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Park View Hospital legacy commemorated

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Patty Collins, author of "Park View Hospital and School of Nursing: A Century-Long Legacy," signs a copy of her book for nursing school alumnae on Tuesday at Sunset Baptist Church.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Before Nash General Hospital became the staple medical facility in Rocky Mount, Park View Hospital was the place people would go to take care of their medial needs in the community.

This year marks the 100th commemorative anniversary of Park View Hospital, and the 25th anniversary of the Park View Nurses’ Alumnae Scholarship Endowment. To celebrate both milestones, a luncheon with entertainment will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 28 at Nash Community College’s Brown Auditorium. Tickets for the luncheon are $25 per person.

Park View Hospital stood on the vacant lot that is beside Braswell Memorial Library. Park View opened its doors in 1914 and closed in 1971. The hospital opened with a 25-bed capacity and increased to 145 beds by the time it closed.

Park View maintained modern facilities and medical equipment during the hospital’s 57 years of existence as the largest hospital in Rocky Mount. Patty Collins, director of Nursing Continuing Education at Area L AHEC, is a local author who recently completed and published her second book to honor the centennial celebration of the hospital. The book is titled “Park View Hospital and School of Nursing: A Century Long Legacy.” Collins said the book will be available at the anniversary celebration for $20 and also can be purchased at the Keeping Room in Rocky Mount and on Amazon.com.

The book contains the history of Park View Hospital and the Park View School of Nursing. In addition, Collins said the book also contains a history of Boice-Willis Clinic, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic and the Park View legacy that is maintained by the Park View Nursing Alumni. Collins, who has been a nurse for 31 years, has a clinical background in emergency and flight nursing. She also works one day a month in the emergency room at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital.

“When I was little girl, my mother would take me to downtown Rocky Mount,” she said. “As you turn to get into the downtown area, there was an intersection where Park View Hospital was to the right and the Park View School of Nursing was on the left. I was about 6 years old, and I just remember seeing the nurses in their white crisp uniforms and blue capes walking across the street and remember how beautiful they were. I have always believed this was my calling to be a nurse.”

Martha Price might have been one of the registered nurses Collins saw walking downtown during her childhood. Price was a graduate of the Park View School of Nursing. The school started the year the hospital opened and educated nurses until 1969, graduating 55 nursing classes. Park View student nurses received their clinical experience while staffing Park View Hospital and generally graduated in three years.

“We had a group of really talented people,” Price said. “I was told by a respected doctor that our patient care was higher than some four-year students. We look forward to the event and hopefully spending some quality time with the ladies who are able to come. We also want anyone associated with Park View or had family which had ties to the hospital to come and attend the event.”

To commemorate the legacy of Park View Hospital, the Park View Nursing Alumnae Association scholarship endowment was established in 1989 to provide financial assistance to a second-year associate degree nursing student who shows academic excellence with plans to pursue a nursing career in the local community. The scholarship has benefitted 25 students since it started.

“This was a way for us as registered eligible nurses to continue the efforts of keeping the legacy of Park View Hospital alive by contributing to scholarships to assist second-year nursing students at Nash Community College,” Price said.

“We just want to continue to help those that have a passion for the profession be able to reach their goals.”

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