in 1969, Mrs. Walt Flanders, Jr. turned dream into reality

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022

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In 1969, the Troy Messenger ran a series of stories called careers for women.  Here is another interesting story.

“Nursing was a childhood dream, I guess I never have outgrown it.”  With the encouragement of her parents, Mrs. Shirley Flanders turned her dream into a career as a registered nurse.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

After attending nursing school at Birmingham Baptist Hospital, Mrs. Flanders worked in Birmingham for a year and a half.  She and her husband, Walt Flanders, Jr. then lived in California for five years.

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The couple returned to Flanders’ home town of Brundidge a year ago.  Mrs. Flanders was born in west Virginia and moved with her parents, two brothers and five sisters, to Birmingham at the age of 13.  One of her sisters has also gone into the nursing profession.

Since her graduation from nursing school, Mrs. Flanders has taken more specialized training in different areas of nursing.  “In nursing, as in most other professions, changes are great.  You have to keep abreast. It helps to have an open mind and to try new areas.  It isn’t always easy to unlearn something and learn it a new or different way.”

Mrs. Flanders is a director of nurses at Edge Memorial Hospital.  She has held the position since the hospital opened.  “I have learned a lot.  This is the first time I have held this type of position.  I have found it very challenging and very rewarding.”

Enthusiastic about the new hospital and Troy States announcement of beginning a school of nursing, Mrs. Flanders remarked, “Troy State will offer us a lot.  The availability of nursing in southeast Alabama will be higher.  The new hospital is a definite asset to this area.  With these two developments I hope to see more people in medicine become interested in Troy.  This area has grown and has a need for more health services.’

Dealing with people is a big part of the job as a nurse.  One of the most difficult things to do is to control your emotions.  When people are sick their behavior is not exactly normal.  You need patience and self-control.  A constant complainer or worrier cannot be allowed to ruin your day.

“The same self-control is needed when there is a patient who is dying and there is nothing more than can be done for him.  People may think that nurses are hard.  They aren’t.  They know that they will be no good to the patient or his family if they let their emotions run away.”

“My husband’s mother is also a nurse.  I am lucky that he understands having to shift for himself once in a while,” Mrs. Flanders commented when asked how her husband felt about her career.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.