Go, and Do Thou Likewise: A History of the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, 1877-1979

Article excerpt

Go, and Do Thou Likewise: A History of the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, 1877-1979 By Shirley H. Fondiller (New York: Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, Inc., 2007) (316 pages, $39.88 cloth)

Nursing education's transition from the hospital to the university during the late 20th century was a complex and idiosyncratic process. This shift was contingent on both national economic and social trends in health care and local factors such as the existing infrastructure of particular hospitals and the interpersonal relationships between hospital board members and nursing leaders. Go, and Do Thou Likewise: A History of the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, 1877-1979 is an in-depth examination of how one school of nursing was shaped by the conflicting interests of its various stakeholders, sweeping changes in health care policy, and the evolving demands of the patient-consumer.

The New York Hospital Training School for Nurses was founded in 1877. Irene H. Sutliffe, an alumna appointed dean in 1886, made significant educational changes such as the expansion of the program to 3 years and the creation of cutting-edge training facilities such as a diet kitchen despite major resistance from the hospital's board of governors. Author Shirley H. Fondiller describes in detail how Sutliffe and her successors, including Annie Warburton Goodrich and Anna Wolf, navigated a dense hierarchy of advisory boards, supervising physicians, and donor committees to advocate for the educational needs of their students while balancing the financial interests of the school and hospital. Also discussed are the curriculum, clinical rotation, and entry criteria for the school of nursing and how these day-to-day aspects were affected by the actions of its leadership, the influence of the board of governors, and evolution of the relationship between the school of nursing and Cornell University.

The establishment of a 4-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program through the incorporation of the New York Hospital School of Nursing into Cornell University was an arduous, politically challenging process for the educators interested in creating it such as Wolf and Cornell University President Edmund Ezra Day. Although the Cornell Medical College first affiliated with the New York Hospital in 1927, the Cornell University School of Nursing was not formed until 1942. The author maps out the intricate course of negotiations between hospital, nursing school, university, and community figures, which finally led to the BSN program. Fondiller pays particular attention to the historical meanings of the relocation of the nursing school to a new, shared campus then known as the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1932. …