An oil painting of Grand View Hospital painted more than 60 years ago by one of its nursing school graduates was donated in honor of the hospital’s centennial anniversary. The painting will become part of a collection of hospital and nursing school memorabilia and historical items on display at the Sellersville Museum.
The painting was done by Naomi Derstein-Ressler, a 1946 graduate of the Grand View Hospital School of Nursing. She was one of 12 students to receive a nursing diploma that year. Naomi captured on canvas the hospital building on Lawn Avenue in Sellersville where she began her nursing education and training. Naomi painted it sometime between 1952 and 1954 while continuing her studies at Eastern Mennonite College (EMC).
Today few people realize a nursing school existed at Grand View Hospital. One lasting reminder is the inscription “NURSES HOME” on a partially cement façade of the building that stands next to the hospital. The hospital operated the nursing school for 60 years. According to 1956 graduate Ellen Clark, who serves on the board of directors of the Nurses’ Training Alumni Association, 547 students entered Grand View’s nursing program from 1913 until it closed in 1973. She said, “Our nurses traveled all around the globe. It’s been said that our graduates worked in all 50 of the United States.”
Naomi was one of those nurses who travelled. Her first experience was working for a doctor in West Virginia, recalled her sister Mim Miller, also a retired registered nurse, who presented the painting to Grand View during a visit from Colorado. Next Naomi sailed to France where she worked as a nurse with the Mennonite Central Committee at the Weiler Children’s Home for two years.
Then in 1952, Naomi returned to the United States and entered EMC where she painted the Grand View scene during her studies there. In 1954, she obtained a bachelor of science nursing degree and married John Ressler. The couple lived in Gladys, Virginia for a short time before moving to York, Pennsylvania where they began a family. In 1973, Naomi, her husband and their three children moved to Elkton, Minnesota where they established a farm. In addition to working on the farm, she was a nurse in pediatrics at Saint Olaf Hospital in Austin. Naomi retired from nursing in 1984.
Now 86, Naomi and her husband reside on their Minnesota property where their son and his family continue to farm. Naomi is a graduate of Hatfield High School, class of 1943.