A legacy of nursing education

Portrait of Emily L. Loveridge at the age of 23
Emily L. Loveridge at age 23 in New York City. At the time this photograph was taken, Loveridge was studying nursing at Bellevue Training School for Nurses (in New York City), from which she graduated in 1889.

The history of the Good Samaritan School of Nursing was rich and impressive long before Linfield entered the picture. The oldest nursing school in the West was founded in 1890 and its growth was initially shaped by Emily Loveridge, its leader until 1905. Loveridge was the first – but far from the last – dedicated, hardworking, exacting, patient and compassionate caretaker of the school, from which more than 4,000 nurses graduated in 95 years.

For many of those years, Good Samaritan was like most nursing schools of the time: a diploma program dedicated to the hands-on, practical education of professional nurses. Faculty consisted mainly of professional nurses and staff who worked alongside nursing students as they trained. The school became known for producing strong, caring, in-demand nursing graduates.

In the 1960s and ’70s, nursing education underwent a fundamental shift, with a new emphasis on prerequisite courses in the sciences and humanities before practical training, which itself was becoming more advanced and specialized. Most successful nursing programs became affiliated with established universities to handle the new demands.

In Oregon, Good Samaritan was the last standalone three-year diploma nursing program of its kind in 1975 and faced an uncertain future. The administrators of the hospital and school sought to carry on the legacy by finding the right four-year college as a partner.

Linfield, seeking a presence in Portland and an expansion of its curriculum, emerged as a possible match. Just as each school sought something in the other, each had concerns about what a partnership might mean. Adding a professional baccalaureate nursing program could alter Linfield’s liberal arts core and finding the necessary faculty might be a daunting task. Also, adding the curricular demands of Linfield’s program might take away from the clinical, hands-on learning that was Good Samaritan’s key characteristic.

After an extensive process of exploration and negotiation, the schools came to an agreement in 1982. The first class of Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing students came in 1983, and the final class that had entered Good Samaritan prior to the agreement graduated in 1985.

From the start, Linfield and new nursing dean Pam Harris sought to make Good Samaritan alumni feel like part of the family. Dean Harris embraced Good Samaritan’s history and sought to bring together alumni of the diploma program and the new baccalaureate curriculum. The School of Nursing thrived and quickly became one of Linfield’s core programs, building the early foundation for the recent expansion to a dynamic campus and its many possibilities.

Linfield and Legacy Health, Good Samaritan’s successor, may no longer have a formal partnership, but Good Samaritan’s legacy – especially its emphasis on excellence in care – has
carried on and remains at the heart of Linfield’s nursing tradition.

— Rich Schmidt, director of archives and resource sharing

Special thanks to Kathryn Schach ’72 and Cindy Evans, a longtime Good Samaritan Hospital employee, for their assistance with this article. And, as always, “Inspired Pragmatism” by Marvin Henberg and Barbara Kitt Seidman is a wonderful resource for learning more about Linfield’s history.

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