Dictionary of Virginia Biography

Mildred Roberts Lawrence Glenn Bradshaw (9 February 1902–13 June 1989), nurse and educator, was born in Suffolk, the daughter of Joseph Robert Lawrence and his second wife, Angelina Christian Jones Lawrence. She received her early education in parochial schools and graduated in 1920 from Saint Joseph's Academy in Portsmouth. After teaching in Oak Grove, in Wake County, North Carolina, Lawrence enrolled in 1924 in the school of nursing at Norfolk's Saint Vincent's Hospital and graduated in 1927.

Lawrence taught at Saint Vincent's for nine months after graduation and then became director of nurses at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville. She remained there until 1932, when she began fourteen years as the director of nurses at King's Daughters' Hospital in Portsmouth. On 30 May 1936 she married Arthur Glenn in that city. After he was badly burned in an accident at the naval shipyard where he worked, he committed suicide on 20 September 1941. On 11 November 1944 she married Herbert Oscar Bradshaw, of Portsmouth. They separated in 1948, and she obtained a divorce on the grounds of desertion on 16 June 1950.

Mildred L. Bradshaw, as she was professionally known for much of her career, became a national leader in the education of licensed practical nurses. In January 1946, in cooperation with the Norfolk city school system's vocational education program, she started a course in practical nursing at Leigh Memorial Hospital. At the time only about thirty-five practical nurse education programs existed in the United States, and the only other school of practical nursing previously established in Virginia had been short-lived. Bradshaw's program at Leigh was the first in the country to receive national accreditation for practical nurse education. She was president of the Graduate Nurses' Association of Virginia from October 1942 to May 1946. In 1951 Bradshaw was elected to the first of two consecutive two-year terms as president of the National Association for Practical Nurse Education. By the time she retired from nursing in 1964, practical nurse education programs in the United States numbered approximately 700.

In 1954 Bradshaw and her sister Martha G. Lawrence formed the Practical Nurse Digest Publishing Company and began issuing Practical Nurse Digest, a monthly journal that served for fifteen years as the official organ of the Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses. Bradshaw wrote a regular column entitled "Let's Talk About It" and contributed to other nursing publications. She was also a delegate to the 1960 White House Conference on Children and Youth and to the 1961 White House Conference on Aging. In 1954 the board of the National Association for Practical Nurse Education created a national service award and named it for her. Bradshaw was herself the recipient of the Bradshaw Award in 1959, and three years later she won the Virginia State Nurses Association's biennial Nancy Vance Award for distinguished service. The Virginia Licensed Practical Nurses Association created a similar biennial award and named it the Mildred L. Bradshaw Award.

Bradshaw retired from Leigh Memorial Hospital in 1964 but continued to publish the Practical Nurse Digest and remained active in Saint Paul's Catholic Church. She was also a leader in the Norfolk chapter of the Pilot Club, a women's service organization, and in 1958 she became the first Virginian to serve as president of the Pilot Club International. The Norfolk Pilot Club created and named in her honor the Mildred L. Bradshaw scholarship award. Mildred Roberts Lawrence Glenn Bradshaw suffered a stroke in January 1989 and died in Norfolk on 13 June 1989. She was buried in Portsmouth Catholic Cemetery.

Sources Consulted:
Virginia's Voc Ed Voice 8 (Apr. 1986): 2; New York Times, 17 May 1951, 6 May 1953; Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 25 Jan. 1953, 11 Oct. 1962; Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, 18 July 1957; Richmond Times-Dispatch, 28 July 1957; Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch and Star, 12 July 1958; Virginia Nurse Quarterly 30 (winter 1962): 44–47 (portrait); dates of marriages and divorce verified by Bureau of Vital Statistics, Virginia Department of Health; obituaries in Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 14 June 1989, and Virginia Nurse 57, no. 3 (1989): 50.

Written for the Dictionary of Virginia Biography by Daphne Gentry.

How to cite this page:
Daphne Gentry,"Mildred Lawrence Bradshaw (1902–1989)," Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia (1998– ), published 2001 (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/dvb/bio.asp?b=Bradshaw_Mildred_Lawrence, accessed [today's date]).

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