Beginnings of Licensed Practical Nursing in NC

Beginnings of Licensed Practical Nursing in North Carolina
            Following World War II several conditions contributed to an increased need for nurses in North Carolina. The “baby boom” that occurred when military men came home from WWII increased the need for maternity and pediatric care. Hospital administrators in facilities built or expanded using NC  Good Health Plan, Duke Endowment and/or  Hill Burton funds needed to fill their new beds. More patients meant an increased need for nurses to take care of them.   Increased insurance coverage encouraged people to seek health care a by decreasing the out of pocket expenses for such care. The development of penicillin, streptomycin and other drugs as well as new surgical techniques that emerged from WWII vastly expanded the array of ills that could be successfully treated by physicians and through hospital care.  Again, an increased use of hospitals by patietns created a bigger need for nurses.  Many nurses who came out of retirement to fill local hospital positions vacated by nurses joining the military as well as many of those military nurses returning home from the war, retired from the nursing work force to marry and start families. These factors contributed to the post World War II nursing shortage.
           After the Cadet Nurse Corps program expired, the length of diploma nursing education returned to 36 months. Enrollment in schools of nursing was near capacity so the need for additional nurses could not be met through the established schools of nursing.   Many North Carolina health care leaders looked to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) to help fill theRegistered  nursing shortage.

               LPNs (also known as practical nurses or PNs and licensed vocational nurses or LVNs) had been educated and regulated in many states since the early 1900s. In 1947 the state legislature amended the NC Nurse Practice Act to allow for LPN education, practice and regulation by the NC Board of Nurse Examiners. This was a permissive law which only protecting the title of the Licensed Practical Nurse. The law included a two-year waiver clause, with no examination or formal education requiremed  for people who were employed as practical nurses. 3 LPNs were added to the Board of Nursing and Nurse Examiners to discuss and vote on matters related to LPN education and practice.  Within 3 years of the passage of the legislation allowing LPN practice in the state, seven LPN schools were opened under Nurse Miriam Daughtry’s leadership. 

Name of School
Location
Race
Year school opened
Alamance General Hospital School of Practical Nursing
Burlington
W
1948
Watts Hospital School of Practical Nursing
Durham
W
1948
Grace Hospital School of Practical Nursing
Banner Elk
W
1949
Wayne County Memorial Hospital School of Practical Nursing
Goldsboro
W
1949
Duke University School of Practical Nursing
Durham
AA
1950
Mary Elizabeth Hospital School of Practical Nursing
Raleigh
W
1950
Stanley County Hospital School of Practical Nursing
Albemarle
W
1950