The heritage of the College of Nursing dates back to 1885, when the College's first antecedent, the St. Luke's Hospital Training School of Nursing, opened to offer diploma education to nurses. In 1903, the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing accepted its first students. From 1956 to 1968 nurses were taught at the merged Presbyterian-St. Luke's School of Nursing. Before the establishment of the College of Nursing in 1972, more than 7,000 nurses had graduated from these schools.
The first Dean of the Rush University College of Nursing was Luther Christman, PhD, RN, FAAN. Dr. Christman rose to great prominence in American nursing as both a forward thinking and controversial figure. The son of a coal miner, Dr. Christman became Vice President of Nursing Affairs and the Dean of the College of Nursing at Rush University in 1972. His educational background in psychology served him well as an administrator, becoming the first male to hold the joint appointments of dean of nursing and hospital director of nursing. He developed the Rush Model of Nursing that gained him an international reputation as a nursing leader. As an educational maverick, Dr. Christman advocated in the 1980s for entry level nurses to have doctoral degrees.
Other brief highlights (there are many more) from Dr. Christman's career include his being Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing; Founder, American Association for Men in Nursing (the American Assembly for Men in Nursing); Founder, National Student Nurses Association; and Fellow and Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing. Rush College of Nursing is extremely proud to have Dr. Christman represent the important contribution of men in the nursing profession.
Today, over 6,000 baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral students have graduated from Rush University College of Nursing. The first bachelor's and master's degrees were awarded in 1975; the first doctor of nursing science degree was awarded in 1980; the first practice doctorate was awarded in 1990. Enrollments for current nursing programs are offered from the masters through the doctoral (DNP and PhD) levels. The last baccalaureate class graduated in June 2009. The Generalist Entry Master's (GEM) is the prelicensure program for entry into RN practice.
Photo caption: Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing students, ca. 1905.