In 1829, the first public hospital in Memphis was established by an act of the Tennessee Legislature. Twelve years later, this small inadequate hospital meant for river travelers was replaced with a facility that, after being used as a military hospital during the American Civil War, became the Memphis City Hospital.
The American Civil War had demonstrated a need for trained nurses, but it was Florence Nightingale, following her work in the Crimean war, who influenced reform in hospitals in England and reformed nursing "training". As Nightingale's writings began to affect nursing in this country, the first US school based on Nightingale's principles was established in 1873 at New York's Bellevue Hospital. Two other schools, new Haven Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, followed.
Memphis Training School for Nurses was chartered September 28, 1887, at a time during which nursing education in the United States was still in its infancy. It was one of the first schools of nursing in the South and was certainly the first in the Mid-South. In December 1887, the school accepted its first student, Lena Clark Angevine, who is now known as Tennessee's pioneer nurse. In 1898, a new city hospital along with the Nursing School of the Memphis City Hospital opened at 860 Madison Avenue and the Memphis Training School for Nurses closed.
The medical staff of the hospital petitioned the Mayor to appoint Mrs. Lena Angevine Warner Superintendent of Nurses at the new nursing school. In 1913 the hospital became the teaching center of the College of Medicine of the University of Tennessee, and in 1920, the Memphis General Hospital became a University hospital by contractual agreement when the University of Tennessee College of Nursing was created, and on November 9, 1926, The City of Memphis and The University of Tennessee entered into a contract governing the operation of the Memphis General Hospital by the College of Medicine. The University began operation of the School of Nursing in June 1927. In July 1949, the School of Nursing became an autonomous unit within the University.
The difficult transition from a diploma to a baccalaureate program began in September 1950, when the newly-established Baccalaureate in Nursing Program admitted 26 students. In 1972 the Master's program was developed and students were admitted for the 1973 summer quarter. The PhD in Nursing was begun in August 1988. The size of the undergraduate program was purposefully reduced as greater emphasis was placed on graduate education. The last group of undergraduates graduated December 1997, allowing the College to focus entirely on graduate education. The faculty set as a goal for the College the offering of a professional clinical doctorate to meet the future needs of the increasingly complex health care environment in Tennessee and the nation. The first DNSc students were admitted in July 1999.
The College of Nursing provides innovative education, patient care and research programs throughout Tennessee and the Mid South. Most degree programs use state-of-the-art telecommunications and distributive programming to bring education to students in East Tennessee, rural West Tennessee, and across the nation. The College's faculty and staff deliver cutting-edge clinical services in many different services in a variety of locations. The faculty and students bring the science of caring to the daily lives of their patients. The internationally-renowned research programs of the faculty advance the frontiers knowledge in several areas.
Dr. Michael Carter was appointed Dean in 1982. His bachelor's and master's degrees are from the University of Arkansas College of Nursing, and his DNSc degree is from Boston University.
Dr. Donna Hathaway was appointed Dean in August 2000, after being on faculty at UT College of Nursing since 1984. Her bachelor's and master's degrees are from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and her PhD degree is from University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Hathaway announced her desire to step down from the dean's role and return to a faculty position effective August 1, 2011.
Dr. Susan Jacob, PhD, RN, who served as executive associate dean for the college since 2003, was appointed Interim Dean effective August 1, 2011.
Laura A. Talbot, PhD, EdD, RN, GCNS-BC was appointed dean of the College of Nursing in March 2012. She had extensive administrative, clinical and research experience, much of it gleaned during her more than 30 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, where she rose to the rank of Colonel and commanded a medical squadron. During her time as dean of the college, Dr. Talbot maintained an active program of research focused on the needs of veterans and active duty military. In July 2014, Dr. Talbot stepped down to pursue a full-time career as a researcher at the university.
In July 2014, Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC was appointed interim dean of the College of Nursing. She previously served as Associate Dean and Chair of the Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies in the College of Nursing. Dr. Likes' received her Associate of Science degree from Arkansas State University in 1994. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Memphis in 1997. Her Master of Science in Nursing (family nurse practitioner), Doctorate of Nursing Science, and PhD degrees were earned at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 1999, 2004, and 2009 respectively. Dr. Likes' works primarily with women with cancer and pre-invasive gynecologic conditions in her clinical practice.
Information taken from:
From Diploma to Doctorate: 100 Years of Nursing Educationby E. Dianne Greenhill, RN, BSN, EdD, Professor of Nursing