Jessie Glover Wilson, left, with Marcella Keene (Class of 1956) at the Alton Memorial School of Nursing reunion July 12.
ALTON — Nearly 100 graduates from the Alton Memorial Hospital School of Nursing returned to the hospital July 12 to hear one of their own tell their story.
They came from Florida, Texas and even Iceland. Some flew while others enlisted family members to drive them across the country for this special occasion.
Jessie Glover Wilson, class of 1950, has written a book entitled “The Diploma Nurse: Her Shining Day, Her Fading Touch.” From 1940 until the early1970s, most nurses received their training in a community hospital setting. During their three-year, life-changing journey they learned, lived and worked at the hospital. Often a heavy burden of responsibility was placed on young students and many left without completing the program. But those who endured took great pride in their calling to care for others.
“This is a story that has been burning in my soul for the past 50 years,” Wilson said. “I must see to it that the diploma nurse story is honored and preserved.”
The group sat crowded and spellbound in the hospital cafeteria as Jessie told their story.
“This is our day to celebrate who we were, who we became and our contribution to the nursing profession,” she said. “Though our journeys have taken different paths, the special touch we learned on these grounds lives on in those we cared for, taught or mentored. We are sons and daughters of the Alton Memorial family who have come back home to renew our kinships, reminisce good times, and honor those who made contributions to our lives.”
As the luncheon came to an end, nurses were happy to take home an engraved silver butter knife from the early days of the hospital and an updated directory that included email addresses and Facebook information.
“I hope you are never prouder than you are today to be an Alton Memorial Hospital diploma nurse,” Wilson said.
Wilson will donate a portion of the book proceeds to the Alton Memorial Health Services Foundation, giving back to the hospital where she began her rewarding career.
The book includes many references to the Alton area and can be purchased online at www.amazon.com for $8.04 or by calling the AMH Development office at (618) 463-7701.