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 PITTSBURGH, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- One hundred years ago, nurses swept and mopped the floors of their units, dusted furniture, carried coal for heat, cleaned and filled kerosene lamps, planned patient menus and washed hospital windows. They also worked 12-hour days, six days a week.
 A lot about nursing has changed in 100 years, but nursing's commitment to excellence in patient care has only deepened. For 100 years, the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing has educated nurses for service all over the world in the evolving and ever more-demanding health care environment. In 1992 the school celebrates this tradition during its centennial anniversary.
 Centerpiece for the centennial recognition is the 100th Anniversary Celebration Weekend, April 24-26, sponsored by the School of Nursing's Alumni Association. The weekend's full slate of events is expected to draw more than 1,000 alumni and guests to special activities at West Penn Hospital and Station Square here.
 Also to commemorate the anniversary, the School of Nursing will hold a 100-Year Celebration Luncheon on Friday, March 27, for current students at the school -- including the classes of 1992 and 1993 -- and current faculty members. This event, to be held at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, Oakland, will include salutations by the school administration, the hospital administration and nursing services as well as by school alumni.
 "These events will recognize 100 years of commitment to improving patient care through education," said Shirley Wilson, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N., the school's director. "Today, the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing continues this tradition through the combination of clinical experience and academic education."
 A need for competent, better-educated nurses that accompanied advancements in medicine shortly before the turn of the century propelled West Penn Hospital's board of directors to establish the School of Nursing in September 1892. The inaugural class of 17 student nurses and their superintendent were housed in a completely furnished residence donated by Mrs. Henry Phipps Jr. Later that first year, the school admitted male students and became one of the first nursing schools in the United States to admit men. Within five years, the class size grew to 45 students, including nine men.
 Life for the student entering the two-year nurse training program at the turn of the century was a far cry from the lifestyle enjoyed by today's nursing student. At that time, students' 72-hour work and study weeks were filled with duties such as scrubbing and disinfecting beds, boiling surgical instruments, and -- for the "probationer," or freshman -- sorting through the night's trash with a pair of tongs to locate any medical instruments that might have been discarded by mistake. Classes were held morning and evening and included lectures by hospital physicians, as well as instruction in such subjects as "Use of Electricity by the Nurse" and "Cooking and Dietetics." And pity the poor student nurse who missed the role call and uniform inspection at 6:45 a.m. daily -- she would lose a precious two hours of "free time" that day!
 These early nursing students, however, could comfort themselves with the knowledge that they were acquiring the best nursing education available anywhere. By the time they were upperclassmen, student nurses were serving as nurse anesthetists, public health nurses and surgeons' assistants in the hospital.
 World War I saw a boost in the school's enrollment to 200 students as West Penn Hospital's nurses were swept away into military service. In 1923, a decade after West Penn moved to its present location in the Bloomfield community, increased demand for student nurses' housing led the hospital to build the School of Nursing dormitory and classroom structure at its present location.
 In addition to the School of Nursing's significant contributions to the Army Nurse Corps during World War II, other landmarks in the past half-century include the school's record as the first hospital nursing program in Allegheny County to affiliate with a college and offer a bachelor's degree, and one of the nation's first nursing schools to become accredited.
 "The School of Nursing has always been visionary," said Mary Rodgers Schubert, R.N., B.S.N., M.P.M., chairperson for the 100th Anniversary Celebration Weekend. "Our graduates have served all over the world in fields as diverse as aerospace and higher education. We always have, and will continue to strive for, a program that meets the needs of the medical community while maintaining academic standards and collegiate ties."
 Today's student at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing works and studies in a dynamic urban hospital environment that provides regular contact with professionals across a broad range of health care disciplines and institutions -- with West Penn as the primary clinical setting. In addition to the intensive academic work that students complete during the two-year diploma program, students who wish to may obtain a baccalaureate degree with an additional two years of study on-site at West Penn through an affiliation with Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
 "We produce graduates that health care employers consistently rate as above average in the implementation of nursing care," said Wilson. "We're proud of that, and it's a reputation we plan to enhance as we embrace new health care frontiers in our next century of growth and development."
 -0- 2/17/92
 /CONTACT: James L. Rethi of West Penn Hospital, 412-578-7131/ CO: West Penn Hospital School of Nursing ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

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Date:Feb 17, 1992
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