BY VERONICA STIENBURG, ARCHIVIST
The School of Nursing at Providence Hospital in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan was founded in 1917 by Sister Mary Raphael McCann. There were 14 students in the first class. Conditions were crowded and instruction was carried on by the doctors as they went about visiting their patients. The following September, when the new hospital opened on Lillooet Street, classrooms were on the ground floor and living accommodation was on the third floor. A curriculum was set up to conform to standards set by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association and the University of Saskatchewan. Trained instructors were engaged to assist Sister Mary Raphael, and members of the medical staff gave lectures. The first graduation exercises were held in 1920.
Sr. Mary Veronica Williams and Sr. Mary Felicitas Wekel with Nursing Students, 1940, at the School of Nursing, Providence Hospital, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Over time the School of Nursing moved to larger quarters with expanded facilities. The course offerings also expanded. For example, in 1944, a special affiliation course in tuberculosis nursing was added to the curriculum and an affiliation course in Psychiatric nursing was added in 1949.
Eight Sisters of Providence served as Directors of the School of Nursing over the 53 years of the school’s operation. The longest serving was Sister Grace Maguire (Sister Mary Fanchea) who was Director from 1952 to the school’s closure in 1970. Over the course of the school’s history 658 students graduated, and 592 of these graduates registered as nurses.