Evolution of Nursing

Nursing Then and Now

We all have been captivated by the images and heard recollections and stories attesting to the changes nursing has seen over the decades and even centuries. The evolution is apparent in many ways ranging from the attire, to the gender of nurses, to the ever-growing body of nursing knowledge, to name only a few facets of change.

Celebrating the nursing professional expertise at CVMC, Marita Forbes, MSN, RN and Vickie Marlowe, MSN, RN, CPAN share their recollections and experiences throughout the years as a healthcare professional.


Both Vickie and Marita have been with CVMC since the 1970’s and bring with them a wealth of professional and life experience.


Let’s take a trip down ‘Memory Lane’

Nursing Then                                                                               Nursing Now




















CVMC Nursing Evolution

by Marita Forbes, MSN, RN

The focus of nursing is to help people achieve their best health by providing care in a compassionate and informative manner. How this is carried out is constantly evolving.
When I came to CVMC the image of nursing and what a nurse did greatly differ from that of today in many aspects. The staff was very proud of their new facility and their community. Nurses accomplished their daily tasks and routines as before with little input regarding patient education, for that was the domain of the physician.

In the seventies and eighties changes were fast underway. These changes were made possible by access to educational pathways; the change to primary nursing; increase in medical specialties; advances in technology; expansion of services and equipment and the focus towards outpatient services. As CVMC grew so did the nursing structure and delivery models.

The practice of nursing has been greatly influenced by healthcare associations and by evidence-based practice which fosters improved patient care and nurse satisfaction. This commitment to the highest quality nursing care possible is reflective in CVMC’s attainment of being a three-time recipient of ANCC’S Magnet Recognition for nursing excellence. Today, CVMC’s nurses practice in a diverse array of specialties guided by the Magnet Model, the NC Nurse Practice Act and specialty organizations standards and practices.

CVMC has been in the forefront of many innovative practices throughout the years constantly improving to deliver optimal hospital services, preventative healthcare and education initiatives. I have been very fortunate to have experienced nursing’s professional growth and proud to have had the opportunity to work with so many caring and professional persons who have made CVMC what it is today.

Nursing will continue to grow and to evolve. There are many aspects which will influence this change one being technology and the other education. It is the education component that will enhance nurse’s effectiveness not only at the bedside but within the profession.”

Vickie Marlowe, MSN, RN, CPAN

Remembers back to when she started at CVMC:

vickie_marlow“My nursing career began when I worked as a medication cart nurse. I did all the orders and transcribed them on MARs by hand. We noted orders, stamped renewal stickers on the charts for surgeons. I did this until team nursing was introduced a year or two after. In team nursing, everyone had assigned rooms in districts, much like what we have today. Back then, we used nursing assistants, had orderlies, and most of all worked together. During my early nursing days, patients stayed longer for procedures such as cataracts. They had to be on bedrest, and we couldn’t shave our patients with an electric razor, we had to shave them by hand.

We progressed from team nursing to primary nursing care. At that time, I gave up the ‘big’ medication cart and had my own district, my own cart, and my responsibilities, which were similar to those responsibilities of nurses today.

A lot of changes occurred over the years and most of those definitely for the better. Nursing back in the 70’s had professionalism and decorum. Our attire consisted of our nursing hat, white dresses with white stockings, and white shoes. Today, it is hard to find anyone with white shoes much less a nursing cap. Even when I graduated from the Associate program in 1975, advanced nursing credentials were encouraged. In fact, in 1976 I started the Gateway program with LR to get my BSN. Education has always been an important factor in nursing at CVMC.”