Carolyn Jefferson began working at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in 1959, when the hospital was still relatively new. She had recently graduated from North Carolina A&T State University, and although her baccalaureate degree in nursing made her an appealing candidate for hire, the hospital's segregationist policies limited her advancement throughout much of her career there. Ms. Jefferson was recognized by her peers for her leadership qualities and skills in psychiatric nursing, but was routinely passed over for promotions. It wasn't until a white colleague advocated for her that Ms. Jefferson was appointed to head nurse. Over the course of her career, Ms. Jefferson continued to persevere, eventually rising to Clinical Nurse Coordinator, the hospital's top position in psychiatric nursing.
Ms. Jefferson introduces herself:
Ms. Jefferson on integrating psychiatric nursing:
Interviews conducted by Danita Mason-Hogans at Chapel Hill Public Library, 2019