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Changing the face of nursing education

Western Regional School of Nursing celebrates 40th anniversary


By Pamela Gill

Establishing a school of nursing program at Western Memorial Hospital back in 1969 did more than remediate the shortage of nurses on the west coast of the province at the time; it decentralized the delivery of nursing programs and increased the capacity for health education on the west coast of the island.

Since the first graduating class of 34 nurses received pins and diplomas in 1971, more than 1,825 nurses have graduated from the school.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the school has seen many changes over the years, most notably the change from the diploma program to a degree program in 1996.

The theme to mark the 40th anniversary celebrations is Western Regional School of Nursing: Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future! The school’s faculty and staff are planning several events during the year including development of a souvenir brochure outlining the history of the school.

Efforts are also underway to establish a Western Regional School of Nursing Alumni Association, which would represent graduates of the diploma and degree programs. The goals of the association would include helping to advance the nursing profession on the west coast, particularly in the area of education for nurses and promoting public awareness of the school of nursing. It will also allow graduates to keep in touch with former classmates and faculty.

As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, a special Alumni Dinner and Nursing Research Conference are planned for Sept. 15 and 16 respectively.

“The school continues to graduate excellent nurses who are making many significant contributions to the health and well-being of the communities in which they work and live,” said Linda Norman-Robbins, director, Western Regional School of Nursing. “Many exciting challenges still lie ahead as we face the future and prepare for the move to a new governance model at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.”

For more information about the celebrations or to become a member of the WRSON Alumni Association, contact the school at 709-637-5489 or email