History of St. Paul's Hospital School of Nursing

The opening of Saskatoon's first public hospital in 1907 was a tangible sign of a spiritual mission of love and service to humanity - a mission that has continued to be the spirit of St. Paul's and has pervaded each successive phase of growth and expansion since its humble beginning.

A very important component of this special service was the establishment of the Training School for Nurses, later to become St. Paul's Hospital School of Nursing. Although it had a very modest beginning, it soon developed into a highly reputable learning institution. Its graduates were not only highly skilled professionals, but also individuals who, because of the teaching and example of the Grey Nuns that "charity and love conquers all" provided a special kind of nursing care.

On November 21, 1909, the first candidate, soon followed by four others, enrolled in the Training School for Nurses, which was two years in length. The first Director of Nursing was Sister Marie du Saint Sacrement. The students immediately began their studies, ward duties and bedside care under the guidance of the Director of Nursing and senior staff. Lectures in fundamental subjects such as anatomy and physiology were delivered by doctors and the Director of Nursing. The members of this class graduated on September 20, 1911.

There were many changes over the next 60 years. During that time, every effort was made to offer an excellent nursing program. In 1921, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association standardized the curricula for training nurses and set the minimum length of programs at three years, and in 1923 nurses applying for registration were required to pass the Nurses Registration Examination. A two intake format was launched in 1945 resulting in an increase in the graduation rate. In that same year, the Block System was introduced. Classes such as nutritional studies, ethics and etiquette were added. Through affiliations with The Saskatoon Sanatorium, psychiatry facilities, VON and a rural hospital experience at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Biggar, SK – learning opportunities for students were enhanced. In 1962, the two intake per year format was discontinued. The 1966 intake of students participated in the Centralized Teaching Program at St. Thomas More College on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Each change ensured that the educational experience kept pace with expansion in medical knowledge, specialization of services, emerging technology and current educational practices.

The Residence (now C-Wing of St. Paul’s Hospital) was opened in November, 1931. It offered modern accommodation to students, larger classrooms, offices for the expanded teaching staff, an auditorium, reception areas, as well as kitchenettes, and, in keeping with the values of St. Pauls, a chapel. Music was encouraged. School colors (garnet and gold), a School Motto, a Coat of Arms and a School song became part of the unique history and tradition.

The great depression, the Second World War, the polio epidemic and changes in educational policies all affected the School of Nursing. In 1938, the University of Saskatchewan approved St. Paul's Hospital School of Nursing as a teaching Affiliate until University Hospital opened in 1955. A new St. Paul’s Hospital was built in 1963 which offered a variety of advanced learning opportunities for students. Changes in society and the world as a whole were obvious in hours of work, different uniforms and increased opportunities for students and graduate nurses.

In February 1969 the doors closed behind the last class of students. Accordingly, we said farewell to St. Paul's School of Nursing - home to generations of nurses and 2057 graduates who can proudly call it their Alma Mater.

This passage marked the 'end' of a learning institution, but the spirit of every student who had the privilege of being a part of it continues.

We shall always remember our motto, "In Minimus Perfectio" - Be Ye Perfect Even in Little Things.