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History

St. Francis Medical Center School of Nursing has been educating nurses for 100 years. In 1905 when nursing schools were still a brand new idea in America, the Third Order of the Sisters of St. Francis received a charter from the State of New Jersey to establish a "TRAINING SCHOOL FOR NURSES OF SAINT FRANCIS HOSPITAL." The seven students who comprised the first class, and their teachers were indeed pioneers in this avant garde venture. St. Francis School of Nursing stands as evidence of the Sisters of St. Francis' long commitment to quality education for nursing students.

Under the leadership of Sister Hyacintha the School was organized and chartered by the State of New Jersey in 1905. The first class, of seven women, graduated in 1908. Miss Anna Cunningham was the first director of the School, which was registered by the New Jersey Board of Nursing in 1912. Originally housed in the hospital, the School moved to the educational building on St. Francis Avenue in 1925. Classes were admitted annually except between the years of 1944 and 1948 when there were double class entrances. In 1956, St. Francis School of Nursing became the first School of Nursing in the area to be accredited by the National League for Nursing. The program remained three years in length until 1964 when a two-year program was instituted. During 1964, there were two graduating classes. The School, which formerly provided residence facilities, became a commuter-only school in 1978. The purchase of college credits for non - nursing courses was initiated in 1980. In 1998, the School developed a cooperative nursing agreement with Mercer County Community College. Graduates now earn an Associate in Science Degree from Mercer County Community College and a Diploma in Nursing from St. Francis School of Nursing.

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