This week we celebrate the role of nursing in health care and at Henry Ford Hospital.
Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927, courtesy of the Conrad R. Lam Archives.
In previous blog posts, I’ve described the creation of the Henry Ford Medical Group, an idea that Henry Ford moved forward as influenced by meeting with the Mayo brothers.
Many of Henry’s other ideas about health care and the medical practices needed to support Detroit during Henry Ford Hospital’s formative years were directly influenced by his wife, Clara.
Most importantly, Clara was the major advocate of developing excellence in nursing that continues to this day at Henry Ford.
Being a great believer in the caring nature of nursing and its pivotal role in the medical care provided to patients, Clara was the driving force in developing the Henry Ford School of Nursing and Hygiene on the hospital campus.
The school included two new buildings, both designed by renowned architect, Albert Kahn: the 300-room Clara Ford Nurses Home (today’s Clara Ford Pavilion) and the Education Building (now home to the Innovation Institute).
Clara also worked closely with a designer to ensure that both the private rooms and the common areas were outfitted with precision.
Most notably, the parlor of the Clara Ford Nurses Home was elegantly designed with ornate chandeliers.
To get a feel for how magnificent the parlor, take a look at the 1978 film, “The Betsy,” which was filmed, in part, on the first floor of Clara Ford Nurses Home. In addition, the Education Building featured classrooms, a pool, squash courts and a gymnasium with a stage for special events.
In 1925, the School enrolled its first class of 93 students. Two classes were admitted each year, one in January and the other in September. The class size was limited to 100 students.
Women came from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to attend the prestigious 28-month program. Students accepted into the tuition-free school lived free-of-charge at the Clara Ford Nurses Home. Continue reading