A newly digitized collection of newsletters from Rex Healthcare Library in Raleigh, N.C., are now available on DigitalNC. The six newsletters range from 1977-2008. The Rex Healthcare Library collection reflects major changes in the life of a hospital over the the past four decades, from attitudes toward smoking, holiday celebrations, recycling, and childcare; to the advent of computers and new medical technology.
Rex Hospital opened in Raleigh in 1894. After relocating to different Raleigh sites in 1909 and 1937, it moved to its current location at Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh, in 1980. In 1995, Rex Hospital changed its corporate name to Rex Healthcare to reflect the variety of care facilities it provides. Today, the private, not-for-profit Rex is part of the UNC Healthcare system. It is one of the largest employers in Wake County, N.C. You can learn more about the history of Rex by looking at materials the NCDHC has digitized from them, including this history published in 1957.
Three of the newsletters — the Rex Messenger, the Rex Hotline, and Pulse — focus on general hospital staff, employees, and friends. The Messenger is the oldest newsletter in the collection, spanning 1977-1998. It includes extensive pieces on the history of the hospital and covers the hospital’s centennial celebration in 1994. Two other newsletters, Nursing Perspectives and CaREXpress, center on the patient care division of the hospital; while RCare specifically treats the hospital’s move to electronic record-keeping. The newsletters also ran employee profiles, gave updates on hospital procedures, printed poetry and fiction by hospital workers, and published letters from patients; and they report on activities Rex Hospital sponsored in the surrounding Raleigh community.
One feature in the January 1987 issue of the Messenger asked reporters to imagine what life would be like for Mandy Foster — the first child born at Rex Hospital in the new year — when she became a teenager in the year 2000. Several people suggested Mandy might work in the space program. Others speculated on how technologically savvy she would be. An RN reflected, “I’m not sure what the year 2000 will bring to the new baby, but I surely hope it will include the ‘human’ touch and won’t be all ‘machine-to-machine’ conversations or fetch-and-carry robots or ‘push-button everythings.’ ” (Read the full feature here .)