“Voices: Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing” looks back on past

May. 04, 2014 @ 09:00 PM

Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing may have closed its doors in 1971, but alumna Evelyn B. Wicker is working to make sure its legacy is not forgotten.

In the main branch of the Durham County Library Sunday afternoon, Wicker discussed her book “Voices: Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing Durham, NC 1903 …” and some of the stories that have come from the historic school.

“We wanted this to represent Lincoln,” Wicker said. “The stories (in the book) really help to illuminate Lincoln and they fill in the gaps.”
The stories confirmed some things, she said.

“The book was written to document Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing,” she continued. “We are good nurses. When someone says ‘Lincoln nurses’ there are certain images that come to fore.”

The three-year project began when Wicker was studying for her bachelor’s degree in nursing at N.C. Central University. She and a fellow student worked on a project that looked back at Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing.

“We completed our project and said that in the future, when we grow up, we’ll do a more in-depth study,” she said.

In December 2009 Wicker contacted her college friend about the book. The pair had sent out initial inquiries requesting information the friend was diagnosed with a chronic illness in April.

She died in October.

Wicker enlisted the help of Dianne Johnson, Patricia Blue, Esta Segears and Gwendolyn Parham to complete the project.

Wicker said the book is broken into four chapters chronicling the history of the school.

“Lincoln, like other colleges, was about giving chances,” she said. “Giving opportunities to people who have the ability but were stymied because of the education system. That’s what Lincoln was all about. There is a sisterhood, a bond.”

The book was also meant to be “inspirational, motivational and informational and I think it’s accomplished those goals.”

Included in the book and part of Wicker’s presentation were pictures of Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing including the 1924 site, former classes, students wrapping a Maypole and a student’s grade sheet and influential teachers and nurses.

Carolyn Henderson was in the last class to graduate from Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing. While she sees the book as a gem in maintaining the school’s history, she said it evokes mixed feelings.

“You’re proud you can capture that history and for us now, it seems important for us to be involved in nursing and the community,” Henderson said.

As the chair for the historic preservation committee for the one remaining alumni chapter, Henderson added that the book gives an opportunity.

“This is a chance to inform,” she said. “This is an opportunity for us to share what experiences it took for us to be professional nurses,” Henderson said. “It wasn’t as easy then as it is now. It’s an opportunity to keep our experiences as nursing students alive.”