Honoring Kathleen Bragg for National Nurses Week
The North Carolina Nursing History Council with North Carolina Nurses Association has written a brief biography of an outstanding nurse from each of the 100 counties in North Carolina. Hyde County's honoree is the late Kathleen Bragg, RN, of Ocracoke.
It is a day to honor the nurses in our lives, and in our communities who chose careers to help others. At critical times throughout our lives nurses are there to provide comfort, support, education and caring. With clinical knowledge, skilled hands, and caring hearts nurses work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, health departments, and many other agencies to lend a hand to those in need. One nurse who made significant contributions to Hyde County is Kathleen Bragg.
Kathleen Bragg was born in 1899 on Ocracoke Island, a small island community of about 500 people in North Carolina's Outer Banks. In the early years of the twentieth century there were no paved roads, no electricity, or full time health care providers on Ocracoke. Bragg left the island to attend Park View Hospital School of Nursing in Rocky Mount, and graduated first in her class in 1923. A few years after she graduated her father had a heart attack. She returned home to take care of him and her family.
She was the only trained health care professional on the island. Bragg's neighbors called on her to nurse them when they were ill (some of her notable cases included ruptured appendix, blood poisoning, typhoid fever etc.), delivered over 100 island babies, and help get residents to the nearest hospitals on the mainland when necessary. Because she had no mortgage, utility bills (there were no utilities), or a car she supported herself as an independent nurse working without physician supervision.
After WWII, when Ocracoke became a tourist destination, her home was marked on the official town map with the word "nurse" to show visitors where they should go if they became ill or injured. When Hyde County created a health department in the late 1940s, Bragg was hired to function as the public health, school, home health, and hospice nurse on Ocracoke. Bragg died in 1975 and is buried on her beloved Ocracoke Island.
The North Carolina Nursing History Council with the North Carolina Nurses Association supports research about North Carolina’s nursing past, present, and future. You can read more about notable North Carolina nurses at www.nursinghistory.appstate.edu. If you know about other nurses who stories should be included on the website, please contact Dr. Phoebe Pollitt, RN at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mrs. Olivia Jenkins, MSN, RN at email@example.com
Happy Nurses Week!