Elizabeth C. Norwood, 93, served as president of Md. nursing examiners board

March 13, 2001|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

Elizabeth Catherine Norwood, who pushed for tougher standards as a member of the Maryland State Board of Nursing Examiners for 28 years, died Thursday of a stroke at Broadmead in Cockeysville. She was 93.

Appointed to the nursing board in 1940 by Gov. Herbert O'Conor, Mrs. Norwood served until 1968 - the last 16 years as board president. During her tenure, the board revised requirements for the state's nursing schools as medicine made rapid strides with the development of sulfa drugs, the polio vaccine and new surgical procedures.

"Of course, the education and training of the practitioners - the doctors, nurses and technologists - became almost overnight infinitely more complex," Mrs. Norwood told an interviewer for "Poe Died Here: Recollections of Church Home & Hospital," a 1994 history of the now-closed hospital.

"About 1950, there came into being, in response to all the changes in medical and medicines, the National Nursing Accreditation Service dedicated to improving and standardizing the training of nurses in the United States. This meant, among other things, that those who taught nursing students had, themselves, to be taught to reach and to prove their worth in formal accredited college programs," she said.

Under Mrs. Norwood's guidance, the state board called for larger and better-qualified nursing faculties and stressed the importance of clinical teaching.

"She had some very definite ideas about the nursing field and was very influential in it throughout the state," said her daughter, Catherine N. Holloway of Virginia Beach, Va.

Mrs. Norwood had firsthand knowledge of the profession she helped oversee for almost three decades. Born Elizabeth Catherine Fisher, she grew up in Baltimore, graduated from Friends School in 1925 and enrolled in Church Home and Infirmary School of Nursing. She was one of 21 graduates in the Class of 1929.

In 1930, she married a physician, Vernon H. Norwood, whom she had met as a student nurse. Dr. Norwood eventually became director of pathology at Church Hospital while she worked as a duty nurse and hospital social worker. She also helped supervise nursing students.

Dr. Norwood died in 1981.

Mrs. Norwood was president of the Maryland Nurses Association from 1944 to 1948. During the early 1980s, she represented Church Hospital on a steering committee that advised the Johns Hopkins University when it was planning its School of Nursing.

Away from nursing, Mrs. Norwood's passion was photography, which she learned from her father - a camera and film buff. Her daughter said it wasn't unusual for her to abruptly stop the car on cross-country family trips to shoot pictures, which she would later develop in her darkroom.

Mrs. Norwood photographed each member of the Church Hospital medical staff, and for years the framed pictures hung on the walls of the Hunner-Morgan Library in the building's east wing.

She also enjoyed duck hunting.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Loudon Park Cemetery, 3801 Frederick Ave.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Norwood is survived by a son, Thomas H. Norwood of Seattle; a sister, Mary Jean Fisher of Charlotte, N.C.; and three grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore 21205.

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