Caring for Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Story of St. Joseph’s Nurses

Piper Memorial Medical Museum, St. Joseph Medical Center, and Svadlenak Museum Consulting Kansas City, MO

Caring for Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Story of St. Joseph’s Nurses opened November 12, 2014, at the Piper Memorial Medical Museum at St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  This permanent exhibit focuses on the importance and role of St. Joseph’s nurses throughout the hospital’s history and conveys the rich tradition and commitment to compassionate quality health care first established by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

As the oldest private hospital in Kansas City, St. Joseph’s history is a reflection of how the training and practice of nursing has changed since the Sisters opened it in 1874.  Major nursing changes are highlighted, including nurse training and credentialing, nursing science advances, and nursing responsibilities. The exhibit draws from the museum’s archival and artifact collections, and includes personal stories of St. Joseph religious and lay nurses. An integral component of the exhibit is a four-minute video where nurses, working and retired, doctors, and patients describe their experiences with, or as, nurses at St. Joseph.

Visitors to the exhibit can compare their experience and knowledge about nursing to the story of St. Joseph’s nurses over the past 140 years and are invited to add their own story in an exhibit notebook titled, “Your Story.” These comments will be used to evaluate the exhibit and plan future programs.  Located in a central hallway of the hospital, this exhibit is highly visible and creates a sense of pride for hospital staff and, for patients and visitors, confidence that they and their family members or friends will be well cared for at St. Joseph.