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Transcript of interview with Betty Blevins by Emily Powers, March 18, 2003







Betty Blevins was born in the small town of Berry, Alabama. She graduated from high school there in 1953 and then went on to nurses' training at the University of Alabama School of Nursing in Birmingham. She recalls the segregated wards, emergency rooms, and drinking fountains at the university hospital when she worked there in the fifties and early sixties. Betty's husband was hired at the Nevada Test Site as a journeyman electrician in 1963 and they moved to Las Vegas with their two children. Betty remembers living near Desert Inn Road and the Boulder Highway and taking her two older daughters to the Huntridge Theater on Charleston and Maryland Parkway, where they could see a movie and buy treats for fifty cents apiece. When Betty started working in Las Vegas as a nurse, there were only two hospitals, Sunrise and the old Memorial Hospital (now UMC). She was hired at Sunrise Hospital and describes the layout, recalls some of the surgeons she worked with, and offers up anecdotes of life in the O.R. Her third daughter was born at Sunrise as well. Betty eventually worked at Memorial and Valley View Hospitals, and ended up back at Sunrise. She recalls assisting during the first open-heart surgery with Dr. Ficus and the first corneal transplant with Dr. Shearing. Ms. Blevins describes the monumental changes in operating techniques and surgeon education, the installation of telephones in the O.R., the introduction of disposable sterile equipment, and the advent of computers and lasers. She recalls the first kidney harvest in which she participated, and shares examples of the humor that could be found in the hospital. She retired in the eighties and looks back on her long career with satisfaction.

Digital ID



Betty Blevins oral history interview, 2008 March 18. OH-00114. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada


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An Interview with Betty Blevins An Oral History Conducted by Emily Powers Heart to Heart Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©Heart to Heart Oral History Project University