The 20th Century: 1920-1929


Nurses continued to treat patients during the ongoing tuberculosis pandemic.

Newspaper Clippings from 1920


Carrie Early Broadfoot of Fayetteville organized the North Carolina Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NCACGN) later renamed the North Carolina Association of Negro Registered Nurses, Inc.), an affiliate of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. Meetings were held in both Winston Salem and Raleigh in 1923 and over 35 nurses joined the organization. Until this organization merged with the all white North Carolina State Nurses Association in 1949, NCACGN provided leadership opportunities, professional development and networking for North Carolina’s African American nurses.  African American nurses played a major part in creating, managing and teaching in African American nursing schools, staffing African American hospitals  and "Negro" wards or wings in segreagted hostpials and bringing public health services to under served communities (Click the back arrow on the ppt to get to the beginning).

The Bureau of Maternity and Infancy is created and funded with federal dollars under the Sheppard Towner Act. Miss Rose Ehrenfeld was hired as the first state nursing supervisor of the Bureau. By the end of the decade there were 94 nurses employed by county health departments using these funds. The nurses made home visits and staffed maternity and new baby clinics in the local health departments.

Newspaper Clippings from 1921-1922


In 1923 a Rockefeller Foundation funded national study of nursing schools titled Nursing and Nursing Education in the United States, commonly known as the "Goldmark Report" advocated the upgrading and standardization of nursing school curricula in both the classroom and clinical setting.

Nurse Edith Redwine was hired as the first full time nursing instructor in the state at Watts Hospital School of Nursing in Durham, NC.


Grace Hospital School of Nursing opens in Banner Elk, NC, the first nursing school in Appalachian NC.

Partial list of public health nurses prior to 1925.

Learn More: NC Midwives of the Mid-1920s

The Biennial Report of the NC State Board of Health of 1924-26 stated that midwives delivered more than 30% of babies in North Carolina and that more than 5,000 midwives were in active practice. That year also marked the adoption of Model County Midwife Regulations. Annual requirements to practice midwifery under the new law included an physical examination, inspection of the midwife's bag of supplies and instruction and demonstrations given by physicians or nurses about sanitation and techniques necessary for assisting in normal deliveries. An annual permit to practice midwifery was given to people who satisfied the law's requirements.

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North Carolina adopted the Model County Midwife Regulations, requiring that all midwives receive instruction from physicians or nurses in order to receive a permit to practice. In 1930, the estimated number of lay midwives practicing in NC was 3,000, of which 2,200 held properly granted permits, by 1950 that number was down to 1,000.

Newspaper Clippings from 1925-1929


A  North Carolina Board of Nurse Examiners report showing results for the annual state examination.

Many textile mill owners developed "Company towns"  or "mill villages" and several hired public health nurses.  Here is a report by Hariette Herring about the state of health and nursing in Welfare work in mill villages published in 1929.  Chapter 8 is abouty health care, but nurses are mentioned in other chapters as well.

The Great Depression, 1929

In 1929 the Stock Market in the United States collapsed. This caused the worse economic depression the country has ever experienced. The federal government’s response to the human suffering experienced during the Great Depression included funding public health nursing programs and funding for nures wishing to continue their education to become certified as public health nurses. The number of public health nurses increased from 65 in 1933 to 297 in 1940. These new nurses, using funds from the New Deal sponsored programs such as the Works Progress Administration, Emergency Relief Administration and the Social Security Act, inspected school children, provided home health care and immunized thousands of North Carolinians during this time. The benefits of public health nursing were evident to all.