Educational History

St. Barnabas School of Nursing
1894 - 1973

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St. Barnabas School of Nursing

The opening and operation of a nursing school in 19th century Minnesota were heavily influenced by the staffing needs of the particular institution. And so it was the case for the Hospital of St. Barnabas, which grew from the old Cottage Hospital and opened its school of nursing in 1894.


The early school most likely incorporated some of the "Nightingale principles," after the famed nurse Florence Nightingale who many consider the founder of modern nursing: Compassion, Commitment, Intelligence, and Training.

Some early requirements for admission: "Three Letters of recommendation, one a statement as to the prospective student's health by her family doctor, the other two character references, one of which was to be written by a pastor..."

Various Age requirements for acceptance into the St. Barnabas School of Nursing:

  • 1922 Applicants were to be between the ages of 18 and 31
  • 1935 Minimum age raised to 19
  • 1943 Minimum age lowered to 18
  • 1944 Minimum age reduced again to 17 and one half; according to reports, 108 of 109 students were also enrolled in the cadet program, which was in place to augment the armed forces during WWII

1915, excerpt from "Instructions for Probationers":

  • 1 pair ground gripper shoes
  • 1 pair rubbers to fit shoes
  • A watch with a second hand
  • A fountain pen
  • An inexpensive umbrella
  • Four plain dresses

By 1948, academic entrance requirements had to fit with the University of Minnesota standards of admission. At this time Science and Social Science course were taken at the University as part of the first two-quarters of study at St. Barnabas. There was also a pre-entrance nurse aptitude test for prospective students.

In 1937, tuition was $50.

In the 1960's men were admitted into the school of nursing. There was also a work program for second and third-year students who could be employed as unlicensed practical nurses during off-duty hours. First year students could be nurses aides.

In 1970, St. Barnabas Hospital became a part of the Metropolitan Medical Center along with The Swedish Hospital and St. Andrews Hospital. This was the end of the nursing school.

Provider mannequins in the history center, st barnabas health care system, st barnabas laboratory, st barnabas milk lab, saint barnabas nursing home


HCMC History

The HCMC History Collection includes artifacts of health care, general patient care, and medical procedures at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Metropolitan Medical Center

The Metropolitan Medical Center History Collection is dedicated to providing public access as well as preserving and collecting materials and artifacts.

Educational History

There were many types of education programs at the hospitals in Minneapolis. Nursing schools were often unique to the specific hospital.

HCMC Blue Building

915 S 8th St, Minneapolis, MN

The MMC Collection is located in BL.227.
The HCMC Collection is located in BL.226.


Located within Hennepin Healthcare’s HCMC hospital campus in downtown Minneapolis, the Hennepin Medical History Center preserves and shares over a century of hospital history. Visit our public gallery spaces in the lower level of the Blue Building to explore a unique collection of medical artifacts, images, and departmental and nursing school histories.  

Gallery Hours: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm most Thursdays  

Research or General Inquiries: [email protected] or 612-873-6485 

For patients, medical records, or employment inquiries, please access the main website,