The VCU School of Nursing was organized in 1893 following the method of Florence Nightingale. We evolved from the Virginia Hospital Training School, which operated as a diploma program until 1953, when a four-year baccalaureate program was initiated.
In 1968, the first master’s degree program in nursing in Virginia was implemented at the Medical College of Virginia, now the VCU School of Medicine. In 1974, a certificate family nurse practitioner program was begun. In 1975, certificate nurse practitioner programs were added in obstetrics-gynecology, followed by pediatrics in 1976.
In the late 1970s, efforts were made to increase the flexibility of the undergraduate program for registered nurses — so an evening option began in 1979, followed by a weekend track in 1989.
In 1983, the nurse practitioner programs were moved into the master’s framework and subsequently tracks were added. In January 1986, a Ph.D. program in nursing was approved for implementation in fall 1986. An online format for the Ph.D. program was approved in 2012. Following approval in May 2015, the school launched an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in the fall.
The school celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2018 with a number of activities, including a 125th anniversary gala, a commemorative painting, a time capsule dedication ceremony and more. In fall 2020, the school, in collaboration with the VCU da Vinci Center, started offering a graduate certificate in health care innovation.
Please view a timeline further below of some of our school's major milestones.
The Heritage Room is located on the first floor of the VCU School of Nursing, adjacent to the Office of Enrollment and Student Services. This mini-museum features vintage nursing uniforms, yearbooks, photographs and other historical artifacts that celebrate the rich history of our school. Exhibits span from our 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.
Permanent displays are in place, and the rotation of temporary exhibits will take place throughout each year as well. This exhibition space is supported by an endowed fund, and its creation was overseen by the Heritage Room Committee, consisting of both current and former VCU School of Nursing faculty as well as distinguished alumni.
MCV/VCU School of Nursing — A Proud Heritage
Betsy A. Bampton (Class of 1960) undertook the writing of this school history published as the centennial celebration was set to begin. In this abundantly illustrated work, Bampton and her collaborators chronicle the development and growth of the eight diverse schools and programs that formed the foundation of VCU School of Nursing.