Josephine Joy Kinter Scott

Patty Davis records this oral history interview with Joy Scott: 
My mother’s vision had me working on our McIntire Iowa farm in Mitchell County; I had dreams of getting away and making a new life for myself. After high school my sister and I were hired to work in a burger place in Osage, Iowa, where our cousins lived.  We were there when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
There followed a short time back home, but I joined our St. Paul cousins after their visit to our farm. I returned with them to Minneapolis/St. Paul and boarded at their home while working first at Montgomery Wards and then as a file clerk at U.S. Steel Supply. When my cousin heard about the Nurse Cadet Corps I pursued the Bethesda Hospital program along with her. At my first interview I was told the program was full, but I bugged them repeatedly and then got accepted in 1944 when I was 20 years old. I attended the 3-year program and graduated in 1947.
My affiliations during training included psychiatry at St. Cloud Veterans Administration Hospital and pediatrics at St. Paul Pediatrics Hospital, and much of my time was at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul. My friend, Mabel Swanson (Mibs for short), was my roommate much of the time. We spent our last six months at the Des Moines Veterans Hospital.
There were 35 women in our class, and in St. Paul we lived in large houses near the hospital. I lived in Corner House and took classes and had assigned hours at Bethesda Hospital. We had a tall, sweet instructor, Miss Ackerman. Our time included rotations in OR, delivery, nursery and Central Supply. We wore black shoes and stockings the first year and then got to wear whites. War years altered the end-of-first-year tradition. Our class walked to the bridge to throw our black stockings into the river, but during wartime it was considered unpatriotic to keep to tradition and throw in the black shoes too.
At the start our uniform was a dress and apron, and after several months we got a bib; later our caps were added, and finally we received our pins. Uniforms, books, housing, and food were provided and we began with a $5 per month stipend. This increased over the years, and we received $60 monthly during our final six months. This allowed me to receive nursing education when I could not afford it. The hospitals also benefitted from the program because there was a nursing shortage during the war and we did a lot of work and we were cheap labor for them.
Many memories remain from this time. During my psychiatry affiliation I learned I was not supposed to play tennis with a patient - by getting in trouble for doing it. We had bible study every morning and went to Lutheran church on Sundays because Bethesda was a Lutheran hospital. We walked through the state capital on our way into downtown in winter just to get warm.   During the winter when there was a freeze up north, a hospital director bought turkeys that had frozen and we ate “turkey this” and “turkey that” forever.
We had little sisters and big sisters from the other nursing classes. In 2013 my nursing school little sister, Louann Atkins, came to my 90th birthday party after our not seeing each other for over 60 years.
During the final six months of training Mibs, Shirley Peterson, Dori Erickson, and I were in Des Moines working at the VA. After graduation we studied for boards which we took in the Twin Cities. Passing boards was such a relief, and I recall how difficult they were. When results arrived in the mail, it was clear right away if you passed; my name had “RN” after it, and that was the sign!
We continue to get yearly newsletters from Bethesda Hospital, and I have kept up with several classmates over the years. I met with other class members for our 50th reunion in 1998, and I am now 91 years old and live in Santa Rosa, California. 
My fantastic nursing career went on for decades and included work in Iowa and California. I retired at age 72 after working 27 years in Sonora, California, as a floor nurse, supervisor, and LVN instructor at Tuolumne County General Hospital and briefly at two other hospitals. Each morning I parked in the lot there and thought “I’m not sure what’s going to happen the whole rest of the day” - and I liked it that way! Nursing was one of the great joys of my life, and my nursing work and accomplishments enriched my life, made me proud, and brought me years of wonderful experiences.
Joy Scott (Josephine Joy Kinter)
May, 2015
Last Name in Nursing School: 
Kinter Scott
Email address:
Relationship Status: 
Cadet Nurse
Deceased Cadet Nurse: 
Nursing School: 
Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing, St. Paul, Minnesota
Nursing School City: 
St. Paul
Nursing School State: 
Graduation Year: