Davis Hospital’s School of Nursing

Ad from a Marion, NC newspaper in 1945.
Ad for the nursing school from a 1943 issue of The Davie Record, a newspaper from an adjacent county.

In May of 1920, what was then the “Carpenter-Davis Hospital” established the School of Nursing with only three ladies in the freshman class. Miss Elizabeth Hill, a graduate of Mitchell College and the School of Nursing at Charlotte Sanatorium, (today Carolinas Medical Center), was the entire nursing staff.

Miss HIll in 1960.

In addition to organizing the School of Nursing, Miss Hill was the first Superintendent of Nurses at Davis, (considered today Director of Nursing/Chief Clinical Officer). Hill was involved with the school in one way or another, listed as “director emeritus” in every yearbook until the school and hospital closed.
Miss Hill died at 96 years old in 1983, just a year before Davis Hospital, the institution she gave her life to, would it’s self cease to be. If there were one other person who could be accredited with Davis Hospital’s success through the years besides Dr. Davis himself, it would be Nurse Elizabeth Hill.

“Miss Hill’s gentle smile, her keen insight, her wisdom, her unselfish love for people and her devotion to all phases of nursing are only a few of the notable characteristics of this eminent nurse, able educator, and Christian lady”.

-Dedication from one of the nursing school’s annuals

The School of Nursing continued operations until 1984, graduating at least 720 people from the three-year nursing school. Interestingly, all of the graduates were women, except for one man.

Stephen Howard Kivett Graduated in 1980 and went on to have a long career in medicine.
Unfortunately, Mr Kivett passed away in July of 2020.
Mitchell Community College now has a scholarship in his name. The dialysis unit at Iredell Memorial was also named in his honor– he founded the unit in 1987.

Recently, the Iredell County Public Library has been digitizing it’s collection of photos and yearbooks, and this means that many of the annuals from the Davis School of Nursing are now available online. They provide a window into life as a student in the school, and as a clinical student in the hospital it’s self.

You can browse through the books on the Iredell County Public Library’s Flickr account.

A nurse should learn to direct her mind and attention to her patients, to see that the patients receive the little extra cares and attentions that mean so much to their comfort and happiness.
Just remember that the little things are the ones the patient is most likely to remember most vividly and for the longest time after he leaves the hospital, that little things are so vitally important to the patient’s welfare, that they cause annoyances, distress, or actually severe pain, which may retard recovery.
A nurse should study each patient carefully, watch every little change in his condition, be able to tell whether these changes denote a serious complication or whether it’s a minor thing that can be corrected by some simple measure such as straightening out a sheet, removing bread crumbs, rubbing a back with a little alcohol. The patient’s mind must be recognized as a factor.

-Dr. Davis in a talk to his nursing staff

(Iredell County Public Library)

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