EARLINGTON, Ky. (7/20/13) – Wanda Wilson, 76, saw many changes in her 42-year nursing career. With better pre-natal health care, she said children have a greater chance for good health today.
Technological advances also changed the way nurses communicated with other healthcare workers.
Wilson worked all of her 42 years in pediatrics at the hospital in Madisonville.
"And, I loved every minute of it," she said. "People would say, 'How can you work with sick kids? Isn't that sad?' But it wasn't. You could see a really sick child come in and start getting the medicines they needed, and within 24 hours they were jumping around. They bounce back so quickly. It was wonderful to see."
She said it took years of trying to get help from the state employment service to go to LPN school in the 1960s not because she was African American but because she had six children. She was finally accepted and later became a Registered Nurse.
"They didn't think I could get through school," said Wilson. "I wish I could show that man my check stubs over the years at the amount of taxes I've paid into the state of Kentucky for 42 years."
Wilson said she didn't miss a day of LPN school, managed to keep her six children in school and tied for second in class ranking.
Wilson says most everything flavored with a tinge of humor. She is funny and bright and uses her knowledge, skills and experience for service to the city of Earlington and with several other organizations.
She is on the Earlington City Council, is president of the Kentucky Black Caucus of Elected Officials, is on the local boards of the AARP, the Hopkins County Senior Citizens Center and the Pennyrile Allied Development District Council on the Aging, a member of the Hopkins County Democratic Executive Committee and Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Earlington and an active alumni of the J.W. Million School.
Enjoying good health was one of the benefits of working with children, said Wilson.
"I think I developed so many antibodies working around sick children," she said. "It built up with my exposure. I never got colds or even had a headache."
Now, Wilson takes medicine for rheumatoid arthritis but still remains active not only with her memberships but also sits with patients at the local hospital.
"I retired from nursing at 75 because I was starting to have some back trouble," she said. "I get a little short of breath now, too."
Rita Dukes Smith
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