Nursing school

A nursing school is a type of educational institution, or part thereof, providing education and training to become a fully qualified nurse. The nature of nursing education and nursing qualifications varies considerably across the world. Since the mid 20th century nursing education in many countries has undergone many enhancements.

History of nursing schools

United Kingdom

Florence Nightingale was one of the pioneers in establishing the idea of nursing schools from her base at St Thomas' Hospital, London in 1860 when she opened the 'Nightingale Training School for Nurses', now part of King's College London.[1]

Her intention was to train nurses to a qualified and specialized level, with the key aim of learning to develop observation skills and sensitivity to patient needs, then allow them to work in hospital posts across the United Kingdom and abroad.[2] Her influence flourished and nursing is now a course taught at a number of British universities.

Apart from the nursing school of King's College London, the direct descendant of Nightingale's school, the University of Manchester was one of the first English institutions to offer the course at degree level.[3] A new building for the Manchester Medical School was opened in the early 1970s and degree courses in nursing were established about the same time. Nursing education at the university expanded greatly in 1996 when a new School of Nursing and Midwifery was created by transferring the Manchester College of Midwifery and Nursing into the university's Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing.[4]

Entry level courses, sought by most universities, are often five Standard Grades/GCSEs, including English, maths and a science (preferably biology), and two Highers/A-Levels. Mature students, over the age of twenty-one, have the option of entering upon completion of a college Access course, and experience in jobs related to health/nursing assistance are also worthy for consideration into the course.

Currently, nursing is a three-year course in the UK, with students choosing the branch that they want to study, e.g., adult, child, mental health, or learning disability; or combinations of two (called dual-field). The course consists of a balance between coursework in classes and practical placements in a health care setting. The first year is foundation, where students learn anatomy and physiology and basic health care. Newly qualified nurses then have to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in order to apply for jobs and legally practice.

United States

The history of nursing education had a long and varied role in the United States. Before the late 1800s little formal education was available to train nursing students. Education was primarily based on an apprenticeship with a senior nurse who taught bedside care within a hospital or clinic setting. Over time this model changed dramatically. A short chronology of Schools of Nursing in the United States is:

  • In 1873, the Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing, of New York City, was founded. It was the first school of nursing in the United States to be founded on the principles of nursing established by Florence Nightingale. The School operated at Bellevue Hospital until its closure in 1969.
  • 1883: The Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing has been traced to its beginning in 1883 when the South Carolina Training School for Nurses was established at the request of Roper Hospital (known then as City Hospital) in Charleston, SC.[5] Due to an earthquake in 1886 which destroyed the City Hospital, the effort only lasted a few years. However, once the new hospital was built the nursing program was reestablished in 1895 as the Charleston Training School. In 1916, the Board of Commissioners of the Roper Hospital proposed the transfer of the training school to the Medical College of the State of South Carolina, whose school of medicine had been established in Charleston in 1824 and whose faculty was already providing most of the nursing instruction. The proposal was accepted by both the hospital and the Medical College, and in 1919 the Roper Hospital Training School for Nurses became the School of Nursing of the Medical College of the State of South Carolina. In 1969 when the Medical College was designated the Medical University of South Carolina, the School of Nursing became the College of Nursing.[6]
  • 1889: The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) was founded by Louisa Parsons, a graduate of the Nightingale Fund School at St. Thomas' Hospital in London.[7] UMSON is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the United States.[8]
  • 1889: The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing was founded in conjunction with the creation of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. As one of the earliest hospital-based nursing schools in the United States school leaders consulted with Florence Nightingale on the program of education. These same nurse leaders also established what would be become the National League for Nursing Education and helped in establishing the American Nurses Association.[9]
  • In 1909, the University of Minnesota offered the first university based nursing program. It offered the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and graduated the first bachelor's degree educated nurse.[10][11][12][13]
  • By 1916 13 universities and 3 colleges had developed bachelor's nursing degree programs.[11]
  • In 1923, the Yale School of Nursing was founded. It became the first School of Nursing to adopt the educational standards from the 1923 Goldmark Report that was requested by the Rockefeller Foundation. The curriculum was based on an educational plan rather than on hospital service needs.[14]
  • In 1956, the Columbia University School of Nursing became the first in the United States to grant a master's degree in a clinical nursing specialty.[15]

United States curriculum

Pre-requisites often include math, English, and other basic level courses. Basic courses in biology, anatomy and physiology are required. Depending on the nursing school, credits can be taken elsewhere, and transferred in, although limitations on time span between taking pre-requisites and applying to nursing programs exist, usually around 5 years, although some schools set no parameters.

Core coursework includes anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Additionally, a strong emphasis is placed on procedural education such as insertion of intravenous and urinary catheters, sterile dressing changes, proper administration of medications, physical examinations, caring bedside manner, and other vital skills. After the first semester basic skills are obtained, students rotate through Obstetrics, Mental Health, Medical, Surgical, Oncology, Critical Care and Pediatric Units to get a holistic view of nursing and what it encompasses. Many nursing students and nursing schools use medical and healthcare educational software as a study or training aid.

Many schools offer an accelerated bachelor's degree in nursing program. A variation of the Second Degree BSN is the Accelerated BSN. In addition to giving credit for having completed liberal arts requirements, an Accelerated BSN program allows students to complete their undergraduate nursing program's course requirements more quickly than students enrolled in a traditional BSN program. Accelerated BSN programs usually take 12 months to complete, though some programs may run for 16 to 24 months.

The traditional BSN programs may take much longer time. For example, in California, where nursing is a relatively high-paid and in high demand profession, the completion of BSN (including pre-requisites, major courses in the program, and General Education courses of college) may take 5 to 6 years. A 3.0 GPA is often an entrance requirement for many programs. Some more prestigious schools require much higher GPA score to be competitive. Many programs now also require TEAS-V test scores to evaluate potential students for entry. Also, there are other options of Associate Degree for RN and LPN programs (which in term of nursing training is much shorter and the scope of practice is different than RN). Lastly, the Master level is for experienced RNs to reach a higher education and may expand their scope of practice.

In the United States, students graduate from nursing education programs qualified to take one of the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exams, the NCLEX-PN for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or the NCLEX-RN for Registered Nurses RNs.

Degrees granted

See articles on individual degrees for variations on the exact name.

See also


  1. "About". King's College London. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  2. Florence Nightingale Museum. "Florence Nightingale". Archived from the original on 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  3. "About the school". University of Manchester. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  4. "This week / next week" (University of Manchester); 7 Oct. 1996, p. 1
  5. Fox, Brooke E. "Educate and Inspire: The MUSC College of Nursing". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  6. Fox, Brooke E. "Educate and Inspire: The MUSC College of Nursing". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  9. About. Johns Hopkins Medicine; [cited 26 May 2014].
  10. "History of the School of Nursing". Archived from the original on 2015-04-18.
  11. Goldmark, Josephine (1923). Nursing and Nursing Education in the United States: Report of the Committee for the Study of Nursing Education. The Macmillan Company. ISBN 9785882308154.
  12. "Timeline of Nursing".
  13. Yoost, Barbara (2016). Fundamentals of Nursing: shout up for Collaborative Practice. Elsevier Inc. ISBN 9780323295574.
  14. "Exhibit on the History of the Yale School of Nursing". Yale University. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  15. Columbia School of Nursing. "History of the Columbia School of Nursing". Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
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