The Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg opened its doors in February 1909 – operating out of a three-storey house on Beaconsfield Street. The School of Nursing was established a few months after the hospital opened. Four applicants enrolled in the first class in 1910, one of them, Rosalind Long, completed her training and in 1913, was the first student from the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg School of Nursing to graduate.
In 1915, Ethel Johns, a graduate of the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, was appointed Superintendent at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg School of Nursing. She oversaw the training of many nursing students, improved the standards of teaching and began to campaign for a Nurses’ Residence. The Nurses’ Residence was built on the west bank of the Red River and opened in 1918. The following year, after the General Strike, Ethel Johns was asked to resign by the Board of Directors, she went on to direct the first department of nursing education at University of British Columbia.
After Ethel Johns left, her legacy continued with improvements and new developments including the introduction of a library, and in 1940, an annual scholarship for post-graduate study at a university. The hours of work were reduced and hours of formal instruction increased. By the late 40s the 8 hour day was introduced for graduate nurses and they were permitted to live out of residence. Classrooms and laboratories were improved and the library was expanded.
In 1945, when it was proposed that the Children’s Hospital build a new facility at Bannatyne and Sherbrook, the existence of the School of Nursing came into question. After much debate the suggestion to close the school was withdrawn by the Board only to be called into question again in the 1960s. It was agreed that nursing education had substantially changed and the school was closed in 1969.