Alumnae lead tours at nursing museum 

Mar 28
2010

Special to The Times by Amber Raza, Methodist Hospitals spokeswoman

The nursing profession has greatly evolved since Gary's Methodist Hospitals School of Nursing first opened its doors in 1923. The school graduated its last class in 1967. The 44 year history of the Methodist Hospitals School of Nursing is on display at the Methodist Hospitals School of Nursing Museum, housed on the first floor of the Methodist Hospitals Administration Building, at 600 Grant St, next to the main hospital. This building once served as the dormitories for the nursing students.

The museum showcases the evolution of health care and nursing over the past eight decades. Items on display have been collected and donated by graduates of the school. Over 770 nurses graduated from the Methodist Hospitals School of Nursing.

Of the museum's three rooms, the first, displays yearbooks, schoolbooks and newspaper clippings. Hospital bills state room charge in 1939 to be $5.50 per day. Many alumnae have contributed pictures, drawings and presentations from their years at the school.

A second room highlights the evolution of the nursing uniform and medical instruments. A replica of the uniform worn by Florence Nightingale, the first registered nurse, is on display here. The uniforms chronicle the changes that were made as style changed and students of all races and genders were admitted. A partial cadet corps uniform is also on display. The cadet corps was introduced during WWII to persuade more young women to join the ranks of the nursing profession. During its five years of existence, the Corps graduated 124,065 women, including 3,000 African-Americans.

The knowledge gained from treating the wounded and sick of WWII resulted in many advances in health care including new treatments and means of caring for patients. A display case showcases many medical instruments used during this time including; syringes, thermometers, medication bottles and a heart monitor. Also on display are many photographs of alumnae.

A bed from 1939 is part of an exhibit in the third room. Before the advent of the electric hospital bed, nurses were constantly adjusting patient beds by hand cranking them up and down. The electric bed allowed patients to do more for themselves and greatly improved their comfort.

The Methodist Hospitals School of Nursing Museum was established to preserve the rich history of this great school and inspire future generations to become health care professionals. Although much has changed since the schools inception in 1923, the commitment and dedication nurses show to their patients has not. The nursing profession is comprised of passionate, dedicated individuals.

Tours of the museum are lead by Methodist Hospital Nursing School alumni 1 to 3 p.m., generally every third Wednesday. Arrange one by calling (219)886-5972. Tours can also be made for a different day and time, if necessary.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Tours of Methodist Hospitals School of Nursing Museum

WHERE: First floor of Methodist Hospitals Administration Building, 600 Grant St., next to the main hospital

WHEN: 1 to 3 p.m., Generally scheduled monthly, every third Wednesday

FMI: Call to arrange a tour: (219) 886-5972

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