Victoria General Hospital

For a history of the Victoria General Hospital, please click here.

Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing

The VG Hospital School for Nursing was established by Dr. C. Jacques, a member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia, and approved by the Lt. Governor in October 1891.  Six members were in the first nursing class and lectures were by doctors, held once per week.  The first written exam, on December 21, 1891, had 8 questions, and was prepared by Drs. Ross, Mader and Jacques.  The graduates were referred to as 'Senior Nurses'.  The hospital was under the direction of Hon. C. E. Church, Commissioner of Works and Mines, and Dr. C. Jacques,  Hospital Medical Superintendent.  The 'Lady Superintent' was Miss Julia Purdy, from New Brunswick, and a graduate nurse from Boston.

The School graduated approximately 5000 nurses from 1892 to 1995, when the school closed, Several VG graduates were charter members of the once called; "Graduates Nurses Association of NS" (GNANS) , founded by Eveline Pemberton, a Supervisor at the VG hospital, Saturday April 17, 1909, in the nurses’ residence. Eveline also conducted a private hospital in a house on North Park Street, Halifax called; "Restholm". This was completely destroyed during the Halifax Explosion of 1917 and fortunately no loss of life. The first president of GNANS was Jobena Frances (Thomas) Forrest, a VGH graduate class of 1898.

The Association became the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia by a Legislation Act (1922) under the guidance of President Catherine Graham, class of 1895.  RN designation became official after the Act of 1922.  The first Registered Nurse in Canada was E. Pemberton followed second by Catherine Graham.  The first official Registrar for RNANS was Florence Fraser, class of 1908.  In 2002 the Association was changed to the College of Registered Nurses NS (CRNNS).  Several VG grads have been president and the first male president was Peter McDougall, class of 1984.

1917 - The Explosion and the VG Hospital

The VG Hospital physicians and nurses played a crucial role in helping the victims of the Halifax Explosion, for more please click here.

Jim & Edna Claydon Radiation Treatment Clinic - read story here.

1858 MOUNT HOPE HOSPITAL for the MENTALLY ILL - read story here.


Remediation of the VGH Medical Records - read story here.

Moose River Gold Mine Disaster and three VGH Nurses - read story here.

Vignettes, VG Nurses, and Infectious Diseases Within Nova Scotia

From early records, the trail of VG nurses and doctors, dealing with infectious diseases will show a century of care starting with the cholera epidemic in Halifax during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.  For more, please click here.

The Third Nurses Residence, VGH - Bethune Building

In order to tell the story of the Bethune building, it is important to start at the beginning of what nurses had to endure with regard to their accommodation after a formal hospital was originally built to serve the citizens of Halifax and Nova Scotia.  For more, please click here.

Nursing history projects by graduate students in the Atlantic Canada Studies program at St. Mary's University.

Tara Lyle-Tanner's project is the history of syringes. Please Click below.

Diane Obed's project is the history of VGH Nursing Uniforms. Please click below.

History of the Patient Thermometer.  Please click below.


A Nova Scotia nurse was honoured as a hero because he risked his life in saving others, that being David Mahoney of Yarmouth, NS.  Please click here for more.

© 2024 Halifax Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni (E)