Joyce Nichols Oral History Interview, 2006

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  • Ms. Nichols speaks about growing up in rural North Carolina; her family structure; her aunt as a matriarch; her marriage and move to Durham; her husband's desertion of new family; her financial situation; public housing; Operation Breakthrough; her complaints to the Housing Authority over living conditions; eviction; other struggles; fighting eviction; suing the Housing Authority; others' help in taking care of children; the media attention over the lawsuit; studies to be a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at Duke Hospital; her work on the cardiac intensive care unit; other possible opportunities for upward mobility at Duke; application to physician assistant (PA) program; her rejection from and ultimate acceptance into the program; balancing her work as an LPN and studies in PA program; teaching without a degree; requirements of the LPN program; her personal motivation to succeed; work as an LPN; studies to be physician assistant; classmates in third physician assistant class; her treatment by classmates as the only female and only African-American in class; her work in Lincoln Hospital; the current status of Lincoln Community Health Center; her upcoming presentation to county commissioners on behalf of Lincoln Community Health Center; working at Duke; Dr. Harvey Estes; the treatment of African-Americans at Duke Hospital before the integration of the wards; the integration of the wards; the previous integration of the CCU (cardiac care unit) before the official integration of the wards; the current status of family land; the support of others throughout her career; the subtle discrimination against her as an African-American; the interactions between nurses and physicians assistants; teaching; her daughter running for district court judge; her own remarriage; her second husband's support; her family; balancing her family life and her career; her contributions as a physician assistant to the profession. The transcription of this interview was made possible by a grant from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation.
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