Sunday, May 31, 2015

What was the tuition for a 3 year diploma nursing program in 1970?

A young fool works on a detail to the OB outpatient prenatal unit. If we agreed to detail assignments during our 3rd year, tuition for that semester was waived. That young foolette in the background was often my partner on OR details. We both loved surgery and that is how we got started in our first jobs. We used to rehearse together for difficult or new OR cases and she always got to play the surgeon! Once a scrub nurse, always a scrub nurse!

I found an old tattered Financial Information statement from the  diploma school's registrar's office. Here are the expenses form 1970. The registrar collected the tuition. If you could not pay it and were on good terms with the school, it was no big deal. Doctors routinely paid student  nurses tuition if  necessary.

We were socialized into the dogma that we were just nurses, but it was nice to have people who made you feel important. Dr. Webster, who was on the hospital board of trustees paid for part of my tuition. When he saw me on the clinical unit he would always stop to encourage me, even if he was rounding with a bunch of other bigshots.

Pre-entrance fee - $3.00 application processing fee. May be paid with US postage stamps enclosed with application.
Tuition Cost
First Year
Second Year
Third Year
Total                         $2,100.00
This price included everything: books, uniforms, housing, laundry, and meals.  We always affectionately referred to the school as "Mother" because all of our needs were met.
This was also the suggested list price of the tuition. If we agreed to be available for "details" during our final year, our tuition for that year was waived. Basically, we were sent to wherever help was needed in the hospital. It was a very good learning experience. If there was a nasty trauma coming in we all got sent to the ER to "help." Most of the time, though, we were paralyzed by fear and just gawked.
The tuition cost was really all inclusive. There was no foolishness  about paying for nursing pins upon graduation. I guess the school figured we had put in the clinical hours to earn it by our working.
There was no way this could be financially sustainable. The cost of salaries for instructors and utilities had to be many times the cost of our meager tuition. As soon as business types began running hospitals, diploma nursing schools were finished.
The historical significance or community image did not really factor into the decision when it became time to shutter the diploma schools.

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