Wadsworth Dissertation

Out on our own: women who trained as nurses in North Carolina from 1945--1960.
Wadsworth AL
University of Kentucky, 2002; Ph.D. (159 p)
Publication Type:
doctoral dissertation - research
Major Subjects:
History of Nursing -- North Carolina
Education, Nursing, Diploma Programs
Nurse Attitudes
Diploma Nurses
Minor Subjects:
Descriptive ResearchFemaleWhitesTelephoneInterviewsContent AnalysisNorth CarolinaHuman
The first nursing schools in the United States were established in 1873. By 1882 most nursing schools were organized and controlled by hospitals, that depended on students for non-wage labor. This educational system was initially challenged by the 1923 Goldmark Report and subsequently by the 1948 Brown Report. These reports recommended that hospital based diploma programs be phased out and nursing education take place in baccalaureate programs. Associate degree nursing programs were implemented in the 1950s, and provided the opportunity to become a registered nurse with two years of study. Over time, these nurses came to be seen as technical nurses and baccalaureate trained nurses as professional nurses.
Hospital diploma school nurses fell into a nebulous category. They had less academic preparation compared to baccalaureate trained nurses, but more clinical experience than nurses from two-year or four-year nursing programs. All nurses of this time period were stereotyped as having been "called" to be nurses, working as physician handmaidens incapable of independent thought or action. Diploma school nurses, however, continued to be labeled in this fashion over time, as they did not have formal training in critical thinking or problem solving skills. In addition, there is a paucity of information available on the history of white Southern women of this time period. White Southern women have been characterized as weak, passive, and incapable of independent thought or action.
The primary purpose of this research was to provide a sociological description and analysis of the training and subsequent work experiences of nurses in the state of North Carolina who received their training in hospital diploma programs, between 1945 and 1960. The sample of thirty white women attended nursing school in North Carolina from 1945-1960. Face-to-face and telephone interviews were done. Content analysis was performed on yearbooks and recruiting bulletins from this time period. While the majority of the women interviewed (60%) did feel themselves called to be nurses, such factors as finances, age, available educational opportunity, and gender restrictions based on the sociocultural climate were key considerations.
Special Interest:
Nursing Education
Document Number:
UMI Order AAI3047794
Entry Date:
Revision Date:
Accession Number:
CINAHL Plus with Full Text