A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
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The St. Mary's I Knew
By Sisters Aloysia Ames

History of the School of Nursing 1914 - 1966
St. Mary's Hospital, Tucson

Need for School of Nursing

By 1914 the expansion of the physical facilities of the hospital in Tucson made on-the-job training of nurses no longer adequate. Mother Mary Fidelia McMahon, Superior and Superintendent at the hospital since 1893, realized this situation and had planned carefully for the opening of a school of nursing. She engaged Samuel E. Gregory to build a resident and classroom building of stone and brick according to her specifications, as the building contract indicates.

The nurses' home was on a knoll directly west of the hospital and south of the isolation cottage. Two wings facing east extended on either side of the recessed main entrance. One wing was a lecture hall and the other of equal size was a recreation room or lounge. During the years, for various reasons, the functions of these two rooms periodically alternated, which made an interesting situation for alumnae returning for meetings. A central staircase off the office and parlor led to the bedrooms and sleeping porch on the second floor. In anticipation of heavy duty, parties and dances, top grade hardwood floors were laid throughout. It still is a very comfortable building with many windows in the thick walls providing good lighting and capturing every breeze. Whenever a breeze stirs it passes in front of this building. Students and patients have through the years identified this area as the coolest on the hospital property.

Classes Begin

Sister Francis de Sales Faller from St. Joseph's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, was appointed Director of the school with Sister Mary Evangelista Weyand her assistant. The latter gave many years to the school. She was a graduate of the first class of St. Joseph's Hospital in Kansas City and had also served at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hancock, Michigan. December 1, 1914 these two Sisters with Mother Fidelia welcomed the first four students: Helen Dickerman (Harrell), Margaret Ryan (Mahoffery), Stella Roof (Barnes) and Mary Vaughn. Sister Alberta Lampson and Sister Mary Christina Coyne, (10) both Sisters of St. Joseph, also enrolled in the class.

With the help of the Medical Staff, Sister Francis, as she was usually called, planned the program for the two and one-half year course. This she did without the guidance of the Standard Curriculum for Schools of Nursing because it was not published until 1917. However, she had the experience of her previous work with students in Kansas City to build upon. The following is the class schedule taken from the records of a member of the first class.

COURSE
1st YR
2nd YR.
3rd YR.
INSTRUCTOR
Anatomy & Physiology
30 hrs.
30 hrs.
30 hrs.
Srs. Francis & Evangelista



20 hrs.
Dr. Schnabel
Methods of Nursing
30 hrs

30 hrs
Srs. Francis & Evangelista
Materia Medica

30 hrs.
30 hrs.
Sr. Evangelista



15 hrs.
Dr. Pratt
Ethics
10 hrs.


Sr. Francis
Dietetics

30 hrs.
30 hrs.
Sr. Evangelista
Obstetrics & Gyn

39 hrs.
19 hrs.
Dr. Schnabel & Walls
Hygiene


20 hrs.
Dr. Schnabel
Bacteriology


20 hrs.
Drs. Pratt & Gotthelf
Urinalysis


20 hrs.
Dr. Pratt
Pediatrics


6 hrs.
Dr. Rogers
Orthopedics


6 hrs.
Dr. Rogers
Contagious Diseases


30 hrs.
Dr. Olcott
Surgical Nursing


15 hrs.
Dr. Rogers
Surgical Nursing


15 hrs.
Drs. Thomas & Rogers
First Aid

Demonstrations
15 hrs.
Dr. Rogers & Mr. Conover

St. Mary's School For Nursing
St. Mary's School For Nursing 1916
Sr. Natalia Kane & Sr. Francis de Sales Faller

Legal Protection

Upon graduation these new nurses could not become Registered Nurses in Arizona for the simple reason that in laws of the young state there was no provision for such registration. As Sister Evangelista had a keen interest in securing recognition and legal protection for nurses, she invited all graduate nurses in the area to a meeting on December 5, 1918 at the School of Nursing to consider professional status. A year later when the Arizona State Nurses Association was founded, this December meeting was, according to Mrs. Bessie Holmes, R.N., recorded as the initial meeting of the nurses who were identified as District No. 2 of the Association.

In the months that followed, Sister Evangelista put forth every effort to assist in preparing an appropriate bill to be presented to the state legislature. June 9, 1921, by an act of the Fifth State Legislature of Arizona, Governor Thomas Campbell was empowered to appoint a State Board of Nurse Examiners: "To Regulate Professional Nursing in the State of Arizona, Providing for the Examination and the Issuing of Certificates to Graduate Nurses, and Providing Penalty for the Violation of the Act." This original law was binding until 1952 when a new law was passed which provided for "The Arizona State Board of Nurse Registration and Nurse Education."

By virtue of the power given him by the new law, Governor Campbell appointed Sister Evangelista charter member of the State Board of Nurse Examiners. Sister was also honored by being given first place on the roster of Registered Nurses in Arizona. A few years ago there was a discussion at the Nurses' Headquarters in Phoenix to determine what to do with the registry numbers of deceased R.N's.; should they be reissued or not. A friend of Sister Evangelista spoke up, I was told by one who was present, to remind her colleagues that they "couldn't give Sister's number to anyone." The group concurred in this decision and Sister Evangelista's name remains in the files as R.N. No. 1 of Arizona.

In 1922, the year after the Board was formed, criteria for evaluating schools of nursing were established and St. Mary's was granted approval. The formality must have been minimal since Sister Evangelista was a member of the Board and the Director of the school.

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