Tuesday, July 14, 2009

School for Nvrses

This is the door of the original Columbia Hospital School for Nurses, which I attended in the 1990's; at that time, this building was used for staff offices. It's rather ornate inside as well.

Back in the day, every hospital had its own training program for nurses. Nursing education has changed a lot since then- what used to be mostly practical training programs (difficult ones, at that) morphed into baccalaureate, master's degree level, and now even doctoral level (not PhD, but actual doctorate degrees in nursing). Health care has changed also, even in the relatively short time that I've been working in the field- Obama's proposed national computerized charting system has my mind spinning, personally. But that is another topic for other blogs. I meant to write about hospital buildings themselves, and one special one in particular.

Detail of doorway. I especially adore this Latinate lettering.

I love ornate old buildings.
I love looking at them.
I love walking into them, into ancient doorways through which many have passed. I love marble or terrazzo stairways worn with countless footfalls, wooden banisters that have the patina of having been polished by years' worth of hands. I love old windows with uneven glass, even though they leak heat in our harsh Wisconsin winters. I love old buildings.

Same building- ivy-covered in the springtime. The first night I was there, I figured out how to sneak onto the roof, which became a favorite and special place.

I don't know what is going to happen to this place once the adjacent hospital is closed. My hope is that it will be made more energy-efficient and repurposed into at least somewhat-affordable condos or apartments. The rooms inside were just so beautiful; but even fifteen years ago, the whole building was in a sad state of disrepair.

Time will tell.


Anonymous said...

Yes, nursing education sure has changed in a relatively short period of time and not necessarily for the better. I am a product of the Milwaukee County Hospital 3-year program which turned out exceptional, caring, knowledgable nurses. Unfortunately, our beautiful old Nurses Residence was not remodeled and turned into something to be used for another purpose but was torn down for a parking structure. What a shame.

The River Otter said...

Agreed, agreed, agreed!