Pemberton-Welsh Nurses' Residence

Pemberton-Welsh Nurses’ Residence

In 1891 a training school for nurses was established within the Medical School. This was a two-year course enrolling eight the first year. The next year President James Angell noted that the course was “attracting a large number of intelligent and devoted women, who render a service to the sick, hardly inferior to that of the physician.”

Graduates of the School, a head clinical nurse and two head nurses were permanently employed by the Hospital in 1899, and many early graduates served in the Spanish American War.

By 1924-25 there were 190 nurses in training, and with increases in the nursing staff in the Hospitals, housing for these women became a critical issue.

At first the nurses were quartered in the basement of the Hospital and in adjacent houses. In 1898 the old Heating Plant was enlarged and renovated for a Nurses’ Residence, and the Palmer Ward, built in front of the Nurses’ Residence, provided additional housing. In 1909, six private houses near the Medical Campus were acquired by the University to provide more housing for nurses.

In 1921 the Pemberton-Welsh Nurses’ Residence was opened, and provided for seventy-five nurses.

This method of housing women in the nurses’ training program and the nursing staff of the hospitals was far from satisfactory, and the housing problem was finally solved with the construction of Couzens Hall in 1925. This new residence hall provided 285 separate sleeping rooms, plus recreation and lecture rooms.

Wilfred B. Shaw (The University of Michigan: Encyclopedic Survey, p. 997)

University Hospital (center) opened in 1925
Pemberton-Welsh Nurses’ Residence 1921, removed in 1956