The Archive of the Metropolitan School of Nursing, Windsor, Ontario (1954-1974) - Assembled and Annotated by Kathleen Moderwell

MET School of Nursing SealThis archive of the Metropolitan School of Nursing was assembled and annotated in four binder volumes by Kathleen "Kay" Moderwell, who was the director of the school from 1960 to 1974. These archival "scrapbooks" render the life of the school from its founding in 1954 until the transition that saw all hospital-based Ontario nursing education moved to the community colleges in the early 1970s.

The Metropolitan School of Nursing has a distinct and important place in the global history of nursing. Its origins lay in an experimental demonstration school, also called the Metropolitan School of Nursing but run by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), that operated in collaboration with Windsor’s Metropolitan Hospital from 1947 to 1952. The demonstration school, which also had backing from the Red Cross, the Rockefeller Foundation and the federal and provincial governments, had piloted a new model of nursing education based on administrative autonomy and academic and clinical instruction, and sheltered from the day-to-day needs of the hospital for student labour.

As this Moderwell archive of the second Metropolitan School of Nursing makes clear, the new school very proudly wore the mantle of its CNA experimental predecessor, and was known for its academic autonomy and integrity. The "Met" School of Nursing was an important addition to nursing education programs in the region, providing a third option to the two existing hospital-run programs at Hotel Dieu and the Grace Hospital.


For a study of the first Metropolitan School of Nursing, the Canadian Nurses Association demonstration school, see Steven Palmer, "'New Deal for Nursing’: Windsor’s Metropolitan Demonstration School and the Reform of Nursing Education in Canada, 1944-1970," in Julie Fairman, Patricia D’Antonio and Jean Whelan, eds., Routledge Companion to the Global History of Nursing (Routledge, 2013), pp. 131-50.

The archives of the demonstration school, the Metropolitan School of Nursing, 1947-52 are located at Library and Archives Canada, in the Canadian Nurses Association fonds.

For a rich portrait of one of Windsor’s other schools of nursing, see Marty Gervais, People of Faith: The History of Hôtel Dieu Grace Hospital, 1888-2013 (Black Moss Press, 2013).

An overview of the history of medicine and health in the Windsor region can be found in Steven Palmer and Steve Malone, "Border City Medicine: Windsor’s History of Innovative Health Care Practice,"