University Archives: College of Nursing Historical Overview, 1873-1997

This compilation first appeared in the printed Program for the Dedication of the Nursing Building in 1971. It was prepared by Etta Rasmussen. It has since been added to and updated by her and College of Nursing staff.

1873 The first hospital – the remodeled Mechanics Academy – was opened. Nursing was supplied by the Sisters of Mercy from Davenport.

1891 A request to the Board of Regents for a new hospital and “a proper training school for nurses that are in every day demand in the charitable institution of the state and in our families.” This request was repeated until construction of the new hospital was approved in 1896.

1896-1897 University catalog carries the first announcement of “The Training School for Nurses.” The two year course would provide “practical work in the wards, classes, and lectures and a complete course in involved cookery.”

1897 Jennie S. Cottle, graduate of the Farrand School of Nursing in Detroit, Michigan, was named the first Superintendent of the Hospital and Principal of the Training School. One student was admitted for training in the fall of 1897.

1898 The new hospital was opened in January and five students admitted. Students lived in the hospital until 1906.

1900 The first five nurses completed their training. The announcements in the University catalog now described a three year course.

1901 Statement from the Board of Regents report to the Legislature: “It is a subject worthy of consideration – if a single thorough more advanced nurses’ training school, upon a broad University basis, should not be established.” (The Homeopathic Hospital School of Nursing had been opened in 1891 under University auspices.)

1906 Enrollment had increased, making it necessary to rent a dwelling near the hospital to house the students.

1908 Both Schools of Nursing appear on the Iowa State Board of Health list of approved schools.

1907 and 1915 Additions to the hospital bring bed capacity to 377.

1915 Eastlawn, residence for student and graduate nurses, was completed.

1916 A Hospital Superintendent was appointed, relieving the Superintendent of Nurses of business responsibility. An Assistant to the latter, also to serve as instructor, was appointed.

1919 University education for nursing began with the establishment of a five year combined Liberal Arts and nursing program.

1919-1921 University expansion to west side of Iowa River begun with the construction of Children’s Hospital (1919), Westlawn (nurses’ residence 1920), Psychopathic Hospital (1921). Students in nursing who lived in Westlawn walked or were transported by a hospital-owned bus across the river to the University hospital.

1927 Lois B. Corder and Lola I. Lindsey assumed administrative and educational direction of the School of Nursing.

1928 The new General Hospital made possible by Rockefeller Foundation funds, matched by the state legislature, was opened and dedicated in November. The training school was also moved to the new hospital.

1929 Gamma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the third in the nation, was established.

1931 An eight hour work day was provided for students except in emergencies.

1931-1934 The School of Nursing participated in the nationwide effort to evaluate schools under the direction of the National Grading School Committee.

1943 Participation in the USPHS Cadet Nurse Corps began. Accelerated program made possible six months’ experience in federal and special hospitals and public health for many students.

1942-1945 Many graduates joined the nurse corps of the military services.

1948 The Board of Regents began consideration of a collegiate program and in anticipation of this change appointed Amy Frances Brawn, MA, as the first nursing faculty to hold the rank of Assistant Professor. The Golden Jubilee anniversary of the school was celebrated in December.

1949 Action was taken by the Board of Regents in March to establish a collegiate program in nursing. Myrtle E. Kitchell was appointed in August as the twelfth and last director of the school. On December 3, 1949 she was installed as the first Dean of Nursing and the College was formally inaugurated as the tenth autonomous College of The University of Iowa.

1949 September. First class of students admitted to the baccalaureate program in nursing.

1951 Establishment of the general nursing program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for graduates of diploma schools. First continuing education offerings.

1951 A grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation made possible the first graduate program in nursing, Nursing Service Administration, leading to the Master of Science degree.

1952 Undergraduate program accredited by the National League for Nursing.

1952 The first federal grant to be obtained in the new College of Nursing, a training grant for the purpose of improving the preparation of psychiatric nurses, was awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The undergraduate psychiatric specialization program leading to a BSN degree was open in the fall.

1952 Department of Practical Nurse Education was established as a demonstration unit. First students were admitted in January 1953.

1953 First class, 32 in number, received BSN degrees from the College of Nursing.

1955 Faculty action on October 7 to plan for a four academic year program in which students in the College of Nursing would be relieved of all responsibility for nursing service. Three year program leading to a certificate of graduate nurse was discontinued.

1956 The first major research activity by a member of the College of Nursing faculty was funded by the USPHS. Initiated by Dean Kitchell as co-principal investigator, the three year project studied nursing activity and patient welfare. The final report, An Investigation of the Relation Between Nursing Activity and Patient Welfare, was published in 1960 and has become a classic in nursing literature.

1958 The Nursing Service Administration program was suspended with expiration of grant funds. A General Nursing program leading to a Master of Arts degree was approved by the Graduate College.

1959 Mary Kelley Mullane, PhD, became Dean.

1960 Four academic year curriculum approved by Board of Regents. One hundred and six students received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

1960 An Investigation of the Relation Between Nursing Activity and Patient Welfare was published and has become a classic in nursing literature. It was initiated by Dean Myrtle Kitchell as co-principal investigator and based upon the first major research activity by a member of the College of Nursing faculty, which was funded by a three-year grant from the USPHS.

1961 Revision of the graduate program resulted in establishment of three clinical nursing majors: medical-surgical, pediatric, and psychiatric nursing.

1961 First letter of intent to apply for a construction grant submitted by Acting Dean Sherbon to the DHEW, Division of Nursing, and letter of justification of need for a new building to University Administration.

1964 Laura C. Dustan, Ed.D., became dean. Long-range plans for development submitted to University Administration called for doubling graduations to 220 per year by 1974.

1964 Last year that undergraduate students in nursing lived in Westlawn.

1965 Westlawn remodeled to make available additional classroom and office space.

1965 Graduate program in nursing service administration re-established.

1965 Second letter of intent to apply for a construction grant submitted to USPHS and a “General Statement of Building Needs” to the University Administration.

1966 NLN accreditation visit. Continued accreditation granted for the undergraduate program and initial accreditation granted for the graduate program.

1966 Application for construction grant submitted.

1967 Application for construction grant approved.

1967 LPN program terminated. In cooperation with the State Department of Public Instruction, members of the faculty had served as State Supervisor and Teacher-Educator.

1969 Supported by a federal grant from the Division of Nursing, the “Articulation Project” made possible a cooperative transfer program with two Regent universities, five private colleges and five community colleges.

1969 State matching funds for construction of new building were made available and ground was broken for the new building on October 14.

1970 In the five year period from 1965, seven federal grants were obtained by the faculty to expand the undergraduate and graduate programs and to initiate research projects. Included were training grants for nursing service administration; nursing of children and psychiatric nursing; curriculum study; the articulation project; and a research grant to investigate alleviation of pain by nursing intervention.

1971 One hundred and fifty students graduated with the BSN degree and 46 with the MA degree.

1971 December 3 and 4. Dedication of the new College of Nursing building; occupied December 17-20.

1972 August. First capitation funds received.

1972 Associate Professor Ada Jacox, Ph.D., received one of the first two Carver Fellowships established to aid the professional development of outstanding younger University faculty.

1972 Evelyn R. Barritt, Ph.D., became Dean August 7.

1972 September. A 16 week two-track pediatric nurse practitioner program began, cosponsored with the College of Medicine. The program designed to be offered twice a year to certificate and graduate students.

1973 The Diamond Jubilee of the College of Nursing celebrated May 10 and 11. Clinical papers presented by faculty and students.

1973 Federal funding cutbacks for the biennium of $829,811 due to impoundment of funds.

1973 University of Iowa Distinguished Service Award presented to Rozella Schlotfeldt, Ph.D., RN, Class of 1935.

1973 Dr. Eva Erickson, Professor of Nursing, presented private collection of historical nursing books and documents to the College of Nursing for the new Health Sciences Library.

1973 Publication of Abstracts of Theses and Field Studies submitted by graduate students in nursing from 1963-1972 -Editor, Gloria Bulechek. This project was made possible by a grant from the National Fund for Graduate Nurse Education.

1973 October. Opening of the Learning Resource Center.

1974 Beginning of the process curriculum for the undergraduate program.

1974 NLN accreditation visit in February. Notification of continuing accreditation for the baccalaureate and master’s program received in April.

1974 Faculty Development Educational Leave program initiated.

1976 Three-year federal training grant to offer Medical-Surgical Major as an outreach graduate program.

1977 Endowed chair established by gifts in memory of John Christian Kelting and Catharine Meeder Kelting.

1977 Nursing Progress Fund established through the University of Iowa Foundation.

1977 Annual Research Day initiated in co-sponsorship with Gamma Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau.

1977 NLN Progress Report submitted. Accreditation of graduate and undergraduate program continued through 1981.

1977 Laura Hart, RN, Ph.D., appointed as Acting Director of Research and recipient of Endowed Kelting Chair.

1978 Three-year federal training grant to assist with revision and evaluation of graduate program curriculum.

1978 Three-year federal contract to develop and implement an out-reach model of graduate program course offerings.

1978 Implementation of the revised graduate program leading to the M.A. degree.

1979 Sue R. Rosner, Ph.D., appointed as Acting Dean.

1981 Geraldene Felton, RN, Ed.D., FAAN, appointed as Dean.

1982 NLN Progress Report submitted. Accreditation of graduate and undergraduate program continued through 1990.

1985 Doctoral Feasibility Study.

1985 Internal Review of the College of Nursing.

1986 Continuing Accreditation for Continuing Nursing Education.

1988 Doctoral Program established.

1990 NLN Progress Report submitted. Accreditation of graduate and undergraduate program continued through 1998.

1995 Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with major in nursing changed to a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.).

1996 Geraldene Felton, Ed.D., RN, FAAN, named to Kelting Chair in Nursing

1997 Melanie Creagan Dreher, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, appointed as Dean