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Mayo Clinic Archives – Florida: Department of Nursing

Department of Nursing

This page details the convergence of the nursing teams at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and St. Luke's Hospital in Jacksonville. Their joint efforts created the Department of Nursing at the Mayo Clinic in Florida.

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For more information, contact:

Carole LaRochelle, MLIS | Archivist | | 904-956-3127

Timeline of Key Events

  • March 11, 1873: St. Luke's Hospital is founded by Susan Hartridge, Myra H. Mitchell, and Anna Doggett.
  • 1885: St. Luke's Hospital founds its Training School for Nurses.
  • 1965: The Training School for Nurses moves from St. Luke's Hospital to Jacksonville University.
  • December 1, 1984: St. Luke's Hospital moves from Boulevard Avenue to Belfort Road.
  • 1986: The Mayo Clinic opens in Jacksonville.
  • 1987: The Mayo Clinic affiliates with St. Luke's Hospital.
  • April 12, 2008: Patients are moved from St. Luke's Hospital to the Mayo Clinic.
  • February 2009: The Nurse Residency Program is instituted.
  • May 28, 2015 - Mayo Clinic in Florida earns the Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Louise Mayo (1825-1915)

Our first nurse, before the foundation of the clinic, was Louise Mayo. She provided care alongside her husband, Dr. William Worrall Mayo. Her knowledge of botanical remedies allowed her to treat patients in his place when he was away. She was a midwife as well, delivering hundreds of babies during her career.

In The Nurses of Mayo Clinic: Caring Healers, Arlene Keeling describes Louise Mayo's approach to nursing: "She developed authentic caring relationships with patients; she solved problems; and she related to patients with sensitivity and compassion. Indeed, she was an integrator of care, incorporating women's cultural healing values, while providing friendship and support as part of the women's traditional healing network."

Sister Joseph Dempsey (1856-1939)

After a tornado struck Rochester at 6:36 p.m. on August 21, 1883, the Sisters of St. Francis took charge in the relief effort. Under the leadership of Mother Alfred Moes, they provided nursing care and raised funds for the victims. They applied their experiences to raise money for the construction of St. Marys Hospital, where they continued their work as nurses.

One of the many Sisters of St. Francis who left an enduring legacy with the Mayo Clinic was Sister Mary Joseph Dempsey. Throughout her career, she assisted Drs. Will and Charlie during operations and served as administrator for the hospital. During one surgery, she identified an umbilical nodule whose presence is a sign of malignancy. The nodule was later named the Sister Mary Joseph nodule in her honor.

She also founded the Saint Marys Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1906, which initially offered room and board to students with no tuition fees. About 3800 students graduated there prior to its closure in 1970. Roughly 250 alumni served in the Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II.

Edith Graham Mayo (1867-1943)

The eleventh of thirteen children, Edith Graham grew up on a farm in Kalmar Township, MN. Her mother Jane Graham was a midwife who delivered 243 babies without the assistance of a physician. Edith would follow her in the medical field and graduated from the nursing program at the Chicago Women's Hospital in 1889.

Edith soon began working with Dr. William Worrall Mayo. Since she was experienced in riding horses, she provided care for patients in the country. She learned anesthesia from W. W. Mayo and administered chloroform to patients undergoing surgery. Following the construction of St. Mary's Hospital in 1889, she educated the Sisters of St. Francis in nursing. She would be the only anesthetist in the hospital until her marriage to Dr. Charlie Mayo in 1893.

Nursing at St. Luke's Hospital: 1885-1986

Class of 1897 No graduates. Class of 1896 Charita Bouchillon, Miss Mamie Eldridge, Aurilla Scott Pouls, Miss Marie Sprug. Class of 1895 Lydia Lucca Wheeler Kirk. Class of 1885 Florence Platt.

1885 - The Training School for Nurses

St. Luke's Hospital founded its Training School for Nurses in 1885. The initial class was composed of three students, of whom only Florence Platt graduated. The graduates from 1885-1897 were tracked by the school's Alumnae Association and are shown here.

The school expanded in 1894, attracting new students with a stipend of $15 per month and housing. It would continue to have fewer than ten graduates each year until 1921. The school later moved under the auspices of Jacksonville University in 1965.

1920s - Hospital Services Expand

St. Luke's Hospital began offering new services throughout the 1920s to meet the growing needs of the Jacksonville community. Services include x-rays by 1926 and physical therapy in 1928.

This photograph was taken in 1928 and printed in the August 1994 issue of Jacksonville Medicine. It shows the nursing director Alice Vaughn and hospital superintendent Harry Holcombe in the room used for treating fractures.


This image is from the collections of the Jacksonville History Center.

1960 - Diamond Jubilee

This image was printed in A Century of Service, St. Luke's Hospital, 1873-1973. The hospital commissioned local historian Richard A. Martin to tell its story. 

Alumni from the St. Luke's nursing school gathered to celebrate its diamond jubilee in 1960. They wore uniforms that represented the hospital's history.

Charita Bouchillon, a graduate of the class of 1896, is shown in the center.


This image is from the collections of the Jacksonville History Center.

Nurses Clare Hogwood (left in photo at right) and Peggy McCartt, completed paper work yesterday as St. Luke's Hospital began the move to its new, six-story $57 million building at 4201 Belfort Road in Jacksonville's Southside. At 6:40 a.m., the first convoy of three ambulances followed a police escort down interstate 95 over the Fuller Warren Bridge to Butler Boulevard and Belfort Road. Twenty-two patients, five of them in critical condition, were transferred to the new hospital, which opened six months ahead of schedule.

December 2, 1984 - The Florida Times-Union Reports on the New Building for St. Luke's Hospital

On December 1, 1984, nurses at St. Luke's Hospital transferred patients to the new building. According to critical care educator Clare Hogwood, internal staff spent roughly 18 months planning the move without a consulting firm. While the ER remained in operation up to the move, Hogwood explained that they "stopped those planned admissions about a week before the move and did all that to try to downsize and get everybody out of the hospital."


This article is © The Florida Times-Union. It is displayed here per the Copyright Act, which permits the fair use of copyrighted materials for scholarship.

1984 - The New Building for St. Luke's Hospital Opens

The new St. Luke's Hospital building, which opened in 1984. The site is now known as Ascension St. Vincent's Southside Hospital.

Transition to Mayo Clinic in Florida: 1987-2008

Mayo Foundation		Rochester, Minnesota 55905	Telephone 507 284-2511  W. Eugene Mayberry, M.D. President Chief Executive Officer  July 8, 1987  Frances B. Kinne, Ph.D. President Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL 32211  Dear Fran:  	As you know so well, this past Monday St. Luke's Health Care Systems, Inc., which includes St. Luke's Hospital of Jacksonville announced an agreement to affiliate with Mayo. This action formalizes the close working relationship established between St. Luke's Hospital and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.  	As a special friend of Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, I wanted to apprise you of this important event. Under this arrangement, Mayo will appoint a new St. Luke's Board of Directors to oversee hospital operations. St. Luke's Hospital will, however, retain its separate legal and financial status. The hospital will remain an open medical staff hospital serving the community and region, and physicians throughout the Jacksonville area will continue to hold admitting privileges.  	Mr. James Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Rochester Methodist Hospital, will function as acting Executive Director of St. Luke's Hospital and Mr. Larry Read will continue as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Robert Harrison will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer, and will continue to serve in a consulting role after the affiliation with Mayo is complete.  	Your support and encouragement enabled Mayo to open our new clinic facilities in Jacksonville. We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship as Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and St. Luke's Hospital combine outstanding facilities and staffs to provide the highest quality of medical care to the citizens of Jacksonville and the southeastern United States.  Sincerely,  W. Eugene Mayberry, M.D.  WEM/jb  Established in 1919 by Dr. William J. Mayo and Dr. Charles H. Mayo for the advancement of medical education and research

July 8, 1987 - Mayo Clinic Announces Affiliation with St. Luke's Hospital

This letter is from Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. W. Eugene Mayberry to Jacksonville University President Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne. Mayberry wrote to notify Kinne of the affiliation of the Mayo Clinic with St. Luke's Hospital and to thank her for her support of the Mayo Clinic's arrival in Jacksonville.

Dr. Kinne was a lifelong champion of the Mayo Clinic, having been a patient during her childhood in Story City, Iowa. She spearheaded philanthropic efforts to bring the Mayo Clinic to Florida and advised Mayo CEOs. The Kinne Auditorium is named in her honor.

1990 - Evolving Responsibilities for Nurses

This photograph was taken in 1990. It shows a team of nurses at the Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Nurses working during this period reflected on the professional changes brought about by the Mayo model of care. At St. Luke's Hospital, nurses often worked temporarily through staffing agencies and collaborated with community physicians. At the Mayo Clinic, all nurses and physicians are full-time employees, which facilitates communication and rapid care.

Tasks became more specialized by team. Responsibilities like catheterization, drawing blood, and pacing were previously all assigned to the same nurse. Under the Mayo model, a separate nurse was assigned each duty.

R.N.s Joan Gonzalez and Cynthia Ansbacher review new technology in Pain Management with a Health Fair visitor.

May 15, 1991 - Hospital Week Health Fair

This image is taken from The Caring Touch, a newsletter for the nurses at St. Luke's Hospital.

The hospital hosted more than 1000 visitors during the Health Fair, which was held during National Hospital Week on May 15, 1991. Nurses contributed services including with blood pressure screenings and information on pain management.

St. Luke's

1992 - The Friesen Model of Nursing at St. Luke's Hospital

This excerpt is taken from the Summer 1992 issue of the Mayo Center for Nursing newsletter.

Nurses at St. Luke's looked back on the changes in nursing procedures undertaken after the move to the building on Belfort Road. Staff adopted a modified form of the Friesen model of nursing. The newsletter describes new procedures in which "supplies were centralized on the ground floor of the hospital. The majority of supplies were brought to the nurses on request via a mechanized delivery system. Unit secretaries also were relocated. Instead of being situated next to the nurses' station, the unit secretary worked from a communications core, centrally located on each nursing floor. Nurses sent doctors' written orders to unit secretaries via pneumatic tube."

September 22, 1993 - St. Luke's Hospital Nurse Provided Emergency Care Following Train Derailment

Christine Motley, a critical care nurse at St. Luke's Hospital, was a passenger on the Amtrak train that derailed in a bayou close to Saraland, Alabama. She helped others exit the train cars and established a triage to help injured passengers while they waited for emergency services to arrive.

Motley earned the Meritorious Public Service Award, the second-highest accolade given by the United States Coast Guard to civilians. She is shown here with the award for a photograph in the May 1994 issue of the Mayo Today magazine.

Lt. Jerry Vosburgh, Commanding Officer, Regional TACLET South, presented the award with the following statement:

"Her unselfish actions and valiant service reflect great credit upon herself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service."

The Nurse Exchange Program

The Nursing Department at the new Mayo Clinic in Florida was composed of both staff from St. Luke's Hospital and participants in the Nurse Exchange Program through the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is busiest in the winter, while the Mayo Clinic in Florida is busiest in the summer. Since the locations have complementary peak seasons, nurses in the exchange program traveled together and formed a cohesive team. Their joint efforts ensured that the values and culture of the Mayo Clinic could thrive in Florida, embodying the spirit of teamwork that is critical to our RICH TIES.

Chief Nursing Officer Nell Talbird, R.N., is shown in the upper left of the photograph. She collaborated with Helen Jameson, R.N., the CNO of Rochester Methodist Hospital, to establish the Nurse Exchange Program.

From left to right, the photograph depicts the following:

  • Charles Shetler, CFO
  • Nell Talbird, CNO
  • Glen Flake, COO
  • J. Reid Baggett, CHRO
  • J. Dudley Freeman, Head of Facilities

2005 - Leadership Through the Transition

The photograph was taken in 2005. It depicts the following:

  • Left: Nan Sawyer, BS, MBA. She began her career with the Mayo Clinic in Florida as a pharmacist in 1986. She became the Administrator over multiple teams beginning in 1991 and served as the Division Chair of Clinic Operations from 2002-2005.
  • Center: Robert (Bob) Brigham, BSN, MBA, DBA. He began his career with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota as a nurse in 1978. He directed multiple teams at St. Luke's Hospital from 1988-1993 and served as the Director of Nursing and Operations Administrator at the Mayo Ambulatory Surgical Center in Florida. He was later the Chair of Administration in Florida from 2005-2014.
  • Right: George Bartley, MD. He served as the CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Florida from 2002-2008.

February 2008 - Nursing Newsletter

Some of the same nurses who transitioned buildings at St. Luke's Hospital in 1984 also worked on the move to the Mayo Clinic in 2008. One of those nurses was Pat Legg (shown above) who was interviewed for the Nursing Newsletter in February 2008. She reflected that:

“The last move was exciting. The weather was beautiful. The date of December 14 was to be a mile marker for me. St. Luke's was moving an entire hospital----not just expanding! There was cutting edge technology placed in the new hospital with the goal to give our patients top of the line care. We were setting a standard for others to follow. I am proud to be a part of Jacksonville's history as we moved St. Luke's hospital to the Southside. As we move forward, I feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment to be able to give our patients the best.”

April 11, 2008 - Patient Transition Tracking

This document describes the steps needed for nurses and physicians to ensure continuity of care as they moved from St. Luke's Hospital to the Mayo Clinic. The names of patients are redacted for their privacy.

The move was planned for three years under the direction of leaders like Chief Nursing Officer Hilary Mathews and Medical Director Dr. Charles Berger. Patients were transported by ambulance down the J. Turner Butler Boulevard without incident.

A video of the move is preserved in the Mayo Clinic Archives.

Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Florida: 2008-2023

2008-2009 - Admission Nurse Project

From 2008 to 2009, nursing teams undertook a project to streamline to the admissions process and help patients secure beds. Admission nurses completed the admission profile and discussed it with bedside nurses to ensure that patients received the care they needed.

Admission nurses also filled out orders for pneumonia vaccines, raising our compliance rate from 83% to 100%.

2009-Present - Nurse Residency Program

In February 2009, the nursing team coordinated with the First Coast Nurse Leaders to launch the Nurse Residency Program. The program guides new graduates in the transitional phase from student to professional. A mentor helps each resident develop the skills they need to have a lasting career in nursing, which is a field with a high turnover rate during the first year of employment.

The program has since expanded with specialized offerings in areas such as critical care, perioperative nursing, and perianesthesia nursing.

Julie Shimp, RN, earned an Excellence in Leadership Award in 2023 for her management of the ICU Nurse Residency program. She overcame the staffing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to expand the unit from 12 to 50 RNs and added clinical coaches to counsel the residents.

Graduates from the February 2023 cohort are shown here.

April 16, 2010 - Spring Research Symposium

On April 16, 2010, the University of North Florida held the Spring Research Symposium. Nurses from the Mayo Clinic contributed their research in poster presentations:

  • Perceptions of Night Nursing Care by 5S Erica Torres, RN, MSN
  • Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes in the Rehabilitation Setting: Application of Production Function Theory by Mary Nason, RN, MSN PhD c, Clinical Educator on 3S
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist: A New Role for Mayo Florida by Jane Myrick, RN, MSN,ACNS-BC, Cardiology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Post Transplant Education by 3S staff nurse Kathleen Sheppard RN, BSN

Jane Myrick RN, MSN,ACNS-BC and Mary Nason RN, MSN PhD are pictured here.

2010-2017 - Achievements in the Chest Pain Center

In 2010, the Mayo Clinic in Florida was the first Mayo hospital to earn the title of Accredited Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. It earned an additional honor in 2017 when The Joint Commission awarded it the Gold Seal of Approval for Chest Pain Certification.

Nurses have contributed to the Chest Pain Center's innovation in care by coordinating the Rapid Response Team. The team performs an ECG within ten minutes after a patient shows symptoms of cardiac distress. They quickly examine patients to ensure that they receive care for myocardial infarctions.

Magnet Recognized American Nurses Credentialing Center

May 28, 2015 - Mayo Clinic in Florida Earns Magnet Designation

On May 28, 2015, the American Nurses Credentialing Center acknowledged the Mayo Clinic in Florida through their Magnet Recognition Program. The certification honors the nursing team for their high standards and new developments in patient care.

The Magnet certification is valid for 5 years. It was last renewed in 2020.

December 17, 2020 - Nurse Receives the COVID-19 Vaccine

Kniely Maxwell, a nurse in the Emergency Department in the Mayo Clinic in Florida, marked an important milestone in the institution's response to COVID-19. She was the first employee at the Mayo Clinic who received the COVID-19 vaccine.


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