History of The Queen’s Hospital School of Nursing
The Queen’s Medical Center is the oldest hospital in Hawai’i and the only hospital in the United States established by royalty (King Kamehameha and Queen Emma). It was completed in 1859 and opened its doors in 1860. In 1895, two nurses from the mainland were hired to meet the demand for skilled persons to administer patient care.
In 1911, M.S. Grinbaum donated $5,000 to the Trustees of Queen’s Hospital as an endowment for the “facilitation of nursing education.” However, the Trustees did not act on this until 1915. In 1916, Mrs. Annie Kamauoha entered Queen’s Training School after having received special education at Children’s Hospital. She graduated in 1917 and is recognized as Hawaii’s first graduate nurse.
Thirty-two students began the three year program in 1916 but through attrition, only ten graduated in 1919 as the first graduating class of The Queen’s Hospital School of Nursing.
The first uniform for the school was an ankle length blue dress with a white apron, black boots and stockings. A white cap and bib were added to the uniform on completion of a four-month probationary period. In the 1930s, the uniform was changed to a green dress with a white apron and a large black bow in front of the dress. Since the bow made its way into soup bowls and coffee cups, it was later replaced with a white bib.
In the early 1920s, an eighth grade education was required for admission. In 1929, only high school graduates were eligible for admission. This met the requirements of the National Board of Registration and qualified students for registration on the mainland. In 1932, students were required to complete a year’s work at the University of Hawai’i prior to entrance. In 1937, students were admitted directly into the school where they spent the first two years taking courses at the University of Hawai’i and the nursing school and the next two years in clinical practice.. In the 1940s, students were required to take the National League for Nursing Qualifying Test and had to meet a height and weight requirement. A student had to be at least five feet tall and her weight proportionate to her height. During World War II, students were required to spend one year at the University of Hawai’i in pre-nursing courses. In 1946, the last class to complete one year at the University of Hawai’i was admitted.
In the 1950s, an applicant was required to have a high school diploma with coursework that included geometry, biology, chemistry and two years of a language. Also, the applicant had to meet the minimum entrance requirements of the University of Hawai’i as well as pass the Nurse Qualifying Examination.
Clinical duties of the first class in nursing were performed from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and two hours were allotted for meals and rest. After completing a probation of four months, they were given an “allowance” of $8.00 a month for uniform and books. The allowance was increased to $10.00 a month in the second year and $12.00 a month in the third year. In the 1930s, the clinical day was reduced to an 8-hour day but students had to remain “on call” for emergencies.
Harkness Home was completed in 1932. It was a gift from Mr. Edward Harkness of New York and nineteen benefactors in the community who made donations.
In August 1930, the Queen’s Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association was organized through the efforts of Miss Madeline Fernandez, Class of 1919. Its purposes were for “the betterment of the nursing profession, striving to give local support to our school, and assisting our members in time of need.”
After 52 years of providing nursing education in the State of Hawai’i, the Queen’s Hospital School of Nursing graduated its last class with 35 students in 1968.
The Queen’s School of Nursing Pin
In 1917, her Majesty Queen Lili`uokalani, the last ruler of the Royal Hawaiian Kingdom, suggested that her personal motto –ONIPA`A – be used by the School. The translation of this is “steadfast” or “be firm.” ONIPA`A is engraved in gold in the center of the pin. The words “Queen’s Hospital Training School for Nurses” – and later changed to “The Queen’s Hospital School of Nursing” – are imprinted in gold on a purple background encircling the motto. A gold fluted border completes the round pin. The colors of the School are purple and gold, which are the royal colors.
Of significance are the facts that the last reigning Queen played a major role in the design of the School pin and that nowhere else in the United States has a hospital School of Nursing established by Royal Charter.
The Board meets on the third Saturday of each month except July & August in the conference room of Tower 4th floor. The annual meeting is on the last Sunday of April.