In the early years of the hospital, the nurses who cared for
the sick and injured were untrained men and women. Quite often
these attendants were former patients who had shown some aptitude
or desire to nurse others after their own recovery. At that time,
such employees were usually the working poor, commanding low
wages and having limited access to education. However, some individuals
demonstrated a real vocation for the care of the sick, and were
a great resource to the hospital community.
School of Nursing for Women (1875-1974)
In 1875, the Hospital's Board of Managers took under consideration
plans to establish a training school for nurses. A program was
developed, and certificates were awarded for successful completion
of a year's worth of training, which included medical and surgical
components. Four years later, Pennsylvania Hospital agreed to
co-train nurses from the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia, an
arrangement which lasted until 1882.
In 1883, the hospital re-established its independent training
school, graduating four nurses in its first year. Lectures were
systematically delivered to students by members of the medical,
surgical, and outpatient staffs, which supplemented instruction
given by the school's superintendent. Such quality training and
staff support led to an important precedent in 1885, at which
time three female nurses were allowed to work on men's medical
wards. The first public commencement of the nursing school happened
in 1893, when students received class pins that incorporated
the seal of the Good Samaritan in the design.
Helen G. McClelland
Some luminaries in the hospital's training school included Miss
Lucy Walker, an English nurse who became superintendent in 1896.
Under her tutelage, the nursing school became known as one of
the best in the United States. Miss Margaret A. Dunlop became
head of the school in 1909 and was instrumental in the overseas
organization of the American Ambulance Service and Base Hospital
No. 10 during World War I. Her assistant, Miss Helen G. McClelland,
recipient of the American Distinguished Service Cross for valorous
service during World War I, succeeded her predecessor in 1933.
During her 23-year tenure, Miss McClelland played an important
role in the changing dynamics of the nursing profession. she
instituted a shorter work day for nurses, comparable to that
of other fields; encouraged continuing education; designed nursing
educational programs; and solicited friends of the hospital to
endow scholarships. Miss McClelland also organized the nursing
component of the 52nd Evacuation Hospital at the onset of World
In 1964, restructuring within the hospital's administration
and changes within nursing accreditation organizations necessitated
the merger of the School of Nursing for Women at 8th Street and
the School of Nursing for Men at 49th Street. The hospital's
nursing programs has always been based on the "diploma school" format,
in which student nurses divided their time between clinical experience
and classroom instruction. Pressures within the rapidly growing
nursing profession created an imperative to transition from the
hospital-based diploma schools towards academic education. The
faculty of the merged program developed an improved curriculum
in light of the changing patterns in nursing education. However,
in 1974 the hospital graduated its last class of nurses. More
than 2,800 students has graduated since the first public commencement
in 1893, all proudly bearing their caps and "Pennsy" Good
Samaritan nursing pins.
School of Nursing for Men (1914-1965)
In 1914 the School of Nursing for Men was established at the
Department for Mental and Nervous Diseases, located at the hospital's
West Philadelphia Campus. It was the first training school for
male nurses in the United States to be headed by a man, Leroy
N. Craig. The original purpose of the school was to meet the
needs of the community for competent professional male nurses.
The educational program was designed to provide an integrated
background in general nursing upon which specialization in psychiatric
and urological nursing could be developed after completion of
1932, an Affiliate Program in Psychiatric Nursing was developed.
The School of Nursing for men was one of nine "diploma" or
hospital-based nursing schools that participated in this cooperative
program. Approximately 12,000 affiliate students participated
in this mental health nursing training program. During the 1950s,
through the efforts of Mr. Craig and Congresswoman Frances Payne
Bolton, male nurses were granted commissions in the armed forces.
Several graduates of the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing
for men were the first to enter.
In 1965, the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing for Men
was dissolved, after having graduated 551 men over its 51-year
history. The School for Women was dissolved the same year and
a co-educational program was established. This program continued
to attract male students each year until the school was closed