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School of Nursing celebrates 75th anniversary

May 6, 2021

Anniversary banner with nursing students-resized

Photo above: McMaster nursing students, from left: Anthonela Pavlakovic, Saher Shergill and Dhruv Patel. The School of Nursing marks its 75th anniversary this month with a digital celebration, coinciding with National Nursing Week, starting May 10. (Photo by Georgia Kirkos, McMaster University)

SOURCE: McMaster Daily News

The School of Nursing marks its 75th anniversary this month with a digital celebration, coinciding with National Nursing Week, starting May 10.

“It makes me feel very proud to be able to celebrate during the pandemic,” says Sandra Carroll, vice-dean of Health Sciences and executive director of the school.

“It’s important to mark this anniversary given the critical role that nurses are playing in to answer the call in many roles, not only the significant work caring for COVID-19 patients and delivering vaccines but also providing ongoing care to all.” 

Register here for to join the free online celebration of the School of Nursing’s anniversary.  

Keynote speakers at virtual events include U.S. Air Force Nursing Corps. Col. Marilyn Ray; lightning talks with students hosted by faculty members — and grads themselves — Michael McGillion and Nancy Carter; and former School of Nursing director Susan French.

A special website created for the occasion includes a full listing of events and a class book accessible to the nursing alumni, faculty and staff, where they may find updates and share memories.

“We’ve had dozens of alumni and former and current faculty and staff add their memories and pictures already, and it makes for a good read,” Carroll says. “I’m very touched by some of the messages.”

The school, now home to about 2,000 students, has plenty to celebrate, with many graduates going on to practise across Canada and the world, in nursing schools and research, as well as on humanitarian aid missions in disaster and conflict zones.

“Our nurses have driven change, impacting policy and practice,” says Carroll.

As the school turns 75, Carroll has an optimistic message for alumni taking part in the virtual celebrations, despite the turmoil caused by COVID-19.

A rich history

The anniversary website also offers a glimpse of the school’s rich history, beginning with a conversation between Constance Brewer, superintendent of nurses and director of the school of nursing at Hamilton General Hospital (HGH), and McMaster’s Dean of Science, Charles Burke, in the 1930s, soon after the university moved to Hamilton from Toronto.

Both agreed on the need to prepare nurses as leaders in the fast-changing health-care sector. But the nursing program, comprising four years at McMaster and three years at Hamilton General Hospital, proved unwieldy.

In 1946, the School of Nursing launched as a five-year program, and was accredited soon after by the Nurses Registration Act of Ontario.

The new website carries a full history of the school including its first step toward its current research focus, its international partnerships and its expansion into a collaborative or accelerated BScN programs

McMaster is ranked among the best universities in the world for health and medicine. The university is ranked 16th for nursing by the QS World University Rankings for 2020 and 11th in the world for clinical, pre-clinical and health subjects by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2021.

Register here to join the online celebration  marking and participate in events that focus on the past and future of nursing.

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