St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing History

For 67 years, young girls and women from all walks of life came to study nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing. From 1902 until 1969, 741 nurses graduated from the school. Graduates of the school went on to careers in hospital administration, nursing service, nursing education, public health, school nursing, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, home care, industrial nursing and many branches of the armed services. Graduates served throughout the United States, as well as the Philippines, Puerto Rico, West Africa, England, Italy and Ireland.

ST. JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL SCHOOL OF NURSING FACTS

  • Sister M. Dominica Immick opened the school in 1902 with Mary Kennedy from Indiana serving as the first superintendent of nurses.
  • The first student nurse was Josephine Romeo.  
  • The school opened as St. Joseph’s Hospital Training School for Nurses. It was changed to St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in the mid-1930s.
  • The first graduating class was in 1905 with four students receiving diplomas and pins. The ceremony was held in the hospital.
  • As enrollment grew, graduations were moved to the hospital garden and then the Lawton Memorial.
  • In the mid-1930s, nursing school graduations were moved to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and were held there until 1968.
  • The last graduation ceremony, in 1969, was combined with the St. Joseph’s Infirmary Atlanta, and held at the Sacred Heart Church in Atlanta.
  • The largest class to graduate from the St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing was in 1947 with 33 graduating nurses due to St. Joseph’s participation in the US Cadet Nurse Corp developed during World War II.
  • The first Savannah nurse to join the World War II Army Nurse Corps was Mary Margherita Powers, a graduate of the St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing.
  • The school received National Accreditation in 1959 under the leadership of Sister Mary Redempta, Director of the School of Nursing, and Sister Mary Incarnata, Hospital Administrator.
  • Approval to close the St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing came in 1966 following the hospital’s invitation by Armstrong State College to become a cooperating agency with them in their new two-year program in nursing.