother and his wife was telling me about her brother…his brother-in-law, rather. And he tried to interest me in going…in coming to Wilmington. I didn’t know a thing about Wilmington. But…and then there was a student from Williamston that was a senior student and see then students seemed like respected the higher students.

So you just…you did not know but so much and seemed like you were not exposed to so much except something, I would say, good. And so…so she learned I was going into nursing too. So I started getting my things together, like the funds from my mom and my dad. And interesting enough, my daddy told me one day…remember I told you when I started talking about the property we had?

Mims: Yea.

Floyd: There was a little point there. That was not included in the five acres but it…don’t ask me how or why that was that way, but that’s the way it was. Too, plus, you know, people…when it came to…to measuring off, they used rods…metal rods that would stay there…they used trees, which we often laugh at…a tree’s not gonna stay there forever.

Mims: Some do.

Floyd: It seems like they do, but when it comes to property those trees gonna get cut down, somebody’s gonna move a little tree where all of a sudden it grew. And they still do that I understand. And it’s…life is funny. But anyway, he could not…there is such thing as tobacco getting ripe too soon and then it’s burned, I think that’s what…that’s the way they describe it. And so what would happen, it would spoil if you didn’t get it out of a field. So, all these people that promised him that they would break it for him, that’s what they called it, breaking tobacco.

And so I said to my mama, “If daddy would put that sled…” that’s what they call this thing without wheels, the horse would drag it, well it just drags. But anyway, I said, “If he would put that sled out there in that field, I don’t mind breaking that over there myself.” Mama said, “What do you know about breaking tobacco?” I said, “Well, I’ve seen what they do cause it was about sort of what the color was like when the leaf was right, when it wasn’t damaged.” So, somebody, I don’t know whether it was my brother…anyway the sled got out there in the field in that little point and I went out there and I broke it.

‘Cause he told me, he said he would give me what…what it came to when he sold it, so, I…it became a big laugh to everybody. My sisters and my brothers, they got…really got fun out of that. But, in the meantime, this senior nurse and…at Community Hospital, talked to me and told me that there was this bill that had passed and what could happen then…well it was…the Nurse Corps was started.

Mims: Oh. Um hum.

Floyd: And they would support you through nurse training because the war was going on and they needed more nurses, President Truman.

Mims: Right, right. This is the Cadet Corps.

Floyd: Right, Cadet Nurse Corps. And so I enlisted into that.

Mims: Now, would that pay for your education?

Floyd: Yes.

Mims: Hum.

Floyd: And I can’t find nothing, I’ve tried, I’ve worked through Mike McIntyre…

Mims: Yea, uh huh.

Floyd: I couldn’t…I have not been able to get anywhere. He…he said that he had tried and tried ‘cause you know he’s in Washington…

Mims: Sure.

Floyd: …most time. He could not get anything out of it. I wanted something from Washington with some history behind it. And whatever went with this, because they supported us with…we…we had uniforms, gray suits. Gray…berets like, sort of fitting on your head and pointed like the Marine’s…you know their green outfit. I don’t think they call it green though, but it looked sort of like theirs. But we bought our shoes.

Mims: Where they black or white?

Floyd: The shoes? They were…oh now this is not the ones you wear on duty.

Mims: No.

Floyd: This one was a dress but they…the ones that we wore on duty were a blue…the dress, with the white apron over. Looking sort of like the one you saw the other day.

GP: At the hospital?

Floyd: But not that…not that…

Mims: Chambray…or dark…it was darker?

Floyd: No, it was more of a dullish looking blue, which I thought was very pretty. Because …for the uniform.

Mims: It wasn’t as dark blue as what you have on though?

Floyd: No, it was a lighter…a lighter blue, but not…not a blue as bright as that, sort of dull.

Mims: I think it’s chambray kind of like, so. But when you were a student nurse did you have to wear the nurse cadet uniform?

Floyd: When we went outside, like going to church or…

Mims: But most of the time you were in your school uniform.

Floyd: Yes, because we were over there in that hospital…in the lab, one, and then we wore it then. And…and when we opened the museum they were in there then. But I could not get a uniform and that’s why I was worrying Mike McIntyre. But he…he couldn’t…I don’t know what the problem was, but I know I could not get a uniform.

Mims: Well, let’s talk a little bit about your time as a student nurse. So you came here from a rural community into a city that…you had never been here before, or…?

Floyd: No.

Mims: And you had to live at the nurses’ residence home?

Floyd: And the nurses residence was right next door to the hospital.

Mims: And was it a private room, or did you share a room with somebody?

Floyd: Oh you…oh you shared. They were big enough for two people. They were not always filled with two people. And I remember when we…when I first went into training, there were sixty of us.

Mims: Wow.

Floyd: And we graduated with a much smaller group, I don’t remember what that was, but it was small compared to sixty.

Mims: Um hum. And there were pretty tight rules on you girls, weren’t there?

Floyd: Very.

Mims: Um hum. Can you remember what some of them were? Like, the restrictions placed on you?

Floyd: Well, you had restrictions for going out of the building. Every time you went out, somebody…when is say somebody, the person in charge of the nurses dorm knew where you were headed to, because you would let them know where you were going. And anytime you went, you went…you supposed to let…let the person in charge know. And at that time Salome Taylor was the head…she was the director. You certainly let her know where you were going.

Mims: What was she like? I’ve heard her name so often here.

Floyd: I thought she was a very nice person. She was more like a mother. She was there to help you and to lead you and she wanted no harm to come to you. So…and she would…she would sit down and talk to you just like a mother. She would say, “You know, I’ve seen that fellow somewhere, but you know what? You know why you came here don’t you?” “Yes, Ms. Taylor.” “Well, do you want to continue your education? Alright.” She said, “You remember that.” And that’s what your mama’s been telling you anyway, so, you know, it was just news again, so you gonna certainly do what this lady said.

Mims: Yea, I’ve heard that Camp Davis would sometimes bring…bring the guys in to visit the girls here. Was that what you remember?

Floyd: Yes, they would. And they had…they had affairs down there. At that time Camp Davis was where Camp Lejeune is now, and whenever we would go out with them a chaperone from the nursing home and some city person would go. So, in other words, there would be more than just the one.

And…and these…these…our social hours, I would call it, were held by the officers. And, of course, all officers to here from now were single. And I was telling my mama about it once, and she said, “Everybody can’t be single.” And I agreed with her, I says, “Sure can’t cause there’s some good looking men out there!” She said, “Uh huh, okay.”

Mims: What do you remember to do for fun in town? Would you go downtown at all, or would you just stay near the hospital?

Floyd: And we walked downtown. We walked downtown and we walked down to the…the theater. And we knew what time food would be served, lunch or dinner, and we would make it back before the serving time, so we were there. Nobody would offer to get you food and you did not…you were not there, because we knew that now you see, we had rules and regulations.

You just didn’t go running around on your own. And…and didn’t have any business doing that anyway. Plus there were the longshoremen. So everybody had to be accounted for, so yes, we had to have some rules and regulations.

Mims: Well you…plus your academics. You had to work long hours, right? Do you remember what your schedule was like?

Floyd: Seven to three, three to eleven, or eleven to seven. And there were times that we…you’re older at this point…probably a senior, I was thinking about that just the other day. Very close to…you’d have to be a senior, junior or a senior…we worked twelve hours and get up the next day and…or sometimes you’re just getting off duty and right on to class. Getting off duty, like eleven to seven and go to class. And go back and go to bed. That would be the only… as I can recall now… that would be the only time you would have to just leave duty, so to speak, and go to class.

Mims: Where were the classes held?

Floyd: Right there in the…

Mims: In the residence home?

Floyd: Yes. There’s…there’s…there was a big social room, I call it, right next to the director’s room. She was where she could see everything and hear it too. Now there were some times we went out as a part of the class. We would go out to…out with the public health nurse to help her…to go with her to make her visits so that would be our affiliation time…to see what visiting the homes were like.

And she would teach us these things. You needed to familiarize yourselves with, like… “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” and she would say, “Oh I had some side meat”…what’s the other one? Sow belly. I never heard…I never heard that one before! And so she would…this patient would be telling you what it was like and what part of the pig it came from, which was interesting.

Mims: How would you ladies know what your schedule was? I mean, like, where you were supposed to be at a certain time…was it like, set up for a certain number of days, or months, or…?

Floyd: Set up for weeks.

Mims: Weeks?

Floyd: Yes, cause they could change sometimes according to who the instructors were. ‘Cause we had some of the…some of the faculty members from Williston to come over to talk about…and to teach us too. Algebra, cause we needed, at that point, we had to work problems to know how…how much medicine to give. And yes, we had…we had several…lots of teachers from over there.

Mims: Did any of the doctors do instruction? MJF: Yes. Every…Dr. Eaton Sr. taught us surgery and our role in surgery. And then we had a nurse in surgery that would teach us how we would dress in the surgical area, how to prepare ourselves before getting into the surgical area, how to put on these gloves…these…these sterile gloves, and how to make sure you’re getting into them right…which was a job! But you got into them, if you wanted to be there.

Mims: Now this was before disposable gloves, right?

Floyd: Yes, we had to wash those things! We had a certain type of solution to put them in. I don’t remember…I don’t remember but very, very little infections at work contributed to your technique. And I…and I often think about this, when we were…when we were being taught surgical techniques, and we were told by some teacher…and I think that was one…one of the doctors…that he used to…surg…the surgical technique was stressed so much where he worked and went to school.

But there was a man that used to come into the Emergency Room. And he had…at that time they had right much syphilis. They had right much gonorrhea. They had right much…oh it starts with a C but it’s…it’s a social infection…

Mims: Like Chlamydia?

Floyd: That’s it.

Mims: Okay.

Floyd: But this man would come in to be catheterized. And this man wore this big black felt hat and it had a band around the crown and it…under this band…in…around, around, around…that’s…that was where he carried his catheter. He would use his catheter to let the urine drain out, pull the catheter out, wash it off, and back up under his band it went. He never had an infection.

Mims: You’re kidding!

Floyd: That’s the point he was wanting to make, but if the same man was in the hospital, he could become infected. But anyway, he…what he was saying in so many words, it looked weird to us, but it was clean.

Mims: It’s hard to imagine something like that today. Well, who are some of the other doctors that you…

Floyd: Dr. Eaton, Dr. Roane, Dr. Upperman, Dr. Wheeler. I don’t remember so much about Dr. Gray, teaching in that manner, as in a class.

Mims: Um hum. What was his specialty?

Floyd: I would call Dr. Gray an internist because he…he could do…deliver babies, and he…seems to me he did some of everything but I don’t remember him on…in a large scale. Surgery…I don’t…I’ve not noticed his…his license, what would be on it, but I do know he could do quite a few things. But not known for those like Dr. Eaton was a surgeon, Dr. Upperman was an orthopedic man, and Dr. Wheeler was an eye man, and they are the only doctors I know…that I remember. Dr. Burnette was there. Now, I know he was a surgeon. Everybody knew he was a surgeon.

Mims: Foster Burnette?

Floyd: Right.

Mims: How about Dr. Avant. Do you remember him?

Floyd: Dr. Avant, yea, he was a surgeon…surgeon too. Yea, the …how could I forget… no, I have not forgotten him!

Mims: And so the relationship between the doctors and the nurses was very professional.

Floyd: Right. And a nurse could tell the doctor, “Now, wash your hands now, or doctor, you can wash over here.” Providing… “here are your gloves,” and that sort of thing. You know, in a nice professional way to tell them that, you know, you got to be clean. But they…they…I think the relationship was very well.

Mims: I’m trying to think of some of the other physicians names that I wanted to ask about. Who delivered a lot of the babies over there, do you remember?

Floyd: Dr. Roane.

Mims: Dr. Roane?

Floyd: Roane, yes.

Mims: Who was his…did he not have a partner or he was by himself?

Floyd: He was by himself. I can’t think of any of those with partners.

Mims: Well, I know that as a student you had to go through the different areas of the hospital…

Floyd: Oh yes.

Mims: …so that’s what I was trying to get to here, was like, what do you remember was your favorite, you know, part of rotation?

Floyd: Obstetrics. So that was Dr. Roane. Dr…I met this other doctor, what was his name…my memory is not as fierce…

Mims: Did Dr. Eaton deliver babies too?

Floyd: Dr. Eaton delivered babies too.

Mims: Yep, he was surgery and…he did a lot…almost everything I think.

Floyd: Yea.

Mims: Well what…what do you remember about the obstetrical rotation; do you recall what it was like?

Floyd: It was great and just prior to…well back near the location was pathology…the…really the…those in that area was those that had had problems with pregnancy and somebody had aborted, or they were going to abort, or something…it was in that field.

Mims: What…what area did you like the least during all your…

Floyd: Did I like to leave?

Mims: You liked the least…you didn’t like at all.

Floyd: Oh, the least. You know, believe it or not, the operating room is what I didn’t like. I couldn’t stand those gloves.

Mims: Well was there…there wasn’t any air conditioning was there?

Floyd: Yes there was.

Mims: There was?

Floyd: Um hum, because I remember Dr….Dr. Eaton mentioned to somebody…yea it seem like to me…yes because somebody had to clean those…those ducts and…

Mims: So it wasn’t hot in there?

Floyd: No.

Mims: ‘Cause I’ve heard people complain they didn’t like surgery because they were gowned and gloved and it was sweltering.

Floyd: Well you know, air condition can get hot in there after a while.

Mims: Um hum, because of those lights.

GP: Let’s take a break, I’m need to change tapes.

Mims: Okay. I’ve also heard some of the, you know,…

Mims: This is the continuation of the interview with Ms. Mildred Floyd and we’re talking about Community Hospital. What else can you remember about the hospital structure itself? Like how it was laid out, or any of the…what… what stands out in your memory?

Floyd: They had, I call it a little back porch…like, it was more or less…some people would have as…you could call it a terrace. You could come in through that way. There was all this latticework and I thought that was really neat. I used to think to myself, “If I have a house I would have one of these on the back.” I thought it was…and it was so nice when it was hot, you could sit out there with that breeze coming through there.

And another thing I liked too, the main entrance, that’s where the director’s room was. She saw you when you went out and she saw you when you came in. And sometimes you could have a little chat with her. She would always refer to me as little Jonesie.

GP: That was Ms. Taylor, right?

Floyd: Right.

GP: Who were some of the other nurses that worked with the students?

Floyd: Well some of the…

Mims: Supervisors…

GP: Supervising nurses.

Floyd: Okay. Ms…in the…okay, coming in through the…well, coming around in the Tenth Street you were at the entrance, the front of the hospital and before you got inside you had to…you could walk in on the ground floor which was where the clinical areas were. And there was a nurse that I, I believe she was probably one of the first ones that I met. A Mrs. Whitfield. I don’t remember her first name, but everybody knew her.

And by being on the ground floor you know you got…you got to meet a lot of people and plus there were laboratories and there was the X-ray department on that floor. And I will never forget when my mom came to visit me and some more of her friends, the people in the…the technicians in the…in the X-ray department took them through her department and even showed them some things…how they could make pictures and really just have a good knowledge of what was going on if you had an X-ray done. And I thought that was one of the wonderful things that my mama got to see.

Mims: Well they took the time to embrace her, cause she was supporting you, so it was nice that she got a little something out of it.

Floyd: Yea, they…they just…I just never expected to be in a hospital where you’re doing all that with somebody like that.

Mims: Well as far as your training went, do you remember any particulars about things that you learned?

Floyd: Things that I learned?

Mims: Yea, like, what stands out?

Floyd: Making normal saline, the portion of the salt within the body normally. I thought that was…well I just never knew it happened. But that’s what they had to do.

Mims: Was there a pharmacy at the hospital that would give you meds, or would the…did they come right to the nurses?

Floyd: Yes, and by the way, one of my neighbors was a pharmacist and so helpful to us in that when we had a problem that we wanted solved and didn’t know how to do it. And he’d just show us how to do it. I thought that was great too. Because, at that time too, we had to sterilize our syringes.

Mims: Were they like little glass type syringes…the hypodermic?

Floyd: Yes. The only…we had to throw away those needles but we had the…had to hold on to those syringes. And we had…they had the little sterilizers on the floor…each floor had a sterilizer. I believe disposable things…I know it was near the time…well it’d have to be near 1950.

And you had to…we had to sterilize those…some of those rubber tubings…stuff the operating room used. They did their own sterilizations and they seemed to…they had some they had to…and you know they were checked…we were checked ever so often. We had to be accredited. You had to be accredited to keep on functioning. And so they made sure that was done.

Mims: Right, certain standards had to be met.

Floyd: Yes.

Mims: Do you remember any outbuildings of the hospital, like what surrounded the hospital?

Floyd: The…okay there was a lab that we worked out of learning to do every procedure and learning how to prep people…first of all, learn how to shave somebody. I never did…you had to watch how the head moves. Now, I don’t know why, but every time I see a man with hair on his face I can imagine I could you a razor and, you know, go with the growth.

I…I think it’s smart to know that and then it makes shaving easier. Cause I know I was gonna start out with a hard time. Cause, you know, shaving somebody backwards…that’s what I would call it. But I don’t believe he would let you go but so far with it.

Mims: No.

Floyd: It would pull.

Mims: You’re talking about being trained with total patient care.

Floyd: Oh and that total patient care, that’s…I’ll never forget when I was washing this man’s face and he…he was comical anyway, but I noticed he was laughing most all the way through. And so he said, “Ms. Jones, do you mind if I tell you something?” I said, “No!” He said, “You washed my face,” he said, “do you know what…what happened? I said, “What?” He said, “you never did wash this part right here.” I said, “I didn’t?”

But is was so…it was funny, things like that. He said, “I saw your…your…” he called it director, but she was my Nursing Arts instructor. She would have this little group and she is watching everything you do. He said, “I saw her coming back for something,” he said, “I thought she was gonna ask me what I thought.” But he didn’t say anything, but he was so tickled.

Mims: ‘Cause you had to do like a.m. care and p.m. care on these people.

Floyd: Right. And when you do…whatever, should always treat this person like they are able to do it, you’re just giving them some help. And a patient is happy when you tell them, said, “Now I’ve finished your bath, I want you to go on…” get him some clear water, or her, or whoever, and… “now I want you to complete your bath cause you look like you would like to care of your personals yourself.”

And they are very happy to hear that. Because you don’t want them to think that you have to do everything for them, leave something for them to do. And plus when they get home you don’t want them to be dependent on whoever the caregiver is. Let the caregiver know that you can do it, you can take care of it. And because some people were…well, you could…you could find all kind of people, but some would not be…some don’t care if you go on and do…and complete a bath, but you know that this person can do everything but we know it’s strenuous for them to do the back and the feet and all…other parts, but let them have the privilege of taking care of their personals. And they appreciate it.

Mims: Well, all your time that you spent there, you learned all this valuable information on clinical but also on how to treat people in a certain regard.

Floyd: Oh yes.

Mims: Well, tell me, what was your graduation like?

Floyd: Oh, it was wonderful. To graduate, you had to really work up there to graduate. Work up to that point. There were things that were done sometimes or could be done, say you was not respectful to your patient, we think that goes a long ways and try to…look like you have had a bad day or something. We tried…and let them know that you are there to help them and so that this patient feels like asking you any question concerning himself or herself. And you can help them. If you don’t know the answers, you could go to…the supervisor is glad to help you with that.

And sometimes a patient is not looking so happy and you can learn a lot if you are nice to them and try and find out what the needs are, and, plus you were taught yourself if you…when you have been able to accomplish this, plus you yourself feel good, very good about going to your supervisor, telling them what…what you have experienced, and they can see that, well, she is sort of observant.

So this could be where she comes in to talk, because sometimes there has been some…something happens at home and the patient cannot deal with it. And you don’t know why this patient is acting the way she’s acting and so you have helped her this way because your supervisor is going to certainly try and find out what’s going on.

Mims: Well tell me, where was your graduation held?

Floyd: At Saint Luke’s Church. I believe Saint Luke’s took care of all the graduations. And that’s where we attended church, most every time.

Mims: For your graduation, did you wear a different uniform or did you wear your student uniform or your cadet uniform?

Floyd: At that time it was the cadet uniform. That was all the more reason I wanted to get some pictures.

GP: Let me ask you a question about that cadet nurse…they paid for your uniform? Did they pay for your schooling?

Floyd: Yes.

GP: Did you owe them anything after you finished?

Floyd: No.

GP: You didn’t have to work a certain amount of time or anything?

Floyd: We…there was some promise to work if they needed us. In other words, when we graduated, each one of us got a questionnaire to fill out. And so we were ready to go if they should call us. But it…as I recall, it was…no one…it was not signing some papers saying you’ve got to go because those of us that went, went on our own. And in other words, there was no…well I guess because everybody was going on as they had promised to do, even though I…I still don’t remember signing any papers to say I must work one year or two years or three years. It was nothing like that.

Mims: So no obligations whatsoever other than just complete the questionnaire and be ready.

Floyd: And you went in as a first lieutenant.

Mims: Now did you actually go into the military?

Floyd: No I did not.

Mims: Did not.

Floyd: No. At the time I would have gone, my friend was graduating…was going to graduate. He was a senior and…yes, we were right along there together, and he was at Hampton University in Virginia and I was in Wilmington, but we were both juniors and seniors at the same time. And he…and he went on a scholarship when he was in Uncle Sam’s service. I remember that very well because he owed Uncle Sam five cents and Uncle Sam wrote for his five cents.

Mims: Really? That’s incredible.

Floyd: It cost more to send the letter.

GP: Yea.

Mims: Well what did you do after graduation?

Floyd: That was when I…I came back here and worked at Community Hospital.

Mims: Um hum. How long did you work there?

Floyd: A very short while. Um…two and three…from…I might be a few days off, but…

Mims: That’s okay.

Floyd: Um… ‘51 and ’52 I was in…did Public Health.

Mims: Um hum.

Floyd: So I left Community Hospital and went there to work.

Mims: You started…you went back up to Williamston?

Floyd: To work.

Mims: In ‘52?

Floyd: In fifty…worked from fifty…’51 to ‘52.

Mims: In Williamston?

Floyd: In Williamston.

Mims: And you became the first black public health nurse there?

Floyd: Yes.

Mims: How long did you work there?

Floyd: That was just that…

Mims: Just those two years?

Floyd: One year. From ‘51 to ‘52. And back, a part of ‘52, to Community. And then went to Margaret Hague which was a…it’s a maternity hospital in Jersey City. And I went there so I could get into some more obstetrics. Then went back to Community Hospital and stayed there until ‘67 when we opened New Hanover Memorial.

Mims: When you returned to Community, was it in the obstetrical area?

Floyd: Yes, after I left Margaret Hague because that was a teaching institution.

Mims: Well, so a number of years passed between your…your initial student training and then your training at Margaret Hague and your return to Community. Trying to get to…to the transition that you got to see in obstetrics. You know, the changes from when you were a student to when you…you left Community Hospital, the changes that took place. That’s what we’re looking for here, is some transition. Can you remember what was different? What you…like what practices?

Floyd: In obstetrics?

Mims: Yea.

Floyd: Yes, looking at the sterilizations of instruments and what not in…in obstetrics. ‘Cause they had to do, we had to do our own instruments back there too. So with the solutions that we used and what the preparations were before they could be used and how to wrap them and…wrap them, store them, and use them. And again, the preparations of the patient in the area, again there…there was the labor room right next to the delivery room and so the patients would move on from the labor room and there in the labor room is where the preparation actually started for the patients, medications, physical preparations.

The activity within the area, like visitors trying to get into the labor room. And staff and…and how to really be able to know when to transfer the patient. When they go into the delivery room.

Mims: Did you ever work at any of the other hospitals? Did you ever go to James Walker to work, or…?

Floyd: No.

Mims: No? How about Bullucks Hospital, do you know anything about that?

Floyd: No, I heard of Bullucks but I…at that time, I did not know…and I’ve never heard, and I still don’t know, I don’t think they had a delivery place in there.

Mims: I’m not sure either, that’s what we’re trying to find out though.

Floyd: Because I was trying to find out what kind of patients do they have? So it was really short lived so far as I’m concerned.

Mims: About thirty-seven years they were there. But we had found a line in one document that they actually had a School of Nursing at Bulluck, but we don’t…

Floyd: I learned that too, and I learned that from Scott Wisnant.

Mims: Wisnant, yea.

Floyd: And he got his from somebody.

Mims: We’re gonna check back on that. How about Babies Hospital?

Floyd: Babies Hospital…I know when it was…when I learned of it was while I was at Community and I learned of that cause of Dr. Gray. And the reason I learned that from him was because…and I think I have this correct, his daughter, Diane went there, because she was ill. And to me…well I know they were not accepting Black people.

Mims: At Babies?

Floyd: Yes. And I learned then that he had put his daughter in there. So to me…she was the first one that I knew about.

Mims: Hum, I know he accepted patients from all over the state, but we haven’t, you know, touched on, you know, where…like a sick Black child would go.

Floyd: Um hum.

Mims: Certainly the facilities at James Walker would…they would have sent the baby down to…to Babies Hospital, I guess. So…

Floyd: I don’t know. Cause…well…Black people were not going to James Walker all the time.

Mims: No?

Floyd: Um um. And that’s how Sprunt came about.

Mims: Um hum.

Floyd: Because Mr. Sprunt who was a farmer owned a farmer…(laughing)

Mims: We’ve been going at this for a while, you’re doing great.

Floyd: Oh dear! He owned a farmer! Well! But he…he owned the farm and he was doing very well for him to put his monies out to build something for the Blacks to go to…he…he and a son I understand were very helpful there. And that’s when they went there…the Blacks went there to have babies.

Mims: Um hum.

Floyd: At Sprunt.

Mims: Um hum. Yes, there was integration in their labor and delivery in the Marion Sprunt Annex. But I don’t think that…that happened right away, I think that it took some time.

Floyd: What for Sprunt? I’m sure it took some time because I…I…I know about when it happened but I don’t know how much time. As I said, I never went there. And I know…somebody was telling me… ‘cause I was talking about seeing if I could go there, ‘cause I was…I had become aware of the…the most recent things they had over there, some that we did not have and so I just wanted to see what it was like.

But I never got there because I…I had an interview with this person one day and something…I’m gonna keep her name…she’s dead now…the person in charge. And I talked to her and I told her…I told her I wanted to work there and she assured me that there was a…an opening over on the west wing. I didn’t know about it. It did not mean so much because I did not know anything about the place. But anyway, when I went for my interview and I said… I sat … oh if I could think of her name, I’d know it if I heard it…but when I went there and I told the secretary I wanted to…I had an interview planned, and I was supposed to meet with the Director of Nurses.

So she went and said something to her, but I know I kept sitting there and after a while she came out and asked me if I wanted to see her, and I said, “Yes.” And I went on to tell her that I had called her on the phone and she told me she had an opening over on the west wing. And she said, “I told you that?” And I said, “Yes you did.” She said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “No, I don’t remember that.”

So I said to her, addressed her and told her what her words were. And she said, “Oh but you know what, I thought you were White, you sounded like…your voice sounded like you were White.” I said…I looked at her. I wanted to ask her, “Do I look White now?” But it…it was…it was a let down. ‘Cause I really wanted to work there.

Mims: So there was…we’re understanding that there was no integration in staffing at Walker but I understand that there was some at Community Hospital. That there was White doctors on staff?

Floyd: Dr. Heber Johnson.

Mims: Yes.

Floyd: I worked with him in obstetrics.

Mims: Right cause he used to deliver babies.

Floyd: He was an OB man.

Mims: Right.

Floyd: Dr. Dosher.

Mims: Okay, um hum.

Floyd: And there were others.

GP: Dr. Sinclair?

Floyd: Now I don’t remember him so…some how or other I had him always…

GP: He would come over and read X-rays wouldn’t he?

Floyd: That’s…that’s what I was going to say…connected with the X-ray department. That’s why I never…

Mims: Right he wasn’t…

Floyd: But he…he’s right about that because…yea, he was well known among those X-rays. Oh, Dr…Dr. Dineen.

Mims: The orthopedic?

Floyd: Yes. Oh there were lots of them. Oh, and certainly Dr…oh, Dr. Reynolds.

Mims: Dr. Frank Reynolds?

Floyd: Yes.

Mims: Oh, okay.

Floyd: Very nice man.

Mims: Well…

Floyd: Dr…no, that’s at New Hanover. Dr…this other orthopedic man I was going to call, but…

Mims: Um hum.

Floyd: He…and we had some…we even had some…some White mothers…

Mims: Deliver?

Floyd: …over at Community…sure did.

Mims: Um hum. How about White nurses?

Floyd: Newton is the only one I know…the only one that I knew.

Mims: And she had a specialty and once that specialty came back into play there then I think Ms. Freeman took that position…once she was trained in that job.

Floyd: Right. And there was another one of ours…Sadie Godwin went off…

Mims: Okay…and was trained for that specialty.

Floyd: Yes.

Mims: Well, what about this move to New Hanover? You…you were part of that?

Floyd: Yes. That was funny. That was fun. It was such a…this is as close as the nurses at James Walker and we had been together, because at that one point we were all doing the same thing. And we had…we had a tour over to New Hanover. There was one key and that one key was to the elevator. And so you used that key to get up to the floor, which was the fifth floor. Everything seemed to get started on the fifth floor.

We went there…the head nurse at Community was…she was a Director…Willa Hatcher was our main Director at Community Hospital. And she is a Community…she was a Community Hospital student…

Mims: Graduate too?

Floyd: Graduate nurse.

Mims: And she went over to New Hanover as well? MJF: Yes. So we start…we had a meeting…the directors of each hospital and all of the head nurses of Community Hospital, had this one meeting…I say one, we had several meetings…so we were to start learning what was on the fifth floor. And we were talking about the instruments…those that would be on a floor…the beds, how to operate the beds. Because we had all new, and you had to…had to learn because it was electrically operated.

The…how to elevate the head, how to elevate the foot, how to put everybody in Trendelenburg position. And that is to put them in shock position. This is to…this is to…more a procedure that you would have to do if you…if you…if someone were fainting…but if they in bed, you could put the bed in that way, it would stay that way. Or again, when we talk about positions, and we’re thinking about an orthopedic patient, sometimes they’re in the…the…both legs were like that and they are strung up.

Mims: Oh, like traction?

Floyd: Yes. Traction.

Mims: Weight traction.

Floyd: I’ll told you I couldn’t remember.

Mims: That’s okay; I know what you’re talking about.

Floyd: And…yes, and…and then working with the traction in this bed and put this bed in a position for them because on their back so long and hung up and tied up in that thing must be a miserable feeling.

Mims: Sure, plus the bed pressure would cause break down.

Floyd: Yea, so you had to learn to do that to keep them comfortable and to be able to turn the parts when they…

Mims: That were available to turn.

Floyd: Yes. And again, keep the patient comfortable in this bed. And again, teach…we had to teach the patient how to use those electrical controls so that he could do it or she could do it. And they would know how to do something. And then show how to use the side rails and one of these…having to keep your side rails up and you had to put them down sometimes when you make the bed, but don’t forget to put them back. And you could have full side rails and you could have partial side rails.

Those from the body up to the head…you would have those up always and the full side by putting the ones at the lower part of the bed. And of course keep the bed clean cause the bed would catch a lot of dirt by somebody laying in it. You could tell it by washing their face. And…which is a part of housekeeping, but then when it comes to the patient, we are part of that too. So…oh, and don’t forget the…the…those safety measures within the patient’s room. The nurses of course would do that. Know how to put the needles in and plus the…the needles are also used by helping to keep the catheter sterile. Since we didn’t have any black hats. (Laughing)

Mims: To keep wrapping them around.

Floyd: And I understand now, some places don’t do that. They…they…they don’t…don’t…they’re not using their Betadine solution to wash the…the…

Mims: Like prep…

Floyd: Yes, cause when…when you…the bottom part of the…of the urinary tract bag hangs outside and that little spout where you have to take the clamp off, to empty it, every…every…every shift. Sometimes you have to empty it more than once a shift. It’s according to how much liquid the patient has had. And so we…we clean it. That was a part of safety. And heel supports that’s supposed to be under the heel to prevent that soreness on the heel. You never thought there was so much to be done to one person in a bed.

Mims: Well, so when you went to New Hanover, you didn’t get to stay in obstetrics? You transferred to a different specialty?

Floyd: Well, the head nurse from…

Mims: Ms. Hatcher.

Floyd: No, James Walker’s…was in charge of…Johnnie Stokley…she has since passed, but she was in James Walker’s, but she went to New Hanover as a head nurse in that department. And I went to Inservice to do what I’m…what I just…what I’m in the process of doing now…talking about…or telling the new people how to operate this stuff…the equipment. So that was the Inservice department that I transferred to.

Mims: So Inservice. Was OSHA regulations coming along about that time?

Floyd: Yes. Yes it was.

Mims: So that would have been kind of a new…new thing for this hospital. I’m not sure OSHA was at Community Hospital, was it?

Floyd: Now somebody…seems to me they had a party…

Mims: There’s probably that beginning regulations. I want to say that was like in the sixties or something when that…

GP: Did you have to have additional training? Cause you’re basically a teacher then in Inservice. Did you have to have additional training to do that?

Floyd: Well with the equipment, that’s what I was doing, which included doing IV’s and…because then, you know, we constantly had new people coming in, and then I had to take each…that’s every month…so I had to take everybody through. Well, it started out being with… well not by myself. Eloise Moore was my co-worker and she was from James Walker’s. And so every month, she and I were doing the same duties. We had RN’s, practical nurses, ward clerks, and…did I say assistants?

Mims: No, I think…

Floyd: Nursing assistants. Every new…even the Security would come with us that very first day when that was. But Security would, well I should say, non-nurses, because there could be somebody there hired for the Central Service department…and so see they would come with us for that first day so they could be oriented to the hospital…as we would walk through all of these areas and tell them about these places…like tourist guides.

Mims: So, you got to basically meet almost everybody at the hospital.

Floyd: Right.

GP: How long were you at New Hanover?

Floyd: From ‘67 until ‘89.

GP: You were there for quite a while. How long were you at Margaret Hague?

Floyd: Six months.

GP: For six months.

Mims: That was training.

GP: Yea, that was training. You said a while ago too that you never went to James Walker but at one time you were noticing they were doing things differently? They had new things from what ya’ll had?

Floyd: I understand they had…

GP: Yea, what were some of the things?

Floyd: They…well they had a nice nursery I learned where they put their newborns, and prior to that, they did not have that, but they had it at this time that I learned about it. And since…at that time, I wanted to get some new stuff back there in mine. I wanted to see what theirs looked like.

Mims: Did Community not have a nursery for the babies?

Floyd: Oh yes we did.

Mims: Okay. So it wasn’t just with the parent.

Floyd: No, it was James Walker’s that the people got…those that had visited there to see the babies and they were overwhelmed…said they had babies in drawers.

Mims: Oh.

Floyd: But I never…I never got there so I could see. So…I…I don’t know…

Mims: Well, how do you think the integration issue was handled when you got over to New Hanover Hospital?

Floyd: I think it was handled very well and I think so because, as I say, I had never met their nurses except in a meeting somewhere when we would go off to meetings…and we would go to Duke Hospital. I can’t think of…I don’t believe I ever went to Chapel Hill for a meeting…and they had…but anyway, that’s when I would meet them and then we would talk back and forth sometimes…I wanted to know something cause, oh I know, I was asking…because at one time there were asepsis…no, that’s not right…staph infection, and they…I understand, that the…some lab person was going around to the hospitals to do tests for us to see if we had it.

‘Cause it was on the obstetrical floor that these women had developed these sore areas on the breasts and I had wanted them to do it on our floor too. So…so we could learn what it came from and all of that. But anyway, he came to do some tests on our floor and did not find anything. And so that was another thing I was interested in, just…for all these things that people were doing to better a situation or to better understand it, then I was into doing it too.

And we…plus there were packets set up for…for you to fix the formulas for the babies on the floor. You had to…there was a funnel and there was some other container for the milk, but we had to pour the milk from a container through the…the funnel. And had about three feet of tubing for the milk to drain through and there was some write up in the paper about that. About somewhere in the world, I don’t remember where it was, but…because it had to do with obstetrics and I was using the same system, I wanted to see, but they never found anything. But they had found it…the same system that was used, and it was supposed to be one that would prevent all these viruses from getting through.

Mims: Hum.

Floyd: And…so back to your…your question, you said, what…oh and I was telling you why I went there, cause I wanted to see some of this…stuff they were using. And they had a set up…

GP: Same set up.

Floyd: Uh huh. But I haven’t…I had never heard of them having infections or anything like that. I just wanted to communicate with them cause that’s one way to get some information.

GP: Oh yea.

Floyd: So we used to call each other back and forth, but we never…we just…like I know you were there, so I wanted to know what some of the stuff is, you know.

Mims: Right. And it goes back to your initial curiosity about things…that you were trying to get a little bit more out of it for your facility. If you had to do everything all over again, do you think you would still go into nursing?

Floyd: I sure do. I think I would have gone further.

Mims: In what…what…what capacity?

Floyd: It would be whatever it would be. It would be with dealing with the patients. It would not be a desk job.

Mims: Hum. What kind of advice would you give to a young person wanting to come into the field?

Floyd: Well, I have two…we have two…two nurses in the family. One went to Carolina…Chapel Hill, and the other one went to University of Hampton in Virginia. I would tell them, “Go on, pursue it.” And I know the one in Virginia was complaining once, she said, “You know what it is that I don’t like about nursing?” I said, “What?” She said, “They don’t have enough time”…she said, “cause you…somebody says something to you…some patient says something to you”…said, “you don’t have time sit down and talk to them.”

I said, “Well I thought in this day in time you would have more time than I ever had.” But that’s one thing nobody ever said to us about stopping to talk with the patient. To me that’s one of the biggest; one of the best things can be done to you. When you said you want to talk to somebody. And I think that’s why some people like the doctors. If you listen to them talk and you know the doctors they’re talking about, usually it is a doctor that will stop and give you some time. And they used to always say that about some of ours.

And I’ll never forget…did you ever hear of Dr. Moore? He was…what kind of doctor was Dr. Moore?…he was a head doctor…this is what the community…that’s how they described him. Dr. Moore was much taller than I am, and he would go…he looked like he could have a cigar in his mouth…and he’s walking like this like he owns the world…but he would take time out to talk to me. I’ll never forget when my husband fell off a ladder one day and his face was bleeding…just, just overwhelming people, but anyway, and I met him in the Emergency Room and he said, “Well, what you gonna do?” He talked real slow. I said, “Aren’t you going to admit him?”

He said, “That’s what you want, right?” I said, “That’s right.” He said, “Yes, I’m going to admit him, and I’m gonna tell you why I’m going to do…he has fractured the bone up under his eye and I’m gonna take him to the operating room and I’m gonna to put a Whopper so the eyeball can rest on it. Is that what you want?” Now you know, I…I said “Yes doctor.” But what I’m saying, you know, for him to stop and take his time out…who would…who cares whether you…

Mims: You would say do it anyway.

Floyd: …think one of these Whoppers…one that you’re gonna eat or what…(laughing)

GP: Is this Dr. Houston Moore?

Floyd: Robert.

GP: Robert.

Mims: Robert Moore, yea.

Floyd: But I thought that was the best thing he could have done. So, like my daughter was saying, you need some time to stop and sit down with these folk to give them some of your time because if you’re going to leave that person back there with a question on their tongue, and you go on to somebody else, you gonna still stop for them to do…you gonna be saying something to them, so why not do the same thing?

Mims: Um hum. Well I agree, I mean, it’s definitely changed from hands on nursing to a more nurse management where RNs are kind of just over charging, you know, overseeing so many people that its hard to have that one on one contact that you were trained with. So I think it’s a whole different style.

Floyd: But I think we can make it better. I think we can. But I still think there is somebody that can. And I think sometimes too, that this cap…that cap had…the missing of that cap is confusing to the wrong people right now. My mother was eighty-seven years old at Moses Cone and when we would go up to see her…she lived with my sister at that point who lives in Greensboro.

And she said, “Every time I go to see mama…” which is all the time of course, “…she still talks about these nurses.” I said, “What…well I don’t know who…I don’t know one nurse…I don’t know who the nurses are.” But at first she was saying to me, “You know, I haven’t seen a nurse yet.” And she’d say, “Mama, you’ve seen ‘em.” But what she was saying…she has not seen this person in this white cap…if I’ve seen that person with that cap on…

GP: You don’t know who they are.

Floyd: And see, that’s on people brain. And I think it’s…I don’t think it’s fair to the community. To, you know, they’re sick to start with, and now they’re in the hospital and that might confuse you. That…being in the hospital can…can confuse you. And then to be up there and not see a nurse? But anyway…

GP: Let’s…is there anything else you want to say before we wind up?

Floyd: Well, you…you got some more questions?

GP: Well, no.

Mims: We can sit here all day with you and talk to you, but we’re, you know, I think we’re about ready to wind up, cause it’s been just great talking to you.

Floyd: Well I’ve enjoyed talking to both of you too.

Mims: Well good, thank you.

Floyd: But, I’m glad I could come. I not sure I’ve done the best job.

Mims: Oh my gosh!

GP: Oh It’s been great!

Mims: It’s fabulous!

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