The VCU School of Nursing has a long and proud history.
Tracing Our Legacy
The School of Nursing's evolution includes eight schools that date back as far as the 1890s including:
- Virginia Hospital Training School (1893-1913)
- Old Dominion Hospital Training School (1895-1903)
- Memorial Hospital Training School (1903-1913)
- Virginia City Hospital Training School (1913-1922)
- Medical College of Virginia School of Nursing (1913-1968)
- School of Social Work and Public Health Nursing (1917-1943) and School of Nursing, Richmond Division of the College of William and Mary (1926-1969) which were combined to become part of Richmond Professional Institute in 1939
- St. Philip School of Nursing (1920-1962)
- Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing (1968-present)
1893: The University College of Medicine opens the Virginia Hospital Training School of Nurses.
1895: The Old Dominion Hospital Training School for Nurses opens under the auspices of the Medical College of Virginia and the leadership of Sadie Heath Cabaniss. Sadie Heath Cabaniss is recognized as the school’s founding director.
1917: The Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health opens and offers instruction in public health for graduated nurses and social workers.
1920: During the segregation era, MCV establishes the St. Philip School of Nursing to educate black women to provide nursing care for patients in the newly opened St. Philip Hospital.
1925: The MCV School of Nursing is formally organized with a dean holding the same status as those for the schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.
1928: Cabaniss Hall, a dormitory and classroom building for nursing, opens on Broad Street. The Richmond Division of the College of William and Mary initiates a five-year course in nursing with Stuart Circle Hospital leading to a bachelor’s degree in nursing and health.
1931: St. Philip Hall, a dormitory and classroom building for the St. Philip School of Nursing, opens on Marshall Street.
1943: The National League for Nursing Education grants national accreditation to the MCV and St. Philip nursing programs. A U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps program is implemented at both schools.
1953: The MCV School of Nursing admits its first students to the four-year degree program.
1958: A two-year program leading to an Associate in Science degree in nursing is established (discontinued in 1965).
1960: The baccalaureate program is accredited by the National League for Nursing.
1962: The school initiates an RN to BS program. The last class of students graduate from the St. Philip School of Nursing and the school is closed.
1967: The MCV School of Nursing’s proposal to initiate Virginia’s first master’s program is approved and students are admitted the following year. The first nursing lectureship is held, now known as the Mahoney-Hamner Lectureship.
1968: MCV and Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) merge to form Virginia Commonwealth University.
1974: The school becomes the first in Virginia to prepare Family Nurse Practitioners at the master’s level.
1976: The Gamma Omega Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the national nursing honor society, is created. A year later, 86 charter members are inducted.
1986: The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approves a doctoral program in nursing for VCU.
1998: The VCU School of Nursing is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s graduate nursing schools for the first time by U.S. News and World Report.
2002: The school is ranked for the first time in the top 20 schools of nursing nationwide in research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
2004: The school receives a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to establish a P20 Exploratory Center, which launches our Center for Biobehavioral Clinical Research.
2007: The new School of Nursing building opens, offering 47,000 square feet of modern classroom, clinical learning, office and research space.
2009: The school receives a five-year grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research for a P30 Center of Excellence in Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management.
2012: The school launches an online Ph.D. program in a hybrid format, becoming the first nursing school in Virginia with a program of its kind.
2013: The VCU School of Nursing celebrates its 120th anniversary and recognizes 120 alumni and faculty as Visionary Leaders. The school holds a ceremony to mark the naming of its building as Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall.
2015: The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approves a doctor of nursing practice program for VCU.
2018: The VCU School of Nursing celebrates its 125th anniversary with a number of activities,including a 125th anniversary gala, a commemorative painting, a time capsule dedication ceremony and more.
2020: The school starts offering a graduate certificate in health care innovation in partnership with the da Vinci Center.
History Lives Here: The Heritage Room
The Heritage Room, located on the first floor of the VCU School of Nursing, is a mini-museum featuring historical artifacts that celebrate the rich legacy of the school. Exhibits span from the school's beginnings as the Virginia Hospital Training School, through the merger of the St. Philip School of Nursing with the MCV School of Nursing, the creation of VCU School of Nursing in 1968, and where the school stands today in our community. Vintage nursing uniforms, yearbooks, photographs and other items are displayed on a rotating basis.
This exhibition space was created by the Heritage Room Committee comprised of current and former faculty and distinguished alumni and is generously supported by an endowed fund.