When Joan Hull-Pyle was in the second grade, she knew she wanted to become a nurse. When one of her brothers became ill, her mother stayed in the hospital 24 hours a day to take care of him because there were not enough nurses. This set the course of her life toward nursing. In 1958, Ms. Pyle received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alabama, and later became certified in the treatment of burn victims and medical coding.
Ms. Pyle became a head nurse at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama in 1962. She was there for a mere three years before becoming the director of nursing services at Pineview Hospital in Hartselle, Alabama. In 1970, Ms. Pyle and her family moved to central Florida, where she began her work as an administrative coordinator of Orlando Regional Medical Center. After distinguishing herself among her peers, she was recruited in 1980 by the Orange County government to implement and create one of the country’s first pre-hospital care system, which we know today as 911 emergency services. She served as a director of emergency services for Orange County, Florida, until 1994.
Ms. Pyle served on the executive board of the Florida Association of County ER Medical Services Directors and was a president of the Florida Association of ER Medical Providers. From 2005 until 2011, she served and directed the Christian Women’s Association in Orlando, Florida. Ms. Pyle was instrumental in forming the Critical Incident Stress Debriefers of Florida, and was active with the Central Florida Fire Chiefs Association and the Federal ER Management Association until she retired.
Ms. Pyle was instrumental in helping implement and pass many of Florida laws including one of the first DUI laws, as well as seatbelt and child restraint laws. She has received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, and was the recipient of the Charles C. Paul Pioneer Award for her contributions to the conception and development of Orange County ER Medical Services System and for her support for the enhancement of the delivery of pre-hospital emergency care throughout Orange County.
One of the highlights of Ms. Pyle’s career was learning CPR when it first became widely used. Her knowledge of CPR proved very important one day while working in the emergency room when a young man arrived in cardiac arrest. She and a doctor performed CPR on the man for over an hour, and were successful in reviving him. Although he remained critically ill for several days, she was rewarded with knowing her hard work had paid off when she saw him jogging down the road one day on her drive to work. It is because of Ms. Pyle’s instrumental contribution to emergency medicine that she was selected for inclusion in the fourth and fifth editions of Who’s Who in American Nursing.