Cambridge City Hospital School of Nursing:
Elizabeth Conway’48 Memorabilia
Exhibition Location: 2nd Floor of the Main Library
Six months after the Cambridge City Hospital opened to the public on June 1, 1917, it began a three-year program to train and graduate nurses. The school was open to women “desirous of learning nursing” who had “a good education” and a doctor’s certificate of health. Seven students enrolled in the first year and three graduated in the first class in June, 1920.
The school curriculum included practical work in the medical, surgical, obstetrical and children’s wards, operating room, X-ray and Out Patient Departments, and the “accident room.” Students also took classes in various subjects ranging from Anatomy to Theoretical Nursing. Students received a small monthly allowance that increased to $10 in their final year. The nurses-in-training were expected to live at the hospital, a tradition that continued until the last of its students graduated in 1965. Featured in the exhibit is memorabilia from the Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway Papers.
Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway was born on March 11th, 1927 to William and Elizabeth A’Hearn. Along with her seven siblings, Elizabeth grew up in an apartment on Raymond Street in North Cambridge. She enrolled in the Cambridge City Hospital nursing program in 1945 and lived for the next three years on Camelia Avenue where the students were housed. One of Conway’s fondest memories in school was receiving her first nursing cape as a gift from her older brother Billy. She also enjoyed the camaraderie of her classmates, teachers, and doctors. She cherished her nurse’s bib signed by her friends and instructors. Elizabeth graduated as a Registered Nurse in February of 1948.
After graduation, Elizabeth moved to Philadelphia where she held various nursing positions before marrying and having eight children. She returned to nursing in the late 1970s. Before she retired in 1990, Elizabeth was recognized by the City of Philadelphia for her dedication to nursing. Conway died at the age of 87 on June 21, 2014.