Connecticut and New Haven's First General Hospital

Knight Hospital and the Civil War

Late Nineteenth-Century Expansion and the Founding of Grace Hospital

The Connecticut Training School for Nurses and the Dispensary

The Founding of the Hospital of Saint Raphael

For-Profit Private Hospitals in New Haven

New Haven Hospital, 1900-1920

New Haven, Grace, and Saint Raphael, 1920s and 1930s

Grace-New Haven Community Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael, 1940s and 1950s

Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael, 1960s to the Present

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library

Historical Library

Yale-New Haven Hospital

St. Raphael Healthcare System

The Connecticut Training School for Nurses and the Dispensary

The Connecticut Training School for Nurses, 1873

The successes of the Civil War military hospitals emphasized the value of a well-ordered hospital with a good nursing staff. Hospital managers in the 1870s were concerned with cleanliness, good ventilation, and diet in the hospital. Thus, the needs of the hospital coincided with the movement to create training schools for nurses. The third such training school established in the United States was the Connecticut Training School for Nurses, founded in 1873. After the General Hospital Society of Connecticut had expressed its interest in 1872 in making the hospital facilities available to a training school for nurses, 40 men and women associated to organize a school, based upon Florence Nightingale's training school in England. In April 1873, the Hospital Directors and the Officers of the Training School signed an agreement. Student nurses would provide nursing service on the wards in exchange for room and board and training by the visiting and consulting physicians of the hospital. (Most graduates of the training schools expected to find work as nurses in private homes, rather than paid positions in hospitals.) The Superintendent of Nurses would be responsible to the physicians, and in charge of the student nurses. Hospitals came to depend heavily on the unpaid work of nursing students. The Connecticut Training School for Nurses opened in October 1873 with four pupils. Unlike many later training schools set up directly by hospitals, the training school was in some measure independent from New Haven Hospital. Expanding in size and curriculum, the school continued until 1926 at which time the first class of the Yale School of Nursing and the last class of the Training School held a joint graduation ceremony.

These two early brochures describe the organization of the school, the benefits to society of training nurses, and the need for donations. "Young women wishing to qualify themselves for the honourable position of professional nurses, and willing to devote themselves seriously to a year's preparation of study and hard work" were invited to apply for admission.

Brochures, ca. 1873. Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


Pin of the Connecticut Training School for Nurses

Loaned by the Yale School of Nursing


The New Haven Dispensary, chartered 1872

From the late 18th century on, cities in the U.S. established dispensaries, or free-standing clinics, in which the poor could obtain free medical advice and medicines. The physicians associated with the dispensaries provided their time gratis and, in turn, obtained valuable experience with a wide variety of cases. Most medicines at this time were still compounded by pharmacists according to the physicians' prescriptions and were not expensive. A meeting of interested persons was held in November, 1871, officers were elected and a constitution adopted. The New Haven Dispensary was opened in December in quarters on Crown Street. A charter was obtained in 1872. Shown here is the annual report for 1873. From November 1872 to November 1873, the Dispensary treated 1073 patients. The bill for medicines for 1873 was $213.40 and other expenses amounted to $491.22.

Second Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the New Haven Dispensary with By-Laws, Act of Incorporation, and Appendix. Incorporated 1872. November, 1873.

Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


Dispensary Building on York Street, ca. 1897

In 1878 the Dispensary moved from its original location on Crown Street to York Street and became increasingly identified with the Yale Medical College, which had moved from Grove to York Street in 1860. The attending physicians of the Dispensary were all professors in the medical school. In 1889 a new building with a well lighted lecture hall was erected next door to the Dispensary for clinical teaching. By 1896, the staff of 7 attending physicians and 17 assistants were handling 12,725 patient consultations a year.



Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


William Carmalt's Surgical Clinic, New Haven Dispensary, ca. 1897

By the late nineteenth century, the apprentice system was dying out. Yale, like other medical schools, expanded its curriculum, adding laboratory courses and clinical instruction. To accommodate the new curriculum, in 1879, the medical school adopted a three-year graded course and in 1896 required a four-year course. Since the medical school had no official relationship to the New Haven Hospital, the school instead relied heavily on the New Haven Dispensary for clinical teaching in the 1880s and 1890s. Professors, such as William Carmalt, Professor of Surgery, held regularly scheduled specialty clinics that students could attend as courses.

Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


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