In Training: Nursing Education in New Hanover County
 1901 - 1966


Community Hospital
Community Hospital SON
James Walker Hospital
James Walker Memorial
   Hospital SON


Oral Histories
James Walker SON Alumni Association Manuscript Collection

In the Spring of 2004 the staff of Randall Library Special Collections began interviewing retired health care professionals who had practiced in New Hanover County. The purpose of these interviews was to document the changes to the medical community and regional culture brought about by the advances in medical technologies and practices of the last century. The decision was made to begin with nurses who had graduated from either James Walker Memorial Hospital School of Nursing or Community Hospital School of Nursing and physicians who had practiced at one of the hospitals. We were fortunate that there was an active alumni association for the James Walker nurses who could provide us with names of graduates from James Walker School of Nursing. They in turn led us to nurses from the Community Hospital School of Nursing and physicians who had practiced at both hospitals.

With the opening New Hanover Regional Hospital in 1967 both James Walker Memorial Hospital and Community Hospital closed. The hospital nursing programs graduated their last class in 1966. In anticipation of the closing of the two hospitals a new AD Degree in nursing began at Wilmington College (now UNCW) in 1965.

In 2004 the James Walker School of Nursing Alumni Association donated the association's papers to Randall Library Special Collections. In addition, several graduates of the school donated material to the collection. Graduates of both programs, along with several physicians loaned material for an exhibit in the Fall of 2005 in Special Collections. The exhibit uses excerpts from the interviews of the nursing student, physicians and other hospital personnel to tell the story of nursing education in New Hanover County. Highlights from the exhibit and the oral histories is presented on this website. Included are links to the transcripts of the oral histories and the finding guide to the James Walker Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association.

Future plans include for additional oral histories with medical professionals in the New Hanover County region and graduates of the Wilmington College and UNCW nursing programs.

The photographs in this exhibit are from the James Walker Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association Collection, unless noted.


William Randall Library Special Collections, 601 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC 28403-5616 (910) 962-3760.
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