Dr. and Mrs. E.L. Trudeau and the 1915 graduating class of the D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses in front of the Inslee Cottage at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 15, 2007 Mrs. Charlotte Beare Trudeau and a graduating class of the School for Nurses, c. 1917. Mary Pinkney McAffey is seated to the left of Mrs. Trudeau in the front row. Scan courtesy of a family member.
The D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses was established at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium in 1912 with generous funding from Mrs. Whitelaw Reid.
Previously Mrs. Reid had provided funds to establish innovative hospitals in California and in 1911 gave $10,000 for the nurses cottage at the Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium. Caring for tuberculosis sufferers was viewed as a thankless task. Nurses trained for the sole purpose of treating TB were nonexistent. The school began with just three students and had an unusual requirement for admission: an arrested case of tuberculosis. Dr. Trudeau believed that young women who had endured the disease and gradually regained their health would have a greater understanding of patients' needs and care. The purpose of the nursing school was twofold: to provide well-trained and much needed staff for tuberculosis sanatoria and to give former patients the opportunity to pursue an independent and meaningful career. The Nurses' Cottage, named in honor of Mrs. Reid's deceased father, had the capacity to house six students. The cottage featured a south facing porch and private bedrooms as well as amenities such as a fireplace and dressing closets with running water. The first three students were all former patients of the Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium. Their studies were supervised by Miss Edith Wadland and required two years to complete. In 1913, the number of student nurses increased to eight.
In 1921 the D. Ogden Mills Training School received its accreditation from the New York State Board of Regents. In the early 1920's the first year of training consisted of 248 hours of instruction ranging from the History of Nursing to Anatomy and Physiology. In addition to sciences such as Chemistry and Bacteriology, other first year courses included Nutrition and Cookery and Hospital Housekeeping. The study of tuberculosis began in the second semester and incorporated classes in Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Massage and Ethics. The second year of study covered advanced topics such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics and X-ray.
The requirements for admission at this time included a clean bill of health certified by a physician and a year of high school studies or comparable schooling as mandated by New York State. Admission to the school was limited to those women between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. With acceptance to the school students received a monthly stipend of $10. Housing and meals were provided as well as laundry service for the requisite two caps, twelve bibs, eight aprons and three uniforms worn by the student nurses.
At the end of two years of successfully completed course work and final exams, students received a Trudeau school pin and a diploma. Graduation ceremonies included photographs, taken with Dr. and Mrs. Trudeau until 1915. Mrs. Trudeau continued the tradition, following her husband's death. After the installation of a memorial sculpture of Dr. Trudeau in 1918, the newly minted nurses began a tradition of placing flowers in the lap of the reclining statue. Students were eligible to take the State Board Exam only after continuing their studies at an affiliated general hospital.
In 1930, again with a generous $150,000 donation from Mrs. Reid, the school was expanded to accommodate twenty-three student nurses. The newly built Reid Nurses Home was equipped with a library, lecture hall, diet and demonstration kitchens as well as a living room and reception room. As of 1935, 157 young women had graduated. The school continued to educate young women for nursing careers until graduating its final class in 1936.
Rinehart, Victoria E. Portrait of Healing Curing in the Woods. Utica, NY: North Country Books, 2002.
See also: Lost Trudeau Sanatorium Buildings