Historical Overview of Research College of Nursing

Research College of Nursing has its roots in the history of Research Medical Center which began in 1886 as the German Hospital. The German Hospital Training School for Nurses was founded in June 1905 with five students enrolled in the first class and five others who later transferred from other nursing schools. Three years following the graduation of the first students, in 1909, the German Hospital Nursing Alumnae Association was formed with eight of the first ten graduates becoming charter members. The group was developed to promote good fellowship and maintain a high standard among graduates. One hundred and five years later, the basic goals of the Alumni Association remain the same. Our alumni serve as preceptors for our graduate students and as clinical adjuncts for our BSN students, carrying on the tradition of excellence in nursing education.

During World War I, the name of the hospital was changed to Research Hospital in order to eliminate any connection to the war and Germany. The cross on the pin was also removed due to a striking resemblance to the German Iron Cross. The cross was restored to the pin two years later in 1920 and the basic design remains the same today. The school of nursing thrived through the next four decades building a reputation for excellence in nursing education.

Responding to the need to elevate nursing education to the baccalaureate level, Research Medical Center, the nursing program's parent institution, initiated discussions regarding that transition and a partnership with a liberal arts college. In 1979 a unique joint program was formed with what was then Rockhurst College, Kansas City's Jesuit institution. This partnership was one of a few in the United States who successfully gained initial accreditation from both regional and nursing accrediting bodies. The first class was admitted to the joint Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Fall 1980; the diploma program graduated its last class in 1982.

Continuing its mission to meet the community's needs and address the shortage at the bedside, the College of Nursing initiated an accelerated program for individuals with degrees in other fields in 1991. The program was among the first 30 in the country; today there are 230 programs nationwide. In response to the perceived need for advanced nursing education, the College developed and implemented a Master of Science in Nursing program in 1995 graduating its first class in 1999. The initial track had a focus on the family nurse practitioner role; since that time, executive nurse practice, nurse educator, and clinical nurse leader tracks have been added. With the call for doctoral preparation for advanced nurse practitioners by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the College became involved in a collaborative initiative with the nineteen Jesuit institutions who also have nursing programs. The Jesuit Consortium Initiative (JCI) will provide the opportunity to share resources and create unique partnerships among its members to offer the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP).

Over the past two decades the corporate oversight of the College of Nursing has undergone several changes which have been of great benefit to the institution. In 1992, Research Medical Center acquired Baptist Medical Center enhancing its position in the Kansas City community. By 1999, Research Medical Center was one of 11 hospitals that comprised the Health Midwest System. In April 2003, HCA acquired the Health Midwest System, including Research Medical Center and the College of Nursing. Research Medical Center continued to be the parent of the College; thus the College became the first and only institution of higher learning to be a part of HCA. Research Medical Center, now as a dual campus facility, serves patients from a 150-mile region surrounding Kansas City. As a tertiary care center it features a broad range of services and access to advanced technology. Since 2004, the Medical Center has been engaged in a $100 million capital improvement initiative including expansion of the emergency department, a spine care center, an enhanced Women's Services area, a Liver and Pancreas Institute and 22,000 square foot Cancer Center. The HCA Midwest Health System is the Kansas City area's largest healthcare network, consisting of 11 hospitals, outpatient centers, clinics, physician practices, surgery centers and an array of other services. College of Nursing students benefit from this broad array of patients and services through clinical experiences at HCA Midwest Health System's facilities.

Research College of Nursing celebrates the 30th anniversary of its partnership with Rockhurst University in 2010 and the 125th anniversary of Research Medical Center. Since it admitted its first class in 1905, the College has graduated over 4000 professional nurses. The College continues to have a strong collaborative relationship with Research Medical Center. Through its many changes Research College continues to thrive and serve as a leader in innovation among nursing programs in the community and in the nation.