St. Paul School of Nursing, founded 130 years ago as St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing, has always been on the frontlines of nursing and nursing education. During the school’s history, the school has experienced many world events and changes in education.
In 1918, the Spanish flu outbreak became one of the most severe pandemics in U.S. history. The CDC estimates that about 500 million people were infected with the virus, and at least 50 million deaths happened worldwide, including 675,000 that occurred in the United States. St. Vincent’s nurses treated many victims of the Spanish flu providing care and comfort to those who were afflicted. That same year, the school started a Visiting Nurse undergraduate course, an early form of community nursing.
1n 1925, the school took its next important step and formed an affiliation with the New York Foundling Hospital, providing training in the areas of pediatrics and childcare. Additionally, Katherine A. Sanborn, St. Vincent’s first superintendent, helped roll out the School of Nursing's standard curriculum, increasing hours of practical instruction and emphasizing sciences like chemistry and biology.
Sanborn retired in 1934 after 42 years of service and Sister Mary Ursula, RN, BS, a St. Vincent’s School of Nursing graduate and student of Sanborn, was appointed as her successor. During her tenure St. Vincent’s School of Nursing for Men was established, providing an education for men who were interested in joining the field. This respected program graduated five classes and 58 nurses, whose contributions around the country and throughout the years have been significant.
When the United States entered WWII in 1941 the demand for nurses skyrocketed and St. Vincent’s Hospital was one of the first New York facilities to answer the call. Many of its nurses went overseas to care for the wounded. On the home front, hospital personnel were tasked with examining more than 500 men who had been drafted to serve in the war, and the nurses who stayed stateside cared for the sick and injured who had returned home. During this time, the nurses collected much-needed blood and plasma to use in treating the wounded and the facility also took part in rationing and air strike drills to aid the war efforts.
While all of this was happening and the war was ongoing, St. Vincent’s became a center for the U.S. Nursing Cadet Corps (USNCC). The USNCC was the first integrated uniformed U.S. service corps. Corps nurses took on the jobs of their peers who were sent to help the war efforts in Europe.
By the end of the war, St. Vincent’s had expanded its site with new buildings and educational programs. The facility was no longer just a hospital; it became St. Vincent's Medical Center. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 1952, the school became one of the nation’s most premier nursing schools. It continued to grow and innovate, adding a Home Visiting program in 1963 that allowed students to care for homebound patients.
St. Vincent's Hospital and School of Nursing played an essential role during many critical periods in our country’s history. Today, St. Paul's School of Nursing is following its esteemed tradition of educating the next generation of New York nurses. If you’re interested in getting into the medical field, click here for more information or call us today at (855) 822-3018 and speak to one of our admissions representatives.