When speaking about Newman’s stellar Nursing program, usually the presenter is referring to the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing and its move to the NU campus. After a thorough study of diploma education vs. college education for nurses, the decision favored college education and Newman was chosen as the right place for the program. The nursing program began on the campus in 1971, but this was not the 1st Nursing program on this campus.
Before the United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941, the college was involved with a special defense project begun in the city of Wichita. In the fall of 1941 classes in first aid and bacteriology for nurses were offered. By 1943 courses to meet the need of the cadet nurses from the Wichita Hospital Training School were added to the curriculum. Joyce Suellentrop wrote in Educating the Mind Inspiring the Spirit, “Seventy nursing students enrolled in the courses which covered the pre-cadet period and followed the guidelines of the National League of Nursing Education. Student nurses from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wichita and St. Mary’s Hospital in Enid, Oklahoma, were included in 1944.” Suellentrop pointed out these students were enrolled in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps; they were provided funds for tuition and fees as well as indoor and street uniforms and a monthly stipend of $15. Upon graduation, the nurses immediately served in the armed forces. When the war ended in 1945, the need for army nurses slowed, and the college decreased course offerings. By 1949 some courses were still provided by special arrangement; by 1953 only pre-nursing classes were offered.