2010 marks 75 years of milestones in nursing education
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON) will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. The 75 years of nursing celebration kicked off at the Second Annual Alumni Awards Brunch earlier this month and will culminate in a gala on Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at The Drake Hotel in Chicago.
âLoyolaâs school of nursing has a rich history that has shaped our role as a national leader in nursing education, practice and research,â said Vicki A. Keough, PhD, RN-BC, ACNP, dean, MNSON. âWe look forward to celebrating this milestone and the schoolâs contributions to the nursing profession.â
The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing was founded in 1935 as the first baccalaureate nursing program in Illinois. At the time, the school was set up in five unit hospitals. It reorganized in 1949 to the four-year bachelor of science in nursing program that remains today.
The history of the school is not one without turmoil. The early leaders had to fight to convince academic officials that nurses should be educated in a university environment and should earn a four-year college degree. Prior to this, nursing education in Illinois had occurred solely in hospital based schools, which granted a nursing diploma to their graduates. Nursing education focused on the mastery of technical skills, such as taking vital signs, changing dressings and giving bed baths. Loyola's decision to offer a baccalaureate program raised the status of nursing to a professional degree in the state of Illinois. In addition, prior to the inception of the nursing program at Loyola, only male students had been admitted to the university, so nursing students were the first women on campus.
âCreating Loyolaâs first college-level nursing education program carried on Loyolaâs rich Jesuit tradition of leadership in higher learning and service,â said Karen Egenes, EdD, RN, chair of health promotion, associate professor and school historian, MNSON. âThis was a significant decision, which gave the university full responsibility for the nursing education of its students as opposed to the segmented system used in the unit schools.â
In 1949, students could enter the university as freshmen and complete a four-year baccalaureate program composed of nursing courses as well as courses in the humanities and sciences. However, graduates of hospital schools of nursing continued to be able to complete baccalaureate degrees in the school of nursing. In 1954, the nursing program was accredited by the National League for Nursing. A graduate nursing program was later established in 1963 followed by a doctoral program in 1988.
Today, the school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Top-rated programs are offered at all levels. These include undergraduate nursing and health systems management, master's and doctoral level degrees, undergraduate dietetic and internship programs as well as certificate courses for professional nurses.
Under the direction of Dean Keough, the school will focus on increasing endowed scholarship aid so that all students, regardless of their ability to pay, are afforded an opportunity to study at the school of nursing. Dean Keough also plans to expand the nursing program to have a major presence on both the Lake Shore and the Maywood Campuses. Undergraduate students will obtain their first two years of education at the Lake Shore Campus and the final two years at the Maywood campus where all masterâs and doctoral programs will be held. Dean Keough also will oversee the development of a new school of nursing building on the Maywood campus. The facility will include the Center for Collaborative Learning, a unique shared space that emphasizes collaboration between physicians and nurses in training, with the goal of better patient outcomes.