School of Nursing graduation

The origin of Memorial University's Faculty of Nursing dates back to August 1963, when the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland (now the College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador) 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, in September 1966, the first 38 students were admitted to the undergraduate degree programs for general 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 Dean of Nursing reports to the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). 

Graduation photo, Class of 1971

In 1970, the School of Nursing moved into one room in temporary buildings. It contained desks at the front and a bed at the back for skills practice. 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, and 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.

In 2016, we celebrated our 50th anniversary, with faculty, staff, retirees and alumni from across the coountry.

In late 2018, the school became the Faculty of Nursing, reflecting growth over the years to include Masters and PhD programs, along with an emphasis on nursing research and public engagement. A three-year accelerated option replaced the fast-track option in 2019, and the Bachelor of Nursing (Collaborative) program became the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Collaborative) program in the spring of 2022.

The "collaborative" in its title refers to the way the program is delivered, with faculty and staff at three locations in the province (the Faculty of Nursing, the Centre for Nursing Studies, and the Western Regional School of Nursing) working together to offer a BScN program that has earned full seven-year accreditation from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing four consecutive times. 

The fall semester of 2022 saw the opening of three new learning sites in Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, adding another 72 seats to the undergraduate program. In 2023, the learning sites at Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor moved into new buildings, and the Happy Valley-Goose Bay site opened a new learning resource centre. 

Memorial University's Faculty of Nursing has grown to over 500 students enrolled across a variety of undergradate and graduate programs. Our BScN (Collaborative) program has both four-year and accelerated options. The Master of Science in Nursing has practicum and nurse practitioner options, and a post-graduate nurse practitioner diploma. And our PhD in Nursing program admitted its first students in 2013.