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Nursing School in the 1930's and 40's

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by zaika, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. zaika

    zaika One Too Many

    Not sure where to put this thread...but does anyone know of some good resources about nursing school during the 30's and 40's? How long did it take to finish the school? What was the curriculum? Etc.

  2. Big Man

    Big Man My Mail is Forwarded Here

    We had a nursing school at the hospital where I work that was in operation during the early 1900's on through (I believe) the late 1940's or early 1950's. I'll have to dig through our old archives and see what, if anything, still pertains to that school.

    We are, by the way, a State psychiatric hospital that was chartered in 1875. We're still in the same building that was build in 1877. Back then we were known as the "Western North Carolina Insane Asylum". Later the name was changed to the "State Hospital at Morganton", and in the late 1950's to "Broughton Hospital".

    I know of several nurses who were working here when I started work (30 years ago) who were graduates of our old nursing school; but, alas, they are all long retired now.
  3. Here is a quick blurb about the nursing school associated with my local hospital...They still have halls decorated with pictures of the ladies and old uniforms..etc....very nice touch historically

    About Us
    The Methodist Hospital School of Nursing

    A School of Nursing opened at the hospital in 1915, with a class of 30 students. Ten years later, a residence was built to accommodate 150 graduate and student nurses. This four-story brick building, known as Philomena Hall, was connected to the hospital by an underground corridor and provided accommodations, classrooms and a gymnasium for the nurses. Beginning in 1944 (after a nine-year school closure), additional housing for nurses was provided in a refurbished residential house adjacent to Philomena Hall. After more than 40 years of operation and the graduation of hundreds of talented young nurses, the School of Nursing closed. Times had changed, and the practice of nursing education had moved into the domain of the formal education system. The school was phased out in 1958 with the graduation of the last nursing class.

    I will keep looking for other data....
  4. From movies of the time – who knows how truthful – you get the idea that they lived extremely circumscribed lives even outside the long hours they worked, living on the premises, responsible to grim martinet women 24 hours a day, with marriage to a doctor the only honorable way out.
  5. My mother was a nursing student at Essondale (now Riverview Hospital) in Coquitlam, British Columbia. She worked on a 100-bed unit, mostly G.P.I.'s -General Paresis of The Insane (end stage Syphillis). Her days consisted of about 6 hours of classroom instruction, followed by either evening or nightshifts on the wards. In her last year, she was a charge nurse (that's right...students were designated charge nurses on night shifts) on a medical floor where it was not unusual for there to be two or more deaths. She had to bathe them, lay them out and wrap them in shrouds to be sent to the morgue.

    Nursing care on the psychiatric wards was nothing less than chaotic. There were no psychiatric medications. They had electro-convulsive therapy (shock treatments without anaesthesia or muscle relaxants), hydrotherapy (forced warm baths) and insulin shock therapy - deliberate overdoses of insulin which induced a diabetic coma for three days or so, after which the patient would be relatively calm, then they went back to being crazy.

    She lived in the Nursing Residence where life was pretty strictly controlled by the matrons. One of her classmates was expelled for sneaking out and getting drunk. She was known to her classmates as "Butch" (no lie), and was the first lesbian she ever met.

    I have several of my mum's old nursing school textbooks. I can try to dig them up and scan some of it, if you're interested.

    This is Eastlawn Building at Riverview Hospital; where my mum was a nurse, and coincidentally, I began my own career as a Psych. Nurse.


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