In 1962, Clark College's nursing program graduated its first class of nurses. But in truth, the college's history of nursing education stretches long before then, back to when it taught Nurse's Aide courses to help fill the nursing shortage during World War II. At the time, nurses were typically trained in hospital-sponsored and - hosted schools, but when St. Joseph's Hospital shut down its nursing school in the mid-1950s, leaving the region with no source of new nurses, Clark College stepped in to fill the gap. It's been providing quality nursing care - and high-paying jobs - to the region ever since.
Jean Hamilton, who would become the program's first director, worked to develop an associate degree in nursing at the college - the first such degree in the Pacific Northwest, and only the fifth in the entire country. The program's first class graduated in 1962 - all 15 of them. Much has changed in the ensuing 50 years. Clark now enrolls new nursing classes each fall, winter and spring quarter, producing between 115 and 140 new nurses each year. But throughout that half-century of progress, the program has maintained its dedication to high-quality, hands-on learning that creates some of the best nurses in the region.