The origin of Memorial's School of Nursing dates back to August, 1963, when the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland submitted a brief to the university calling for the establishment of a baccalaureate degree program. Two years later a Department of Nursing was formed within the Faculty of Arts, and in August 1965 Joyce Nevitt was appointed director.
A year later, September 1966, the first 38 students were admitted to the undergraduate degree programs for generic and post-RN students. At this time there were just three faculty members, Nell Joiner, Anne Turner, and Pearl Strong. In the spring of 1967 the faculty doubled when Elizabeth Summers, Anita Basu and Purnima Sen joined. A part-time assistant, Ruby Dewling, was appointed to supervise students in laboratory work.
Advising the director of the school was a Senate Committee on Nursing, first chaired by Dr. Fred Aldrich and later by Douglas Eaton. Almost a decade later, in February 1974, the School of Nursing became autonomous, with the director accountable to the vice-president for professional schools. Today, the director reports to the vice-president academic.
In 1970 the School of Nursing moved into one room in the temporary buildings. It contained desks at the front and a bed at the back for practice of skills. These temporary quarters served as classroom, reading room, lunch room, and learning laboratory.
The move to a permanent home began in the summer of 1978 when the School of Nursing administration offices moved to the first floor of the Health Sciences Centre. In 1983 new physical space was built on to the Health Sciences Centre that included two large lecture theatres, four seminar rooms, a learning resources centre, undergraduate and graduate society rooms, student lockers, administrative and faculty offices. Further development on the third floor of the Health Sciences Centre provided another classroom, faculty/staff function room, and more faculty office space.
Today the school has grown to have 23 full-time faculty with 200 full-time students in the bachelor of nursing (collaborative) program and 48 full-time students in the fast track program, 357 full-time/part-time in the bachelor of nursing (post-RN) program, and 100 full-time/part-time in the master of nursing program.