First African American nurses at BRG receive recognition

First African American Nurses at BRG
First African American Nurses at BRG(Baton Rouge General)
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 12:50 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 8:19 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. - The Baton Rouge General Hospital recognized 26 African American nurses from the 1950′s on the same halls where they were confined to. At that time African Americans were only given one unit for treatment, 4-South.

Segregation separated some but brought others together and these women were some of the first African American nurses to work at BRGH.

Although these nurses have been honored before, they say the permanent display of a plaque gives a long-lasting feeling of accomplishment.

“I sat down with these ladies a couple of times and spoke with them, and just hearing the stories is just amazing. That was in the fifties, which is really not that far from where we are now in 2022, but so much has changed, “said Symil Ledoux, the Director of Volunteer Services at Baton Rouge General Hospital.

Gwendolyn Miller recalls blazing through the halls of 4 south using broken equipment to treat patients.

“We had to work harder to keep them clean and we had no choice because we had to have bed pads, we had to have different equipment, but we never got the new equipment, the hand-me-downs were given to 4 south” said Gwendolyn Miller, Former BRGH Nurse.

The days of segregation paved the way for moments like today when workers can honor these nurses for going above and beyond.

Miller is grateful the African American community was able to escape the unit with no infections.

“I have to give credit to the staff there, in fact we had an expression years ago that the Lord took his cap off and left it on 4 South because we had no cross infections,” said Miller.

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