From War to Revolution: The Rich History of Hood College Nursing

Originally posted in the February, March, April 2018 edition of The Maryland Nurse News and Journal.

Hood College in Frederick, MD is celebrating their 125 anniversary this year, and the Hood College Department of Nursing is proud to be part of the rich history.

The 1940s: Hood Nursing as War Work with a Future

In 1943, the world was at war, and the public was asked to support war efforts. Hood College, in Frederick, Maryland, offered support by opening its first nursing program. “Nursing is War Work with a Future,” proclaimed the first brochures promoting the nursing program at Hood. That September, according to the Hood Registrar’s Office, 28 young women were “accepted for work leading to Degree of B.S. in Nursing” at Hood College. They came from as far away as New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and as close as a few blocks from Hood’s campus.

Hood did not have its own nursing school in 1943. Instead, the college entered into cooperative agreements with three highly regarded schools of nursing: The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland; The School of Nursing of The Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Department of Nursing, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York.

Hood’s role was to offer “two years of pre-professional liberal arts training.” Upon successful completion of this work, the student was allowed to transfer to one of the cooperating schools of nursing for another three years of professional study and practice in nursing. At the end of these five years of study, the student was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hood College and a nursing diploma from the cooperating school of nursing. The five-year cooperative plan for nursing education continued at Hood through the Class of 1962. The final group of six students all matriculated to The Massachusetts General Hospital. In all, 87 students earned nursing degrees in collaborative programs between Hood and cooperating nursing programs.

The 2000s: Hood Nursing as a Healthcare Revolution

Fortunately, it did not take another War to bring nursing back to Hood College, but it did take a healthcare revolution. In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences began a study that took a hard look at nursing and the changes required to meet future healthcare needs in the United States. The resulting report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2010) was released the same year as the Affordable Care Act. This landmark legislation represented the broadest health care overhaul since the 1965 creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Similarly, the Future of Nursing report called for a broad overhaul in nursing practice, education, and leadership. Recommendation four of this action-oriented report is to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.

Again, Hood College answered the call. The administration of Hood College proposed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Completion Program for registered nurses. The initiative for the program was a collaborative agreement between Hood College, Frederick Memorial Hospital, and Frederick Community College. Frederick Memorial Hospital agreed to provide scholarships for a discounted tuition to select employees. Frederick Community College, which offered an associate degree in nursing, agreed to allow Hood’s nursing students to use the skills lab on its campus during the course on health assessment. Carol A. Snapp, DNSc, CNM, of Walkersville, MD, was named director of the new program and continues as the director today.

Hood BSN Completion Program Begins

Hood’s BSN Completion Program provided course work for students who had completed two years of college and were licensed as Registered Nurses. The completion option would complement the large associate degree in nursing program at Frederick Community College and was an option for more than 1,000 nurses in Frederick at that time did not have a BSN. Curriculum was designed to provide nurses with additional skills and knowledge to improve healthcare outcomes. With approvals from the Hood College Curriculum Committee, the Maryland Board of Nursing and the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the program was open for enrollment for fall 2011. The first class of 12 students was admitted and graduated during summer 2013. Ten of the students were employees of Frederick Memorial Hospital who had been awarded scholarships from FMH.

The BSN Completion Program earned accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in November 2013. By the time the accreditation was granted, work was already under way on a four-year pre-licensure nursing program.

Hood Pre-Licensure Program Begins

The Hood administration and the Board of Trustees voted to expand nursing education to include a four- year program and petitioned the 2013 Maryland General Assembly for financial support for dedicated laboratory space for the nursing program. Since Maryland had long been working on ways to help alleviate the statewide nursing shortage, the request was granted. Construction of a dedicated nursing lab began on the third floor of the Hodson Science and Technology Building during the summer 2014, and faculty was recruited to help develop curriculum for the pre-licensure program. The program curriculum was approved, and the first class of nursing pre- licensure students were admitted for Fall 2014 semester, set to be the first graduating class of 2018. Hood welcomed 25 students into the program in the fall of 2017, joining a total of 29 students in their junior and senior year.

The Future of Hood Nursing

Hood College will continue to provide students with a liberal arts education and the opportunity to pursue nursing education, whether they are just beginning in nursing or registered nurses seeking a BSN. We invite you to be part of our story!

Authors: Jennifer Cooper, DNP, RN, APHN-BC, CCP, can be contacted at cooper@hood. edu, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Ellen Cornelius, Administrative Assistant; Hood College Department of Nursing, 301-696-3219; 401 Rosemont Ave. Frederick, MD 21701.

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