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The MGH Nursing History Committee received the Patricia R. Austen, RN, Mass General History Award. Susan Fisher SON ’66 accepted the award.



For more than a century (1873 – 1981) the MGH was associated with, or conducted, a school of nursing.  The original school, the Boston Training School for Nurses (1873 – 1895) was the third in the United States established according to the plans proposed by Florence Nightingale.  The founding committee suggested the school as offering a desirable new occupation for self-supporting women. 


Over the ensuing decades, the MGH School of Nursing evolved to meet the changing needs of the profession and graduated almost 8,000 nurses, and hundreds of others received valuable training.  These nurses not only cared for the sick, but administered and taught in schools of nursing around the world, wrote textbooks on nursing, served as local, national, and international leaders in the profession, have shaped laws and regulations, and served their country in times of war and peace. In short, MGH SON graduates have led and helped to shape the field of nursing for almost 150 years.


In 1981, MGH discontinued the school’s diploma program and established the Institute for Health Professions, which includes accredited baccalaureate, master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice programs and post-graduate APRN certificate programs.  Information at



A key part of the NAA’s mission is to record and maintain the history of nursing at MGH.  This includes several initiatives:


Digitization of historical records

In congruence with our mission, the NAA has been hard at work collecting and selecting materials for digitization. To date, 100 years of The Alumni RECORD and the SON yearbooks have been digitized. Other documents such as a guide to the schools historical records, annual reports and scrapbooks of MGH graduates who served in WW1 are also posted.  These materials are available to view at


The following article includes information about nurses during WWI.

Oral History

The MGH SON Oral History Project began in the first part of this century. At that time questionnaires were mailed to graduates asking several questions about their experiences as students and their subsequent careers. About 500 questionnaires were returned. Some years later, a project ensued to capture the stories of graduates through video and voice. The project was initially run by Linda Orrell and Karen Wolf. It is now run by Mary Larkin along with other MGH SON graduates. We have over 70 recordings and are working on ways to preserve the various forms of media that have been used over time. This includes transitioning old footage from DVDs and tapes to electronic format, transcribing the text and continuing the quest to interview and collect more stories. Our goal is to feature some quotes and photos during the 150th anniversary.


150th Anniversary – 2023

Plans are underway for a special commemoration of the MGH School of Nursing’s founding in 1873.


Nursing Sundial Sculpture

Commissioned by world-renowned sculptress, Nancy Schön, the Nursing Sundial Sculpture is a gift from the Massachusetts General Hospital Nurses’ Alumni Association.  It sits on the Bulfinch Lawn Oval and was created to honor the nursing profession and the nurses of MGH.   To learn more about the sculpture, click here.