School of Nursing (University of Michigan) Records and Publications

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School of Nursing (University of Michigan) Records and Publications

The materials in this Deep Blue collection form part of a larger record group for the University of Michigan School of nursing held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index of archival materials related to the School of Nursing, please consult the following online finding aids:

Researchers may also be interested in related content found in the University of Michigan Web Archives:

For more information or assistance, please contact Reference and Access Services at the Bentley Historical Library.

Established in 1891 as the University of Michigan Training School for Nurses, the School of Nursing offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees and continuing education in nursing specializations including medical-surgical nursing, psychiatric mental health nursing, and nursing administration. The materials in this online collection include archived versions of the School's website.

Professional nursing education began in the United States in 1873. By 1900 there were 432 schools of nursing operating nationwide. This national trend came to Ann Arbor in 1891 when the University of Michigan Training School for Nurses was organized. The nursing program was established by the Medical School, in large part so that qualified nurses could be found to staff a newly erected University Hospital building.

The connection between the hospital and the nursing program was recognized in 1912, when the school for nurses was reorganized and placed under the direct control of the University Hospital. In 1928 the program's official title was belatedly changed to University Hospital School of Nursing of the University of Michigan. In 1941 the Regents established the nursing program as an independent university teaching unit, the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Although recognized as independent, the school's senior administrative officer was not given the title of dean until 1955.

The original curriculum for the school consisted of a two-year, non-degree program. In 1902 the Regents extended the basic curriculum to three years. In 1915 the first full-time instructor was hired, and in 1919 a second, five-year program, leading to the conferring of a university degree was established. In 1944 it was agreed that the combined course in the liberal arts and nursing should be phased out, in favor of a new program, leading to a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

In 1952 the curriculum was radically revised. The three-year program was discontinued and replaced by a four-year program leading to a BSN. In 1961 the curriculum was expanded to include the school's first masters degree, in psychiatric nursing. The next year, 1962, a masters degree program in medical-surgical nursing was begun. The four-year program, as well as the two master degree programs, received full accreditation, through the National League for Nursing, in 1963. In 1967 the school once again extensively revised its curriculum, with the reforms being placed in effect in 1968. In 1967 the school also launched a major continuing education program for practicing nurses, funded through the Michigan Association for Regional Medical Programs. In the early 1970s the school expanded its degree programs by offering, for the first time, a research-based Ph.D. in Nursing.

At its founding the school was limited to a student body of eight. This number expanded gradually. In 1912 there were about 100 students. Entrance requirements established by the turn of the century specified that students must be women, between the ages of 22 and 32, of superior education and refinement. Specific educational achievements for admission were not imposed until 1915, when possession of a high school diploma was made mandatory. In 1926 it was agreed that incoming nursing students should meet the same admission criteria as students entering the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. It was also agreed, in 1926, that nursing students would receive their basic science instruction through the Medical School. Student comfort, and the nursing program's prestige, were both increased in 1923 with the announcement of a $600,000 gift from Senator James Couzens for the construction of a nurses residence, Couzens Hall. The school's capabilities were dramatically increased in 1958 with the opening of a separate building for the school of nursing, constructed as a part of the Medical Science I complex. By 1970 the school had approximately 1,000 students, one of the largest enrollments in the nation.

The tenure of Dean Rhetaugh Dumas (1981-1994), the school's first African-American dean, brought a number of organizational and curricular changes in the School of Nursing. The Center for Nursing Research was established in 1982 to serve as the central coordinating body for faculty research and to foster collaborative relationships with other units and institutions involved in related research. New programs were developed in Gerontological Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery, Occupational Health Nursing, and Home Health Care. Existing programs, including Nursing Administration, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, and the undergraduate studies curriculum, were completely revamped. In 1990, the school's once autonomous academic areas were realigned to form three academic divisions: the Division of Acute, Critical and Long-Term Care, which included Medical-Surgical Nursing and Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing; the Division of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Programs, which included Community Health Nursing and Parent-Child Nursing; and the Division of Nursing Business and Health Systems Programs, which included Nursing Administration.

Diversity and increased visibility on the university campus were central priorities of the school during Dean Dumas' tenure. The Office of Minority Affairs (later renamed the Office of Multicultural Affairs) was established in the 1980s to focus on the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff of color. Dumas was highly active in university affairs, serving on a number of presidential and university task forces and committees related to health affairs and issues affecting women and people of color. This visibility enabled the school to request and receive university funding resources to a greater degree than ever before. After years of lobbying and planning, the School of Nursing moved into renovated space at 400 North Ingalls, part of the former St. Joseph's Hospital, in 1989, the first time in many years that the entire school had been housed together.

Please note:

Copyright held by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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