The Bradford School of Nursing
"Palma Non Sini Pulvere"
No Prize Without a Struggle
Those words were chosen by the Bradford Hospital Graduating Class of 1927 as their motto, and proudly written in the Nursing School Yearbook, "The Gusher". Finally completing their training as nurses, the graduating class consisted of six women, Winnifred Sherman, Leatha Hort, Mayfred Burroughs, Rhea Reilley, Blanche Bush, and Josephine Hannon. But they were not the first, nor would they be the last, to earn their nursing caps at the Bradford Hospital.
The School of Nursing began as early as December 1896. It was boasted that it was the earliest of its type in the state of Pennsylvania, and that it was the only nursing school between Buffalo and Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Scranton. The length of the course was two years, and four young women signed on. Its official name was the "Bradford Hospital Training School", and it existed sixty years. When the program ended in 1956, over six hundred nurses had been graduated, and had earned the privilege of wearing the school's pin. This pin was designed on the lines of a poem by Longfellow, known as "The Lady With the Lamp":
"Lo! In that house of misery
A Lady With a Lamp I see
Pass through the glimmering gloom
And flit from room to room
The lady with the lamp shall stand in the great history of the land,
A noble type of good Heroic womanhood."
The first few classes were quartered in the old hospital, but in 1917 a nurses' quarters was constructed on the site of the first hospital. Constructed with money donated by Sarah Hamsher in honor of her late husband, Lewis Hamsher, the building was designed and built by B.N. Unruh, a prominent and popular Bradford architect.
Admission to the school was simple, provided the young woman passed the physical tests. Vaccinations against common contagious diseases such as diphtheria, scarlet fever, and typhoid fever were also given to the freshmen class. Applicants must be between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, and unmarried, and students must remain unmarried during the time they attended school.
The freshmen year was devoted to theoretical and practical instruction in the nursing care of the sick. The class schedule was arranged on an eight-hour day; classroom work, one hour of supervised ward work, and study periods. Classes covered anatomy, chemistry, nutrition and cooking, the history of nursing, microbiology, massage, and other basic skills.
The next term, the student was assigned to various departments in the hospital, given lectures and clinical instruction, and was given the opportunity to observe the patients and practice various nursing procedures.
Classes included those on diseases, orthopedics, operating room techniques, pathology, sociology, tuberculosis, case study, and ward practice. The second year, the students learned gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, communicable diseases, dermatology, and more ward practice. The third year was a continuation in all of the above, as well as a three-month stint in the Warren State Hospital for experience in psychiatry. Upon satisfactory completion of all class work, the student was "pinned" and received her nursing cap.
In 1956 the Bradford Hospital School of Nursing closed with the graduation of the "Class of '56". The closing was due to inadequate state support for educational training within hospitals. Over 600 nurses graduated from the school of nursing during its existence.