The Roots of our Alumnae Association
Although separate and distinct organizations, the histories of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, its School of Nursing and the Alumnae Association of the School of Nursing both overlap and intertwine. It would be difficult, for instance, to talk about the history of the Hospital without talking about the contributions of its School of Nursing and Alumnae Association. Similarly, Alumnae members cherish their roots in the School of Nursing and the Hospital itself.
Soon after Elizabeth McMaster and her friends opened their first small hospital to serve sick children in Toronto, the need for this specialized care grew rapidly. Suitably trained nurses were required to care for these young patients and a fledgling School of Nursing was started in 1886. Several years later an Alumnae Association was formed on the recommendation of Miss Louise Brent, Superintendent of the Hospital at the time. Ten graduates attended the first meeting. Eventually over 2600 nurses graduated from HSC’s School of Nursing and became Alumnae members. The current membership is over 1400 nurses!
The Alumnae took on the roles of supporting its graduate nurses and encouraging their ongoing friendships. It also faithfully continued to support the students in the School of Nursing, through mentorship and educational bursaries and scholarships, until the school closed and the program moved to Ryerson University in 1974. In recent years the Alumnae has similarly supported nurses on staff at the hospital, whether HSC graduates or not. The Alumnae also continues to advocate for children and their families who need the services of the Hospital for Sick Children and many members have volunteered in various capacities within the hospital over the years.
In the following pages you can learn more about the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the School of Nursing, and the Alumnae Association. Also, check our “links” for more history and current happenings at the Hospital.