9 unique ways Princeton Baptist Medical Center has touched this woman’s life

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Carol Donaldson, RN, with her family. She, her late husband and their five children were all born at Princeton Baptist. Photo via Carol Donaldson

Princeton Baptist Medical Center turns 100 this year, and to celebrate, we’ve got the story of one incredible woman whose life has been intertwined with the hospital since before she was born. Keep reading to hear about Carol Donaldson and learn more about the place she’s always felt she was meant to be.

Princeton Baptist Medical Center celebrates 100 years of serving the community

“We are proud to mark this milestone by reflecting on our hospital’s legacy and embracing the exciting things that are in store for our team.  This year is more than a time to just celebrate, but it is a time to honor the unwavering commitment of those employees who have served and continued to serve our community.” 

Mike Neuendorf, Princeton Baptist CEO

Carol Donaldson is one of the employees who has served—and continues to serve—the community

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Carol Donaldson in front of the hospital that’s played such an important role in her life. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

When you talk to nurse Carol Donaldson, it quickly becomes obvious that she’s right where she’s meant to be, in the hospital that has played a starring role in many of her family’s most meaningful moments. 

In addition to being a nurse, she’s a mother to five children ranging in age from 22 to almost 34, and a grandmother to two wonderful granddaughters.

Originally from Wylam, near Ensley, Donaldson currently lives in Homewood. 

When she’s not working, she loves spending time camping and hiking in the great outdoors with family—family favorites include Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. 

1. Donaldson was born at Princeton Baptist Medical Center

Donaldson’s relationship with Princeton Baptist, like that of so many others, began at birth. 

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2. As a teen, she was a candy striper at the hospital

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Carol Donaldson was a candy striper before she became a nurse. Photo via Carol Donaldson

As a teen, Donaldson served as a youth volunteer—known back in the day as a candy striper for the red and white striped pinafores these young women wore.

3. Next, she made rounds with her father, a family practice physician

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A young nurse Carol Dietz with her father. Photo via Carol Donaldson

According to her mom, Donaldson’s father, the late family physician Carl Dietz, first began making rounds at Princeton back in 1953—when the new hospital was a mere 31 years old. 

Once they were old enough, Donaldson and her sister would make rounds with their dad, giving them both their first taste of patient care and bedside manner.

4. Nursing was the next logical step

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Donaldson assisting Dr. John Mathews in her role as Clinical Informaticist. Photo via Carol Donaldson

Donaldson’s time as a candy striper convinced her that nursing was the profession for her, and off she went to the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, which had just become a part of Samford University. 

While she now serves as Princeton’s Clinical Informatics Coordinator, throughout her rich career, she’s worked in a number of positions and shifts throughout the hospital, including:

  • Surgical Unit
  • Surgical Intensive Care
  • Emergency Department
  • Education Department

Donaldson loves the variety and flexibility that nursing affords. She also enjoys meeting all the different people in a hospital setting, from the residents and physicians to the other nurses, patients and staff. 

“Our physicians and staff—everybody feels like family.”

Carol Donaldson

5. Praying with patients

Faith is a central part of Donaldson’s life, and the way it’s woven into everything Princeton Baptist does means a lot to her: 

“One of the things that Princeton has been known for is the type of care that we give and for staff and physicians who will sit down before a procedure with a patient and just pray with them.

We have our pastoral care department and chaplains who work all the time. But we also start meetings with prayer, and we have a devotional every morning that goes out across our loudspeaker. You just don’t have that in other places.”

6. Donaldson’s sister worked at Princeton in Labor & Delivery

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Once she and her husband started thinking about having a family, Donaldson looked around to find the best hospital to have her babies. She has a sister who spent her career working in Labor & Delivery at Princeton and decided it would be a good place to have her own. 

7. She had 5 kids at Princeton

“Even though we have a small women’s department, it’s really good, with a NICU for babies in case there are any issues. I felt very comfortable having all my children here. Just in case something went wrong, I knew they would be taken care of, and that meant a lot to me.”

Carol Donaldson
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8. Donaldson’s youngest sister had triplets there

When Donaldson’s youngest sister was pregnant with triplets, she decided to have them at Princeton. Because she was high risk, she stayed in the hospital from Thanksgiving until the day they were born.

Since all the babies weighed somewhere around 2.5 pounds, they stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for several weeks until they were released. 

9. Donaldson’s late husband was born at Princeton, too

Carol Donaldson had the good fortune to be married to beloved Samford University professor Steve Donaldson for 34 years. A computer science professor for many years, he started a program at Samford on Science and Religion that’s still going on. 

Though she didn’t learn this fact until many years later, Donaldson says her late husband was born at Princeton, too. 

For 100 years, Princeton Baptist Medical Center has been serving people throughout the Birmingham area, and Carol Donaldson’s story is just one of many whose lives have been touched. Visit Princeton Baptist Medical Center’s website to learn more. 

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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