Trained Nurses for San FranciscoNationally the impetus for nursing reform grew out of the experiences of the Civil War and the proliferation of hospitals in the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1873, the first class of "trained" nurses graduated from the New England Hospital For Women And Children, and in that same year three other large eastern hospitals, Bellevue (New York), Massachusetts General (Boston) and, the New Haven Hospital (Connecticut) developed training programs. By 1880 there were fifteen nurse's training schools in the nation.
San Francisco’s experience in training nurses was shaped by the existence of female leadership from the growing number of locally active women physicians, some graduates of the UC Medical Department and some trained at various eastern medical schools. San Francisco physician Charlotte Amanda Blake Brown took her medical training in Philadelphia and was, to her colleagues, “ a most favorably known surgeon, obstetrician, medical organizer and good citizen of San Francisco.” In 1875, she joined with her daughter—physician Adelaide Brown— to develop the Pacific Dispensary for Women and Children, which subsequently (1879) became the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. This was a unique institution, governed by an exclusively female medical staff and it offered rare opportunities for women physicians to gain postgraduate experience.
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