Blodgett School of Nursing Alumni Association, 100th Anniversary

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Blodgett Nurses Alumni Association organized 19 years after the nursing school opened at the hospital, which was then called the Union Benevolent Association. It was the oldest continuing nursing school in Michigan when it closed in 1987. Mercy Central and the Butterworth School of Nursing had already closed.

2,572 graduated from the Blodgett School of Nursing. This week the alumni group is celebrating its centennial.

In the early years, you couldn’t be married and be a nursing student. At one time nursing students on probation wore plain nursing caps. A narrow black stripe was added in their junior year, a second stripe in their senior year, and a broad band at graduation.

There was a strict dress code. White uniforms had to be a certain length and were so starched they chafed your neck. Student nurses lived in a lodge next to the hospital, where they had classed taught by doctors and nurses. We worked eight-hour shifts and went to class besides. Today, nurses’ caps have disappeared, sneakers have replaced high-button shoes, pants are worn instead of skirts. Men have entered what was the all-female profession.

Created: 22 November 2007