The Rochester General Hospital School of Nursing graduate pin, diploma, and cape and cap

The 1906 class of the Rochester City Hospital School of Nursing

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Rochester City General Hospital and the Rochester General Hospital School of Nursing Collection

Rochester's first training school for nurses was established in 1880. Dr. William S. Ely proposed a formal training school to the governing Board of Lady Managers in early 1880. Although hesitant at first, the Lady Managers eventually recognized the advantages of the hospital-based nursing program. Miss Aurora Smith, a graduate of New York's Bellvue Hospital was recruited to design the new training program.

The RGH School of Nursing was the twelth nursing school in the nation and the third oldest in New York State. The first graduation was held on March 31, 1883 and there were four students in this class. Mary E. Dickinson, a member of this first class, later studied medicine and practiced medicine in Rochester until her death in 1937. Three members of the class of 1884 later became physicians.

The practice of Nursing has evolved into a highly diverse and specialized field of health care. The eventual development of accredited nursing degree programs forced the closing of many hospital-based nurse training programs. The Rochester General Hospital School of Nursing graduated its last class in 1964.