McKay-Dee Hospital

(801) 387-2800Map4401 Harrison Blvd.Ogden, UT 84403

Two days after the original Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital opened on December 29, 1910, 15 patients were transferred from the Ogden General Hospital. They were accompanied by five graduate nurses – Maude Edwards (Paradis), Beda Nelson (Woodbury), Winifred Howard (Jarvis), Alice Manning and Mary Hornsby. In addition, there were three student nurses – Anna Hansen, Ethel Edwards and Marie Rasmussen.

These nurses formed the first faculty and student body of the Thomas D. Dee Hospital School of Nursing.

Nurses worked a 12-hour shift in the Hospital with a two-hour rest period if they were not too busy and one-half day off each week. Classes were held after 7 p.m. The first students were enrolled in a 2 1/2-year program, under the direction of Maude Edwards, who headed the nursing school in addition to her duties as director of nursing for the hospital.

In the first five years of operation several changes were made in nursing management. Miss Edwards resigned and Miss Willis, Miss McGinnis and Miss Roberts followed in rapid succession as nursing superintendents.

Miss Annie J. Hall, a graduate of St. Marks Hospital Training School for Nurses in Salt Lake City, took over in 1912 and made significant accomplishments in her 2 1/2-year tenure. The curriculum was strengthened in 1913 and the program was increased to three years.

The first caps and uniforms were the same as those worn by Ogden General Hospital nurses. In the fall of 1912, Miss Hall designed a new cap which was worn until 1917, when it was changed to the style that became familiar to every hospital patient in Northern Utah.

Uniforms worn by nurses in training were white with narrow blue stripes. They had stiff white collars and cuffs and a white bibbed apron. Skirts were just above ankle length and black shoes were worn.

A new diploma was designed by Dr. Eugene Smith and Miss Hall to replace the receipt-type diploma issued by Ogden General Hospital to its nurses. In collaboration with Ogden jeweler John L. Lewis, a Hospital nursing school pin was designed, modeled after an old Roman coin.

An obstetrical division was opened so that nurses could be trained in labor, delivery and post-partum care.

The first student nurses lived in the basement of the Hospital and classes were held there. Nurses were required to register in and out of quarters and could not remain out after 10 p.m., with the privilege extended to a midnight curfew once a month.

Night duty was handled by students with one in charge of each nursing floor. The employees' midnight meal was prepared by the nurse with the fewest patients.

Nurses were expected to do special private duty nursing in the Hospital and in homes for practical training without additional remuneration.

The nursing program required theory and practical experience in surgery, medicine, dietetics, first aid, ear, nose and throat and Swedish massage. The lecturing staff of the School of Nursing was:

  • R. S. Joyce M.D. - First Aid and Surgery
  • Ezra Rich, M.D. - Gynecology
  • LeRoy Pugmire, M.D. - Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat
  • Paul Ingebretsen, M.D - Materia Medica
  • E.I. Rich, M.D. - Obstetrics
  • Eugene Smith, M.D. - Pediatrics
  • A. A. Robinson, M.D. - Neurology
  • Joseph Morrell, M.D. - Anatomy, Physiology, Contagious Diseases
  • Walter Whalen, M.D. - Bacteriology
  • R. E. Worrell, M.D. - Venereal Disease
  • O.S. Osgood, M.D. - Surgery
  • E. P. Mills, M.D. - Contagious Diseases
  • Dr. McCune - Solutions
  • Miss Annie J. - Hall Practical Nursing and Nursing Ethics
  • Miss Martiner - Dietetics
  • Miss Nielson - Swedish Massage

The first class graduated in 1913. The program was held in the Weber Academy Auditorium, which the junior nurses had cleaned and decorated. Diplomas were awarded by Mrs. Dee; pins were presented by Miss Hall; the Florence Nightingale pledge was given by Dr. John E. Carver. There were eight nurses in the first graduating class.

In 1915, when the LDS Church took over operation of the Hospital, Miss Stella Sainsbury, a graduate of LDS Hospital School of Nursing, became superintendent of Nurses.

The students continued to live at the Hospital until Mrs. Maude Dee Porter provided several homes for them near the Hospital when the student body became too large.

August 24, 1917, was a red-letter day. The new Nurses' Home east of the Hospital was completed and opened. Mrs. Eliza McFarland was the first house mother.

Nurses' Home Opened

A description of the Home, taken from the Alumni history of the school, relates:

"The home was beautifully furnished with a piano, phonograph, and a choice assortment of records. Miss Sainsbury had a private apartment with sitting-room, bedroom and bath. Other supervisors roomed alone and student nurses lived two in a room. Student rooms were lovely and cheerful with built-in double dressing tables with glass tops over flowered chintz. Each nurse also had her own clothes closet and drawer space. Twin beds were furnished for each room.

"Classes were now held in a large room in the basement, which was also used as a recreation room. This was a great improvement. In addition to the usual subjects, a course in x-ray technique and one in anesthesia was given to the classes of 1918 and 1919."

In April, 1917, the United States entered World War I. Shortly afterwards, Miss Sainsbury enlisted and Miss Stella Peterson, also a graduate of the LDS Hospital School of Nursing, was named Superintendent.

The need for nurses in the Armed Services was great and a unit of five from the class of 1918 volunteered. They were sent to New York City and when it became known they had been trained in the administration of anesthetics, they were sent overseas at once.

The influenza epidemic of 1917, 1918, and 1919 put a great strain on the Hospital and nursing staff and school.

Second and third floors, delivery room, wards and hallways were filled with flu victims. The basement was the morgue and was always occupied, as there were many deaths, including two student nurses. No maternity cases were accepted and only emergency surgery was done. The fourth floor and operating rooms were closed off during the epidemic.

Grateful for Care

Often entire families were admitted to one room, grateful for any care given them by the overburdened staff. The need for beds became so great, a frame "Annex" was constructed on the north side of the Hospital. This building remained in use as an isolation unit until 1920.

After World War I, changes in the nursing school were minimal. After attending roll call or "Devotional" in the Nurses' Home auditorium, the student nurse reported for duty at 7 a.m., and worked until 6 p.m., with two hours off during the day to attend classes.

Students were on a three months probation period and were called "probies." The first year after probation, the student received a $10 monthly salary; $12 the second, and $15 the senior year. She was expected to pay for anything she broke and for personal care items supplied by the Hospital. Sometimes there was very little left in the check to buy books and clothes.

During 1925, the students were given the option of wearing capes with their uniforms. They were finger-length of navy blue lined with scarlet. The name of the school was on the collar. Not all students could afford to buy one.

All during the 1920's and early 1930's, students on the night shift reported for work at 6 p.m. One graduate nurse supervised, but the students ran the operating room, the delivery room, and gave any emergency anesthetics. They were on duty in the business office, admitting and releasing patients and figuring their accounts. They operated the switchboard, staffed the information desk, and cooked and served the midnight meal for the other employees. It was not at all unusual for one student to have complete care of 30 or 35 very sick patients.

Association Formed

An alumni association had been established in 1915, but the first student body association was not organized until 1926. Lucille Taylor (Bruerton) was elected president. The first year book was published in 1927, with Miss Taylor as editor and Lucile Williams (Brown) business manager.

As 1926 drew to a close, a new department was added to the Hospital for additional training of student nurses. This new department, Public Health or "clinic," as it was called, was the first such department in any nursing school in Utah and was the forerunner of the Community Health Service. Mrs. Maude Dee Porter paid the salary and transportation for the Public Health supervisor. There were usually three or four nurses in training at any time. They worked in the city-financed venereal disease clinics and in the well baby clinics. The schools contracted with the Hospital for their services as school nurses.

Visiting patients' homes after surgery was regarded as very interesting duty for the student nurses in the clinic.

This department was closed in 1936, when the Ogden City/Weber County Health District was established.

The Dee Nursing School became affiliated with Weber College in 1932, and with the University of Utah in 1942 for tuberculosis and psychiatric nursing instruction for third year students.

Cadet Corps Formed

During World War II, faced with a shortage of nurses, the U.S. Cadet Nurses Corps was organized in 1942. Tuition, uniforms and books were furnished for students and a stipend was paid. The Cadet Corps was discontinued in 1949.

Rapidly increasing technology and pharmacology followed World War II and new trends in nursing education began.

In 1955, the Dee School of Nursing and Weber College participated in a national study program under Columbia University Teachers' College with six other community colleges and their hospital affiliates – Fairleigh-Dickinson College, Rutherford, N.J.; Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, Mich.; Orange County Community College, Middletown, N.Y.; Pasadena City College, Pasadena, Calif.; Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, Va.; Virgina State College, Norfolk, Va.

The study underscored nursing's need for more medical and scientific knowledge. The Dee School of Nursing was phased out. Weber College took over the classes and the Hospital became the setting for clinical experience.

In its 45 years of existence, the Dee School of Nursing had graduated more than 700 nurses who form the backbone of the nursing profession in Northern Utah.

About The Author

Eleanor B. Moler was McKay-Dee Hospital Center Public Services Director from 1969 through 1981, when she retired to devote more time to her writing.

A graduate of the University of Nevada School of Journalism, she was the founder and first president of the Utah Society for Hospital Public Relations. She is past-president of the Utah Girl Scout Council, and was a member of the Ogden Social Services Coordinating Council, serving as secretary for many years.

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