History

Making communities healthier, safer, and stronger

Founded in 1919, the UBC School of Nursing was one of the first programs established at the University of British Columbia.

The School’s founding director was Ethel Johns, an internationally recognized educator, public health researcher, writer and advocate for social justice. Her insistence on a baccalaureate-level  nursing program lead to the establishment of the first university degree program for nurses in the Commonwealth. Four nurses graduated in the School’s first baccalaureate class.

Today, 120 men and women annually enter the undergraduate program, and in 2019 the School of Nursing will mark our 100th anniversary, recognizing a century of preparing nurses for careers in professional practice, education and research which make our communities healthier and safer, and stronger.

To recognize her invaluable role in promoting equality and advancing public health, the Government of Canada officially recognized Ethel Johns as a Person of National Historical Significance. 

Looking for more historical information?

To learn more about the history of the UBC School of Nursing, contact the archivist to arrange a viewing of nursing artifacts donated through the years. To learn more about the BC History of Nursing Society, email them or visit their website.

Legacy: 100 years of nursing education in BC

The School of Nursing also has copies – available by donation – of the book, Legacy, which documents nursing education in British Columbia over the last 100 years. Both authors of this book are graduates of UBC's School of Nursing.  Glennis Zilm went on to a career as a writer, editor and journalist. Ethel Warbinek became a faculty member and has had a long association with the School. Both are active members of provincial and national history of nursing associations.

Contact the Director's Assistant to get your copy.