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History of Nursing Practice

Although the role of the nurse has changed dramatically since Louisa Parsons founded our School in 1889, the heart of our profession—serving the needs of patients—remains the same. 

Barbara R. Heller EdD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, 1995

For more than 100 years, School of Nursing graduates have made important contributions to health care and the nursing profession. In 1894, ambitious graduates created Baltimore's first private duty nurses' directory. A decade later, Alumnae Association officers helped secure passage of the state's first registration law. Later graduates joined public health agencies while hundreds answered the urgent call for wartime nurses. In the hospital, graduates provided post-op care in early makeshift recovery rooms and pioneered new roles in critical care.

Now the nation's second largest profession and the largest profession for women, nursing offers work in practice areas and settings unheard of even a generation ago. Contemporary School of Nursing graduates carry on the School’s legacy as they serve their communities as advanced practice nurses, educators, researchers, academic deans, health policy specialists, and nurse entrepreneurs.

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