Seattle Public Schools First Black Nurse
Shirley Gilford, BSN, RN, featured in Seattle Public Schools Health Services Newsletter.
The full-page article in the January 2021 newsletter chronicles Ms. Gilford’s early life and education, follows her groundbreaking career as the first Black public health nurse with Central East office of Public Health-Seattle/King County, and details her influence in the community.
“Hired in 1962 as the first Black school nurse, she was assigned to TT Minor and Madrona Elementary Schools, working with Central Area families she already knew. Grassroots groups urged the district to hire more Black teachers and administrators in the mid-sixties. Shirley recruited other Black nurses to join SPS including Verna Hill, Muriel Softli, Vivian Lee, Pat Watts and Frances Terry.”Seattle Public Schools Health Services Newsletter, Jan. 2021
Throughout her life, Ms. Gilford has always been a leader in her profession. She joined the Washington State Nurses Association and served as Chair of the first state Minority Affairs Committee among American Nurses Association state chapters. She also served as president of the Seattle School Nurse Association and of the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization.
In 2000, she was inducted into the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame. In 2019, University of Washington School of Nursing recognized her as one of the 100 most influential nurses in the state.