Our History

'Patientia, Fortitudo Et Perseverantia'

Florence Nightingale and many of the earliest symbols of nursing excellence are rooted in the tradition of the Daughters of Charity

Established by St. Vincent de Paul in 1630 to serve the sick poor, the Daughters opened hospitals in Paris, Alexandria, Egypt, and London. In 1809, under the direction of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, their proud tradition was appropriated in America by the new religious congregation, the Sisters of Charity. Four of the Sisters opened the doors of St. Vincent's Hospital in 1849, in response to New York City's unique needs.

Sisters Of Charity

The Sisters had great faith in their mission, and committed themselves to the provision of kind and compassionate care to the poor. They were also committed to the highest standards of medical and nursing excellence

In October of 1892, St. Vincent's Hospital School of Nursing was launched as an extension of this commitment. No one was more committed than Katharine A. Sanborn, and much of the school's early success can be attributed to her leadership. Continue Reading...

 

Nurses and Wartime St.Vincent's Hospital 

By: Elizabeth Alleva

When the United States found itself on the brink of war, resulting in a high demand for nurses, St. Vincent's Hospital (SVH) was one of the first New York institutions to react.  SVH lost many nurses who desired to fulfill their patriotic duty and went overseas to care for the wounded.  Those who remained in New York City (NYC) took part in rationing, and practiced air strike drills.  SVH nurses also collected blood and plasma during the war as SVH became one of the centers for the NYC Blood and Plasma Exchange.  The hospital also became a site for draftee examinations.  Over five hundred men were sent to Greenwich Village to be examined by the doctors and nurses.

In 1941, SVH and the school of nursing became a center for the U.S. Nursing Cadet Corps (USNCC).  The USNCC was the nation's first integrated uniformed U.S. service corps.  The nurses in the corps were a vital entity on the home front, taking jobs of their counterparts who where sent to Europe.  According to the USNCC website, the nurses made up 80% of nursing care in the United States by the end of WWII.

While the USNCC was making SVH their newest home base, the hospital established their own Volunteer Corps.  Ms. Edmund Georgia Butler, an influential woman involved with the Catholic Board of Charities, brought life to this Volunteer Corps.  Ms. Butler selected the initial thirty members, but by the end of 1943, the Corps hod over seven hundred members who were working within the hospital filling vacant jobs.  The Volunteer Corps played an integral part in the continued success of the hospital.  The hardship of war did not prevent  SVH from existing as a functioning institution.

The end of the war marked a great transformation for SVH.  The hospital was growing physically with new building projects.  It was also expanding its influence with the growing number of nurses that were being educated at its school and working in its wards.  SVH was no longer considered just a 'hospital', but rather St. Vincent's Medical Center.  The event of WWII are testament to the great reliance that was place on not just the men who were fighting the battles, but also the people who were there behind the lines taking care of them.  The nurses of SVH, as well as other nurses from across America, had significant impact on society and the places they worked in.

Today, neither St. Vincent's Medical Center or the St. Vincent's School of Nursing remain opened.  However, their influence and memory remain with many New Yorkers who walked through their doors in Greenwich Village.

© 2020 St. Vincent's Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association - Designed by Patricia Caffrey, '79