skip to main content
Menu
Back to Top

McMaster School of Nursing History Page

Where we began

The School of Nursing at McMaster began when Miss Constance Brewster, Superintendent of Nurses and Director of the School of Nursing at Hamilton General Hospital, 1934-1963, thought that there were opportunities available for academically trained nurses. She contacted Dr. Burke, Dean of Science at McMaster University and suggested that some of McMaster's female graduates might be interested in entering the nursing school after their graduation. 

Hamilton Hall

Above: Hamilton Hall, built in 1930, where the School of Nursing was located, 1946-1974.

“Arts Course and Nurse’s Training” Launched

Consequently, in 1940, three graduates enrolled at the HGH School of Nursing. However, seven years of schooling (four at McMaster and three at HGH) was a long time, and there were few applicants. A Joint Committee was convened to investigate the problem resulting in a combined course for nurses, covering a B.A. and nursing training at the Hamilton General Hospital for a total of five years. The "Arts Course and Nurse's Training" was first offered in the 1941-1942 term. Three women enrolled the first year. However, the programme only lasted 3 years with 8 graduates in total.

School of Nursing Established as Part of Health Sciences Faculty

In 1946-1947, McMaster was ready to try again. Miss Gladys Sharp was hired as the first director She was hired by McMaster University in 1946 to lay down the foundations for a nursing education programme, create a plan, hire staff and faculty, and construct a curriculum. In November 1946, the School of Nursing was accredited by the Nurses Registration Act of Ontario. Sharp created the first curriculum. Having done that, she resigned in May 1949. She said, "I had reached the point where I hadn't the background to do more; I had gone as far as I could; I had done the spade work, which I felt was well and truly done; the basic foundations were sound and it seemed wise to find someone to go on from this point." That someone was Alma Reid, who replaced her as Director in 1948 staying until her retirement in 1970.

In 1974 the School of Nursing became part of the newly-created Faculty of Health Sciences and moved into the McMaster University Medical Centre. The graduates receive a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Nursing degree upon graduation.

Presently, Collaborative Nursing Program Leads to BScN Degree

As of September 2004, Collaborative Programme is the umbrella term. They continue to call themselves the B.Sc.N. Programme with three sites in collaboration. The McMaster, Mohawk, Conestoga Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program provides a nursing curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from McMaster University. Students experience clinical placements in the health care and community agencies of Hamilton, Halton, Brantford, Niagara and surrounding areas.

BScN is now the minimum requirement for nursing registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario.

Our Timeline

  • Henrietta Jane Alderson

  • Florence Isabel Greenaway

  • Alma Reid

  • Gladys Sharpe

Resources

Archives of McMaster University School of Nursing. The nucleus of the collection was created by Miss Alderson as she researched her book on the history of the school. Records are added regularly to this collection to make it a comprehensive source of information on all aspects of the school.

© 201​​7 McMaster University  |  1280 Main Street West  |  Hamilton, Ontario ​L8S 4K1  |  905-525-​9140905-525-​9140   |  Contact Us | Terms of Use & Privacy Policy