History of the Peter Bent Brigham School of Nursing
Peter Bent Brigham Hospital was established in 1913 as part
of one of the first large medical centers in the country.
The founder, wishing to serve the poor in this community,
designated that the hospital shoudl be built "for the
care of sick persons in indigent circumstances residing in
the County of Suffolk". It was believed that this could
best be accomplished through affiliation with a medical school,
and the hospital was therfore built on grounds adjacent to
Harvard Medical School.
Peter Bent Brigham Hospital was a 320 bed hospital for the
care of adutls with medical and surgical diseases, and consisted
of 14 buildings that were well equipped for the care of patients.
The hospital faithfully fulfilled the purpose of its founder,
and from its establishment considered the training of workers
in various fileds of health as one of its responsibilities.
Through its continued affiliation with Harvard Medical School,
the hospital moved forward with advancing scientific knowledge
and medical practice, and thus provided a rich field for the
education of nurses.
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Peter Bent Brigham School of Nursing was an integral part
of the hospital, and offered a three-year basic course in
nursing to young women and men to prepare themselves for the
profession. The school was approved by the Mass. Board of
Registration in Nursing and accredited by the National League
for Nursing. The school was established on a small scale before
the hospital was even opened for admission of patients. Five
pupils were admitted November 7, 1912; eleven pupils March
19, 1913: and in June, seven more joined the student ranks.
M. Hall, Superintendent of Nurses and Principal of the School
of Nursing (1912-1937), established the school and designed
the distinctive nurses' cap. During WWI, Miss Hall served
two and one-half years in the services. She received several
citations including the Royal British Red Cross Medal-first
class, La Medaille de la Reconnaissance Francaise, the Medaille
Florence Nightingale, and the U. S. Defense Sector Medal.
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1937 to 1942, Lucy H. Beal was Superintendent of Nurses and
Principal of the School of Nursing. An accident in 1942 resulted
in her replacement in an acting capacity by Frances W. Bowen.
Miss Bowen's ability, loyalty and interest left a deep impression
on the school, but she was forced to resign in 1944 due to
illness. She was replaced by Elsa E. Storm, who served from
1944 to 1951. Miss Storm was succeeded by Dorothy A. Vernstrom,
who served as Director of the school and nursing service until
September 1961. Margarita M. Farrington then assumed the position
of Director and served until 1966. Marion L. Metcalf was appointed
Director of the School and Nursing Service in 1966. In 1979,
Miss Metcalf became Vice President for Nursing of the Affiliated
Hospitals Center, Inc. which is now Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Shirley A. Egan, the Associate Director of the School became
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Peter Bent Brigham School of Nursing, in its 73 years had
graduated more than two thousand nurses, who through their
high standards of service, have contributed widely to the
better care of the sick and the preservation of health throughout
the world. Many are engaged in administrative positions in
nursing education, nursing service, and public health nursing,
in addition to the numbers that are engaged in patient care
eighty-five marked the seventieth graduation exercise.